A Game Apart


My brother and I attended an event, and it was a great experience. Writing about it, has, however, been rather challenging. This post is an attempt to write about the pleasant time we had, but I found myself hitting the backspace key more often that I would have liked. I hope this post conveys the message I intend it too!

A little over a year back, we attended a rugby 7’s match. It was during the Commonwealth Games. As far as I can remember, we had to buy tickets, wait in long queues, undergo heavy security checking, had to ‘deposit’ any coins we had, and were not allowed to carry video cameras. The ground was lush green, there were two giant screens, and there was excitement in the air. We managed to get good seats and saw international athletes play at close range. We had a wonderful experience.

Fast forward to this afternoon. We went for a rugby match.

The Venue : A Local Ground

Entry was free, there were no security checks, we could sit wherever we wanted, and after the match we could even enter the field.

About two years back, the ground was barren, slums lined its perimeter, and there were at least two large wild pigs. But today, the grass was green and the slums were out of sight (I’m sure there are still a few left, though I couldn’t see them). The ground had nets, goal posts and chalk markings. There was even a temporary stand for the audience. The local ground was no longer just a piece of land, it was a full fledged sports complex. The transformation wasn’t overnite. And it was a pleasant surprise.

The Event : All India Club Sevens Championship

Yes, that’s correct. It was a national event, with teams from all over the country participating! There were no journalists covering the event, no glamourous stars. There was one official photographer, who happened to be a player for the host team’s full rugby squad.

The experience of today’s match was quite different to the international match we witnessed last year. But the modest surrroundings and the low-profile nature of the event did not take anything away from the competition. The quality of the games was very high. The ambience was definitely not as noisy as a high profile international event, but there was good humour all around, and a small section of the crowd cheered the local team.

The presence of international players added some colour to the tournament (no pun intended), and the ‘local’ hero, Pierre stole the event as he danced with some of the kids at the end of the match.
Players going to meet the Coach
As for me, I had the opportunity of standing in the middle of the ground after the match, as the players were moving off the field, towards their coach. It was the kind of view only a person wielding a camera, can have the privilege of experiencing in a professional match.

And it was the pleasure that I could experience today, standing next to my brother. Now where else can one get that!

Rugby is a minor sport in India. For a long time, it was only associated with a Hindi Cinema Actor (who was formerly the captain of the National Team). India currently ranks 75, out of 95 teams in the IRB World rankings.

The state of the sport in the country is best left for professionals to explain. From an ordinary person’s view though, I hope the tide is turning.


While I don’t have much knowledge about rugby, it seems that the sport is beginning to receive some attention. Although there wasn’t any media coverage, the event was sponsored by Harley-davidson motorcycles, United Colors of Benetton, Fox Traveller, and Kingfisher.

The tournament here made me curious enough to find out a little about rugby in India, and it felt good to know that sponsors are beginning to step forward, and the game is developing at the grass-roots level.

Photograph by R. Karthik.

Happy Deepavali!


Another Deepavali (Diwali), another card! Also, a poster I made exactly a year ago… but forgot about!

Happy Deepavali!

I got the background wooden texture from here.
The lamp in the card is actually a sketch I made recently (after a break of 10 months, I finally picked up the pencil). I hope to post the sketch soon.

Celebrate a cracker-free Diwali

This is a poster I made last year. The background image (which I really liked so much, I just threw in a bunch of words to make it a poster) is by Anshu. I’d forgotten about it when I was uploading to the gallery (and it wasn’t very original either). This time around, I decided to upload it.

Wishing everyone a very Happy and Cracker-free Diwali 🙂
Cheers!

Free Bird


I owe inspiration for this post to Saronai.

I started this blog on the 19th of February… It happened to be the day our late grandmother (father’s mother) was born… Like all little children, I loved our grandmother. We called her Delhi pati (as opposed to my mother’s mother, whom we call Madras pati, whom, I may add, I love equally).

Pati came to live with us when we moved to Delhi, and I had the privilege of sharing a room with her. Pati had a very amazing life story. Due to the nature of our grandfather’s work, she spent a lot of time in Burma (now Myanmar). She lived through some of the most important phases of our history…

Married off at the age of 16, Pati didn’t study much… She could read and write fluently in Tamil but not much in English or Hindi… She had a special interest in politics and could recognise fragments of words from the English newspaper we subscribed to. She would point to it and ask us to explain what it was about. She would tell us stories about the War, about our Independence, about Nehru and Jinnah. I neither had an interest, nor did I understand any of it… I always thought she was being nostalgic about the past and wanted to let it out. I wish I had paid more attention, and asked more about our history. I’m sure it would have been more interesting to hear it from her perspective.

