Thursday, November 22, 2007

Photo Hunt - Theme 'I Love -----'

This week's PhotoHunt theme is 'I Love ___'

Travelling and photography is what I love the most. And as much as I like travelling in general, what I enjoy most is going to places of natural beauty. There is nothing more grand or awe-inspiring than being mesmerized by the beauty of Nature. I like mountains and forests more than I like the sea, by the way. For the same reason, I enjoy landscape photography more than portraits or street photography.

Enough said. Now I leave you to one of my favourite shots. A shot like this is what the effort of travelling and lugging around heavy camera equipment & tripod worth it in the end. This is a sunset taking place over Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA.

Photo Hunt

Taken with Nikon D40X with 18-55 AF-S DX Lens fitted with Tiffen 0.6ND filter

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tagged by Celine

Celine has tagged me here and the following is the response to her tag questions.

Two names you go by (besides your given name):
1. Nanda (Friends at school, college and some colleagues - abridged version of Ananda, I guess! )
2. Mota or Mote (quite literally meaning fatso - no explantions needed here)

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. Black trousers (I love conservative office attire)
2. Yellow striped formal shirt (Do I love being a loud dresser too??)

Two longest car rides:
1. Salt Lake City, Utah to Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (roughly 500 kms)
2. Kolkata to Digha (roughly 200 kms)

Two of your favorite things to do:
1. Photography

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. A Nikon 12-24 mm super-wide angle lens
2. A month off from work ("No wayyyy", says my boss looking over my shoulder)

Three animals you have or have had:
Never had one (not a pet lover)
Never had one (not a pet lover)
3. Never had one (not a pet lover)

I hope I have not harped on the same thing for too long :-)

Three Things you ate today:
1. Noodles (lunch at office canteen)
2. Manchurian Chicken (
lunch at office canteen)
3. A 'Darbesh' in the morning (a Bengali sweet)

Two things you are doing tomorrow:
1. Office (during the day)
2. Go back home (in the evening)

Overall, that sounds like an exciting plan - or so I hope!

Two favorite holidays:
1. Durga Puja (enough said here, especially the comments section)
2. Christmas (less work, more play)

Two favorite beverages:
1. Darjeeling tea (no sugar or milk, please!)
2. A cuppa of cappuccino

Thanks for tagging me Celine. I hope I have answered your questions sincerely. I am not tagging anyone in particular, but anyone reading this can pick this tag up.

A Change of Seasons

This year we have seen a rather early arrival of winter in Kolkata. The days have become pleasant and there is a slight chill at night. Last year (in 2006), I was in Eagan, Minnesota (US) during winter. That was the most bitter winter that I had ever experienced with very heavy snowfall and more disconcertingly, the howling & bone-piercing winds.

The two winters before that (in 2004 & 2005) I was in Copenhagen, Denmark. Though it snowed regularly, the winters there were less extreme. The days were really short though, with sunlight lasting for only about 6 to 8 hours in a day. Even while it lasted, most of the time it remained muggy and overcast. One of my favourite places in Copenhagen was very near to where I lived - the Frederiksberg Castle (Danish: 'Slot') and the surrounding gardens (Danish: 'Have'). Right below is a shot of the Frederiksberg Slot during the height of winter in Copenhagen (owing to the snow and the poor light the shot is not tack sharp, I must admit)

But in summer, it was a different story altogether. Danish summers are the best that I have ever experienced. The weather is extremely pleasant and not too hot. The skies are clear for days at a stretch. Also it seemed entire Denmark came out to party to make the most of the short summer. The change is pretty obvious if you now take a look at the photo below - it is the same place as the one above. In summer the skies are blue and the grass is green :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Photo Hunt - Theme 'Flexible'

This week's Photohunt theme is 'Flexible'. This photo is from San Francisco's famous tourist attraction - Pier 39. The bungee trampoline this boy is bouncing on is called 'Frequent Flyers' :-)

Pier 39 in San Francisco is one of the most visited places in the US. It is part of the larger tourist district called Fisherman's Wharf. The entire area is abuzz with shops, restaurants, a carousel, street performances (the World Famous Bushman, among others) and many other attractions to keep tourists entertained. In most days families of sea lions can be seen lazing around Pier 39. Fisherman's Wharf is also a delight for the seafood lover - the signature dish being clam chowder served with sourdough bread. It is also the place from which ferries depart to Alcatraz island, the infamous prison-island which can be seen across the Bay. Ferries can also be availed for 'Bay Cruise' - an hour long journey which takes tourists under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz island.

