B/W Photo Challenge Day 5 (The Bond of Brothers)

For the Day 5 of my B/W Photo Challenge, I wish to present the proof that I am a proud father, and a proud uncle.

My brother and I are two kids in our family. The elder in the pictures is his son and the younger, mine. Both were born – 5 years and 7 seas apart – on the same day (Indian Standard Time), April 20/21.  Why they are “the Bond of Brothers.”

20131103_144459 Casual

IMG_5001 Shush

20131103_144840  Deep

IMG_4382  Hold



B/W Photo Challenge Day 4 (The Empire State Building)

1915207_216692185624_3916343_nClouds may gather, dusk may approach, people may whisper — the Empire stays true to its name.

For the Day 4 of my B/W Photo Challenge, I show you the 360-degree views from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. I have posted pictures of the Empire State in the past, but these are from atop the structure.

We seek moments of happiness in a sea of structures. We can be in or among the concrete, but can’t become one ourselves. We can’t afford to be numb.

IMG_3046The South view: Downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, Hudson River, New Jersey. The Freedom Tower stands tall.

IMG_3078The North view: Midtown, Uptown, Central Park (being an oasis).

IMG_3148The East view: East River, Queens, Brooklyn. 5th avenue, in particular, is a memorable walk in Manhattan.

IMG_3066The West view: Hudson River, New Jersey. It’s a beautiful river dividing Manhattan and New Jersey.

IMG_3051Panoramic view covering East River, Downtown Manhattan, Hudson River, New Jersey, and a slice of the observation deck itself.

I link Sabiscuit for this challenge. Sabiscuit is an impressive blog.

B/W Photo Challenge Day 3 (The Yacht Man)

For the Day 3 of my B/W Photo Challenge, I present to you the Yacht man. I took these pictures in the evening, from the living room of our apartment.

He’s up on the mast, perhaps repairing the halyard. But when I was clicking him I wondered as to what he had for lunch, if he had fought with his family that morning – and strangely – if he had added coke or soda to his vodka.

DSCN1555I don’t think he’s checking his mobile here. He may want to as the altitude might give him a good reception.

DSCN1564Here, he’s clearly trying to pull a tool out of his repair bag, but he’ll have to find it first.

DSCN1553The work has begun, and he’s peering in the direction of Brooklyn.

DSCN1554Is someone calling him from below, or is he gauging the altitude? “Will I survive if I fall – and if I do – what will be left of me?”

DSCN1562He has a good view of downtown Manhattan. The Hudson River traffic will peak, as dusk approaches.

DSCN1545That’s the full view of the yacht and the man. Quite a way up.

DSCN1559A wider view.

DSCN1561The widest view the camera could capture. Can you spot the yacht man?

DSCN1565This is the most zoomed-out click. He looks tired.

It turned out by the end of it all that I had forgotten to eat lunch, had fought with family in the morning, and I would add coke or soda to my vodka when I drink socially.

I link Blewbird for this challenge. This blog has several breathtaking pictures. Please visit.

B/W Photo Challenge Day 2 (Love/Hate Snow 2)

For the Day 2 of my B/W Photo Challenge, I wish to continue to assault you with more snow. But I promise that I’ll kindle you with warm subjects from Day 3 onward.

IMG_0359Have you ever tried sitting on them? If they are flurries the first five seconds would feel cushy – thereafter – sit at your own risk.

11053084_10153219093570625_6815545349298158174_nWorkers shoveling snow was a good sight, because the sun shone bright, making their shadows bigger and them warm.

IMG_0329Most of us may frown at this when we don’t have to answer nature’s call. But when we have to, this may be the best thing in the world. Still, there are those who want cleaner options in times of crisis.

11025163_10153219094380625_8579846165506570706_nWhat the wheels could do to the whites: they become muddy, slushy, and lose what, the white.

IMG_0371All of us have a long, lone journey. We come, and go, alone. It is the only truth, and once we understand this truth, we’ll feel freer than before.

I link Maniparna for this challenge. Her posts are interesting, and her pictures mesmerizing.

B/W Photo Challenge Day 1 (Love/Hate Snow)

This is my B/W post for Day 1 of the 5 Day photo challenge. The wonderful Prior linked me for this challenge.

We all know what happened in Massachusetts when it topped 100 inches of snow in a record breaking winter. Contrary to what the weathermen predicted, New York, New Jersey and some other states in the East Coast were spared the assault.

Though it’s been snowing in NY and NJ intermittently, snow fell for two consecutive days last week, showing more purpose.

Five pics from those days:

DSCN1816This gull is perched comfortably on a snow-kissed railing. If you look into its eyes, there’s purpose without a purpose. Now that’s a bit of contradiction. Let me explain: (I feel) they live a purposeless life, but to be purposeless they have to be purposeful. They can be the spiritual gurus of the birds fraternity.

DSCN1838If the bicycle were a man, he will tell the snow to leave him alone and instead attack a Mercedes. “Spare me,” the bicycle says.

DSCN1867These are not my footsteps, they could’ve been mine. I followed them, as some followed mine.

DSCN1869A bed of crystals, upside down.

IMG_0379“Whose car is it?” “It’s mine.” “What will you do about it?” “What will you?” “Nothing.” “Nothing.”

I link the fascinating Kim Gosselin for this challenge considering she is a lovely photographer too.

Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is my ex-Boss: A brief Tribute


I first met him in the fall of 1996 when he, in an ironed kurta-pajama, passed by me, and whooshed the door open to his small office. I was lazing at my desk, waiting for the Director, who I’d been hired to assist. The morning was overcast and light barely filtered through the window at the entrance, but the pure white of his cotton made the day appear brighter. I was young, and it was my first job.

It took a few months before the Director recommended that I work for Kailash Satyarthi – the Chairperson of Bachpan Bachao Andolan/Save The Childhood Movement (BBA) – whom we fondly call “Bhaisahab.”

His costume though it was bright, had an air of intimidation, because we’d witnessed all our lives in India, the white-adorned politicians who would often vanish after they’d won the elections, not delivering on their promises. Though I knew Mr. Satyarthi wasn’t a politician, I’d still braved through, with raised brows and wet palms, the jitteriness of my first formal meeting with him. When a 6-foot man, bespectacled, with black beard and hair neatly parted and slicked to the side, breezed into the room and glanced at me, I stood up, holding out my hand when he did his, to shake, and poor man, he had to wipe his hand with a kerchief, as he advised, “You don’t have to worry at all.”

The softness of his voice belied his domineering posture, and the nicety of his demeanor made it easy for me to want to work with him for next several years. He was a presence of immense hope. If we look at his graph – until the moment he won the Nobel Peace Prize – he had given thousands of voiceless children a smile, touching their hearts and enlightening them with his never-say-die attitude.

In my 9 year stint with him, being responsible for his schedule and travel as well, I’d spent most of my time in the office than at home with my family. And the only reason I could pull that off was that I worked for a man, who I rarely saw in a state of exhaustion. He traveled domestic and international, extensively, with the mission of eliminating child labor; and the success of Global March Against Child Labor, under his leadership, proved that, with partnerships and collaborations, groups and teams, we were cruising along to end the menace.

Way to go. His travel continued for days on end, and yet, one fine morning only a couple of hours after he’d arrived from a trip to the US, he was in the office – fighting jet lag – to meet with a local organization, which had come to him for guidance. He’d welcomed them, and stressed how if everyone involved in the movement displayed the passion the mission demanded, the endeavors would yield results. And he’d also warned that the path to mission’s success faced stiff opposition from more quarters than we could imagine — but so long as we didn’t devalue the power of our collective conscience for the sake of the cause, we were right on course. His philosophy and pragmatism kindled each other in the design of his thoughts, where children became the only focus.

He was running high fever one day, but still wanted to lead a team to raid a factory in North Delhi, where some details earlier had suggested that the brick kiln owner was employing forced child labor. All of us had requested he let somebody else lead the raid so he could recover, but his stubbornness was nonpareil, and he wished to go. I remember I’d handed him some pills of paracetamol for fever. A day later, when he’d returned with his team in a foggy evening, he looked fresh, with dozens of rescued children following him into the conference hall — where he stood in a corner, unattached, smiling at the children, who cheered and celebrated their new-found freedom. His detachment, I thought, was a moment during which he pondered upon the day gone by, when he and his team had conducted another riskier raid, converting its success into the laughter that reverberated in the building. His fever pills were intact, and his fever only worse, and he tossed the first one into his mouth, and informed us that he’d better get rest, and stepped out, into his car and disappeared in the fog.


I remember he had a couple of meetings in Germany and an important one in London, but his UK visa had expired, and he had to leave within two days. We were not scheduling anything in the UK because we knew we had to renew the visa. I remembered a get-together that BBA had, the previous week, and a senior visa official from the British High Commission had been in attendance, and I remember how he’d admired Mr. Satyarthi and the organization, and had left his visiting card. I called him around 3 pm to check if renewal of the visa was possible at such short notice, and he asked me to meet him in the embassy with Mr. Satyarthi’s passport, and by late evening the same day, his visa was renewed. The next day, I’d written to BBC HARDtalk, a popular show where global leaders are grilled, sending them Mr. Satyarthi and organization’s profile, asking if he could be interviewed – since he had a day to spare in London – and by next morning, I received their confirmation that they’d be pleased to have him.

Later, when I updated Mr. Satyarthi about these two developments, he patted on my back and said that he was proud of me – to which I said that I hadn’t done much, and that he was a known figure fighting for a just cause, and somebody only had to contact the right person at the right time.

Years passed, and his hair and beard turned grey and he began to look weary. One weekend, the entire office went to Bal Ashram, a rehabilitation center for rescued child laborers in Jaipur, to spend time with the children. And I remember we were playing volleyball, during a recreational period, and Mr. Satyarthi looked washed-out, but when somebody lifted the ball for him to smash, his strike had so much power that I had to duck my head on the other side. He has always been too mentally strong to allow fatigue to weaken him, and I know that his commitment for child rights will stay alive till his last breath.

Behind the glitter and glamour of the Nobel Prize are his incredible patience in handling complexities, live-in-the-present motto, taking risks to life, seeking truth, and delivering on the promises – the qualities he was born with, and which made his actions for the children languishing in slavery, be counted.

I left the organization in 2004, but I followed its activities online, and I’m so thrilled that 10 years later, Mr. Satyarthi won the prize after being in the running for it for several years, as per the Nobel Committee. But for me he had won it much earlier, when I’d realized that his passion and mission were noble enough.

Keeping it real and raw.

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