At night she used to narrate stories – some mythological, some folk and perhaps even some that she made up – to put me to sleep. She would begin the story, and before it would have reached even the middle, I would have been fast asleep… As a result, I don’t remember any of those stories…

My mother told me about Pati’s children. Her first-born died within a year, in a train. Fearing public outcry, they hid the death of the baby girl throughout the journey. Thereafter she gave birth to six children. I was told that she would have given birth to twins too… Once a thief broke into their house and threatened to kill her with a knife… Out of shock, she miscarried.

I have seen all, but one of my father’s siblings… One of my father’s brothers disappeared at a young age… He was thirty… He had gone for a picnic with his friends to a lake. She had packed a huge bag of home-made potato chips for them… But he never returned. Nor was his body ever found. Till her last breath, Pati hoped her son was safe somewhere and would return one day…

She had once suffered very serious burns and her skin had been damaged badly. She told us that the burnt area had to be grafted  with skin taken from her thighs. It would burn badly when they did that. They had no anaesthetics.

My memory of Pati is hazy now. It’s both surprising, and sad. I had always thought I would have very vivid memories of her. There is one thing that I remember very well… She always had a smile on her face. In everything that she told us, there was never any sign of bitterness or hatred… She was like a child. Her innocence still intact. Despite all that she had been through, she seemed very happy and content.

But she would often say, ‘In my next life, I will study… I will not get married… I want to be a free bird…’

Beads!


I love my gypsy-like, bead bracelet. I love it so much, I’m dedicating an entire blog page and several photographs to it!

A few days back I was fiddling around with a bead necklace… err… bracelet… Its just a really long piece of thread with lots of tiny beads.

We belong together!

All the beads are unique in their own way… Some are broken, some have cracks, some which have holes in weird places, and some which have strange shapes. In short, its made up of rejected stuff a.k.a junk!

A few of us in college had gone to a local market and we found a hawker selling these, dirt cheap…

Up close and personal

One look at those beads, and it was hard to resist… I immediately wrapped it around my wrist.

I loved it!

And then it broke – what else could you expect from a piece of junk.

In search of the next bead

But then, I loved it so much! So I repaired it, adding a few other beads from another broken bracelet.

Since then, the bracelet has been my constant companion. Wherever I have gone, its been with me. I’ve lost count of the number of times its broken. And the number of times

She strings sea shells...

its been repaired. But every time it’s been repaired, a little bit has been added to it – a few forgotten beads lying in the corner of the cupboard, beads that had fallen out of old dresses, and beads that had even been ripped out of fancy wedding invitations!

Standing out of the crowd

Not all of them were old, some were new, like sea shells, bright seeds collected during one of our holidays…

Panchayat

There is nothing orderly, symmetrical, or perfect about the bracelet, yet, to me, it looks beautiful…

As it was being repaired for the umpteenth time, I decided to photograph the imperfect, pretty little beads. I’d borrowed my brother’scamera. I don’t know much, except that it had a special lens, which had a fixed focal length. I clicked a few times, and the result was horrible! That was enough to scare me.

Odd one out

If the camera wasn’t intimidating enough, I realised I had no clue how to go about taking the pictures. So I just switched to the auto mode and let the camera decide everything else!

Galaxy

All the photographs here were taken by the camera! Hope you enjoy the photographs.

Cheers!

Imperfectly perfect!

Since I rely on material distributed over the internet, it is only appropriate that I do the same… The photographs here may be used for non-commercial purposes. A simple credit would be appreciated 🙂

Don’t study!!


As little kids, we’re always told by our parents to study… Well, almost always. When I was small, my parents never really had much trouble with me as far as studying was concerned. But once every year, they had to tell me NOT to study!

Navratri is celebrated every year, sometime around October… Although it is celebrated at least twice a year, the one culminating in Dusshera is celebrated with the most enthusiasm. Navratri literally means nine nights. During this festival, various forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped.

Technically speaking, puja (religious ritual) is performed on each day of the festival. But I’ll fast forward to the ninth day. On the ninth day of this festival, we worship Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and knowledge. In any field, there is always scope for learning. And knowledge can be gained in any form. So all those items from which we can gain knowledge and wisdom are collected and a dias is formed. An idol of the Goddess is placed atop this dias and a puja is conducted. In the north, a similar puja is performed on Vasant Panchami.