For more photos of San Francisco, see my post here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

To Bear Or Not To Bear

I have been reading PG Wodehouse since I was a teen, and his books remain an eternal favourite. The layers of comedic complication that the stories have simply overshadow the simple, and sometimes formulaic, plots that they are based on. The principal charm that his work holds is the humour and the wit, often conveyed in a somewhat obtuse language.

Here's an example that I stumbled upon in one of the fan sites. The author had himself used this to highlight how he and Shakespeare treated a similar situation - the predicament of a man who suddenly discovers that something unpleasant (a bear, no less!) is standing behind him.

Here's how Shakespeare treated it -

"... Farewell!
A lullaby too rough. I never saw
The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour!
Well may I get aboard! This is the chase:
I am gone for ever.
(Exit pursued by a bear.)''

And here's the PG Wodehouse version. To the uninitiated (and therefore the unfortunate, in my opinion), Bertie Wooster is a recurring protagonist in many of his stories. He is "wealthy and scatterbrained" and often manages to get into awkward and impossible situations, from which he is rescued by his valet, Jeeves. Now, read on :-)

"Touch of indigestion, Jeeves?''
"No, Sir.''
"Then why is your tummy rumbling?''
"Pardon me, Sir, the noise to which you allude does not emanate from my interior but from that of that animal that has just joined us.''
"Animal? What animal?''
"A bear, Sir. If you will turn your head, you will observe that a bear is standing in your immediate rear inspecting you in a somewhat menacing manner.''

I pivoted the loaf. The honest fellow was perfectly correct. It was a bear. And not a small bear, either. One of the large economy size. Its eye was bleak and it gnashed a tooth or two, and I could see at a g. that it was going to be difficult for me to find a formula.

"Advise me, Jeeves,'' I yipped. "What do I do for the best?''
"I fancy it might be judicious if you were to make an exit, Sir.''
No sooner s. than d. I streaked for the horizon, closely followed across country by the dumb chum. And that, boys and girls, is how your grandfather clipped six seconds off Roger Bannister's mile.

Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine and in that sense Wodehouse's works can be considered to be no less than a veritable pharmacy :-)

PS: I hope I have not infringed upon any copyright by quoting the above!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Diwali

Wishing everyone a very Happy Diwali in advance !! Tomorrow is also the occasion of 'Kali Pujo' in Kolkata. May the festival of lights bring colour, warmth, hope and joy to your life :-)

A handheld shot taken at Navy Pier, Chicago with a
Konica Minolta Dimage Z2 on aperture priority mode (f/16)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Photo Hunt - Theme "Classic"

This week's Photohunt theme is 'Classic'. Perhaps not a very difficult theme to find a photo on, but I did take my time about it. Had a few options to chose and then finally settled on this one. This is Michaelangelo's La Pieta on display inside the St Peter's Cathedral in Vatican City, Rome.

Taken with a Konica Minolta Dimage Z2 on Auto mode


There is scarcely anything to say about this magnificent work, I think the picture says it all. This is but an example of the heights in art/sculpture/architecture reached during the Renaissance. The Academia in Florence houses Michaelangelo's David, while the Vatican City has two of his greatest paintings. On the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel we can see The Creation of Man and while the wall above the altar is decorated by The Last Judgement.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Book Cover Tag

More often than not, I am at a quandary over what topic to choose for a blog post. Fortunately this time around, my friend Pijush has come to my rescue. I have been tagged by him with the Book Cover Tag.

Pijush's tag had one simple rule. All that I had to do is to go to the Advanced Book Search at, type my first name into the "Title" field, and post the most interesting/amusing cover that showed up.

So I went ahead and performed the search with my first name ("Ananda") and the search turned up 156 results. Most search results were rather uninteresting and did not even have a picture.

Here's the one that caught my fancy the most -

My name translated to English means happiness or joy. So perhaps this was on expected lines. But Infinite Happiness? Gosh - that's promising a lot! Perhaps that's why the book is "currently unavailable' now. I imagine great hordes of Nirvana-seekers would have snapped up this elixir of infinite happiness at a bargain :-)