The shadows of the pandameic were hovering over the horizon. Me and Jo headed to the Sinhagad for a bit of happiness and peace. The gad is a favourite haunt. Over the years I must have clicked so many photos up there but still everytime I get something new.
This day - 9th Feb 2020 - it was cold and it was shrouded in a blanket of fog and it was not crowded. We roamed around while I tried to click some unusual angles. The gad takes on a certain rugged look at this time of the year. The lush green grass of the has dried up and is now a light golden yellow and adorns the black rocks.
About 7 odd kilometers from the Pachgani bus stand, on the Ambral road, is the
village of Shindola. Located near this village are the ancient caves called
‘Rajapuri Caves’ or ‘Kartikeya Caves’. There are 4 caves and a kund. As the
main temple is of Kartikeya, women are not allowed here. Some or the local
villager will around to enforce this. Our culture has such funny twists. It is
sad that people kill their own culture by not changing it appropriately with
the changing times.
There is nothing else around so unless you are a bored male or group of males
there is no point in visiting this place.
The usual fake smiles and soft skin photos do not do justice to the soul of the human. We need to dig deeper. We need to try to surface the deepest emotions we have inside of us. To bring out and wear our true face with its innumerable moods and expressions. There is beauty in that truth.
Anuja, like all ladies, loves a beautiful glamorous photo. But at my behest, she bravely put in serious efforts to bring out a genuine serious emotion. I found this photo to be far more interesting than those other sweet ones. But that is just me. :-)
It was fun chasing the birds for their portraits. I had good company in Jo,
Rima and Animesh. Exploring the countryside early morning or in the golden hour of evening is so refreshing.
I had got the Sigma 100-400 just before the trip. It was almost a decade since my last birding lens, the Tamaron 200-400. I struggled a bit to get focus and finally shot mostly manual.
Sighting the hornbills was most exciting. The sunbird was so shy and required a lot of patience. The hoopoe was on the path and watched us with so much suspicion. The bee eaters used to sit still for long minutes, almost as if posing.
“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.”
Says the great Marcus Aurelius.
We are never as connected with our own soul as when we are young. The joys of those carefree times...
When I was in primary we lived at Tarkhad, a small village of about 50 houses. The road to my school passed through fields and small lanes in the interior of Vasai. During the monsoons I used to float a stick in the streams / gutters running next to the lanes. It was such great fun to follow the floating stick for as long as I could.
This is an experimental HDR from about 2011. It is shot from Lake Town township and looks across the Katraj lake and the Katraj zoo. By today's standards it is a primitive looking HDR but, hey, I said it was experimental. :)
Click on the image to enjoy in higher resolution and detail.
It was late October last year. The sudden and vicious lockdown and first wave had taken its toll. We had all been prisoners of our homes. A few months earlier we experienced the anxity and tensions of having a couple of cases in our home. Father locked in his room for 3 weeks, Viv Rash in theirs. The kids, the dog, me and Jo juggling it together. Thankfully the patients recovered in time.
But the months were full of cleaning up, washing up and trying to keep the anxity down as day in and day out the news told us gory details of the pandemic. Our building experienced cases in almost all of its floors. It was a difficult time emotionally.
All we wanted was an escape. Me and Jo had been yearning to get back to the Farm of Happiness since our visit just before the lockdown. The memory of the open spaces had given us a few moments of peace in the otherwise restricted and tense time.
So when the travel restrictions were relaxed, we gathered some family and headed to the Konkan. The journey was long but with 10 people, it was fun. We paid a quick visit to Amey and family at his Devrukh house. He has been wroking from there the entire lockdown. It was so much better than his small apartment at Mumbai, he said.
The first evening we headed on the sada for a walk. The walk. In the wild open space, on the sada. It was a piece of heaven for me. We are so connected with Nature.
You can enjoy the photos full screen by clicking on them.
The day started with high drama in the sky. A bright sun painting the dazzling cloud formations against the clear blue expanse. The thunderstorm and rain the previous day had cleared the debries from the air leaving it crisp.
Such a scene demanded black and white. Add the yellow filter and the skies deepend into near black enhancing the contrast with the glowing clouds. The experience in person was far superior to its 2-D representation. But such is the nature of life, I suppose?
You can see Kille Torna at the bottom - standing its ground and watching the unfolding play.
This thunderstorm was moving very fast and seemingly appeared out of nowhere. For a while, these fantastic low cloud formations swirled around in a magcal show. There was no rain or lightening. But as this formation moved away northwards, a larger darker arm of the storm came from the south an spewed a lot of rain accompanied by brilliant lightening.
It was cold december on the sada in the Konkan. The grass had become reddish golden brown. Early mornings were enveloped in dense fog.
This wondorous landscape had another surpise for the intrepid adventurers - the jewels of the Gods. These symmetric webs of thin strands, adorned with sparkling spheres, dotted the landscape. The spider webs and the dew. It was mesmerising to look at them in the early morning fog-filtered light.