A special Rangoli (decorative design) is made, incense sticks are lit, special dishes are prepared and offered to the Goddess…

As little kids, we used to look forward to Navratri – a welcome break from school, special dishes, the festive atmosphere around the entire city. But we had a another reason to be excited…

On this very special ninth day of the puja, it was absolutely compulsory for us not to study! Yes that’s right! We were told not to study. Now which kid wouldn’t want that? 🙂

We wondered why, on the day the Goddess of learning is worshipped, we were told not to learn… Nevertheless, it was a very exciting thought… how nice it would be if we didn’t have to study…

But when the day actually arrived, with nothing to do – we weren’t allowed to read, or engage in any activity related to art or use musical instruments, we weren’t even allowed to work on the computer or watch tv – the day was extremely boring! To not learn, then seemed a terrible thing indeed…

It is said that the Goddess herself offers her blessings to everything that is placed in the dias, so we must not study and wait for the puja to conclude and then study. But more importantly, by not allowing us to do anything, it was a lesson in itself… Life would be incomplete, and worthless without knowledge…

On the tenth day, the puja was concluded. We were told to pick up our books soon after bath and told to read something new… It signified a fresh start… We were once again told to study with interest (pun intended)…


On this year’s Saraswati puja, my mother and I spent the whole day cleaning the house 🙂

Festival Season!


It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post… Thanks to some work… Hope to write about the experience soon, for now, here’s a greeting for the upcoming Festival Season

Its been a long time since I’ve paid a visit to the blog. In fact its been a long time since I’ve paid a visit to anybody over the past few months.

It’s the annual competition season and the Creative Minds Competition is around the corner. As usual everything had to be done at the very last moment and as the deadline for sending entries drew nearer, everything took a back seat.

When I say, everything, I mean everything including food and sleep! For the last week we slept a little more than a few hours and food refused to go down out throats as tension and pressure reached its peak. Looking back, I’m struggling to recall all that happened – everything seems blurry.

This project involved two people – myself and my friend Atul. In a way it was a shared dream. We took up the project more as a challenge to ourselves, to stretch ourselves, and to find out how much we could do. At first, we felt it was a small project, and the two of us would be enough. But as things started shaping up, the magnitude of our work multiplied. After initial reluctance, even we realised we needed at least one more person for the job.

Both of us knew who we wanted on the team, but as luck would have it, she was busy. We asked our mentor if there would be anyone who could do the job. Even we tried to look for that elusive third person, but in vain. Finally we decided that the two of us were enough. Everyone around us had doubts about our capability to pull off the project, perhaps even we had our fair share of doubts.

But we had to finish the project. After all, it was our idea, and now that it was out of the bag, we couldn’t let some one else pick it up. And above everything else, it was our reputation on the line. Last year, I had the misfortune of being a part of 2 projects of a similar scale. One that got completed, and one that didn’t. The one that was completed fell short of expectations (and I fervently thank my stars I didn’t play much of a part in it). The one in which I was involved more actively, couldn’t be completed. To be honest, no one could be blamed for the fiasco. The time period allotted for both the projects was simply too short.

We couldn’t afford to repeat last year’s mistakes.

Our deadline was the 30th of September, and somehow, we scraped out something. Its all over (at least officially), and it has been a very adventurous journey, filled with ups and downs, and last minute patches. I do not know when we started it (not the precise date anyway) but we had a rough storyline in the third week of June (my email puts it to 19 June).

Over the past 3 months we have learnt a lot. In many ways it was a crash course in project management, as well as time management. We realised how much effort professionals have to put in to produce quality results. As a lay person, it is easy to criticise what we see, but it is only when we try to achieve the same, we begin to appreciate what it takes to be there, and do it. At a student level, theoretically things seem simple and logical. But when it comes to doing things, especially with a deadline at hand, it is an entirely different ball game.

As I mentioned before, we managed to complete the project. But honestly, it was way below what we had expected. Perhaps we bit off more than we could chew, perhaps it was because it was our first attempt, perhaps we were one person short, maybe it was the lack of time, or perhaps a salad of everything, with a pinch of technical glitches (not according to taste)!

So after all that’s said and done, we’ve mutually decided not to share our adventure till we can safely make it public without embarrassment. Now that there is no deadline hanging over us, it is hard to tell when that time will come, but I sure hope its sooner rather than later.

For now, we’re enjoying a little break (spent the past 2 days sleeping :P)

Since the festival season has already begun, I decided to share something I made last year. It is a Diwali card I made for display. I had presented it to our mentor but Atul managed to pull out a photograph he took of it. So here it is…

Happy Navratri and Happy Diwali in advance 🙂

Cheers!!