Kisna

•August 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

So I had to write this post for a very specific reason. Over the past few weeks, a couple of my friends and I started to get back into golfing, with the summer at its peak. We typically make it a point to choose a golf course closer to Manhattan, simply due to convenience. Our last two outings had been to a quaint little course in a rather discreet location behind a tiny parking lot  – Kissena Park Golf Course.

It so happens that Kissena faintly rhymes with Kisna – a “famous” movie in Bollywood. And the name stuck. We started calling it the Kisna with of course, a classic bollywood song. to go with our drive to the course.

As I was rummaging through  few of my old journal entries, a habit of mine that I lost somewhere along the way, I chanced upon a gem, which immediately reminded me of this!

So here is to a completely unedited and original musing from February 2005 and to the Golf Course!

Destination America Entry # 4 – “Kisna” in US of A

 This happened out of the blue. It was on the first weekend, after I set foot on this land. I didn’t know what to do over the weekend, when my colleague, who had been here for almost three months, asked me if I would want to join him for a ride to Stanford University. Well, it could have been out of pity, seeing me sitting in my room, staring at the laptop that he decided to call me. Within no time, I was ready and I went to his room where I got introduced to his friend, who held a bottle of masala tea in his hand. Apparently this guy is known for his preparation of masala tea. But my aversion to the item, thanks to the one I tried out in  Kurla Express, on my way from my home to the college two years back, made me politely refuse it, with a “not so convincing” excuse that I hate spicy things.

Shortly after that, we were cruising along the expressway (I keep forgetting the numbers of the expressways, but they do have an interesting way of naming them), at 70 miles an hour (well that’s around 110 km/hr!!!), on a Honda Accord. Oh by the way, Honda Accord happened to be one of the “economy” cars in US!!!  We reached the place in almost 15 minutes, but it took us yet another 15 minutes to find a parking spot. People chose this university as a “holiday resort”, during weekends. All the parking slots that lay empty were for the handicapped. It looked as though there was a 50% reservation for them, everywhere we went!!! At least they provided free parking during holidays; unlike in India where you find parking prices rising sky-high during peak hours.

We got down at the  Cantor Arts Center  on the east end of the campus. Things could not have been more unfortunate, when we realized that the place is under renovation, and we were not allowed to walk around. So we just got to see a few models at the front, the ones by Auguste Rodin, Three shades and Gates of Hell.

Then all that was left was a drive around the characteristic building of Stanford, the one that is seen in every picture of the university. Overall, a great place to be. It gave me goose bumps, even when at the thought of me being a student there!!!  On our exit from the campus, we drove down the <I> palm drive </I>.True to it name, the whole driveway, had palm trees lined up on either sides, which was again quite interesting, because all around the campus, this was the only place where you would find the palm trees!!

A visit to the Fries Electronics, to have a look around, and we were left with no more plans. That’s when this “great” idea of watching a  Hindi  movie came up. A unanimous decision followed, when everyone except me voted for it, and I had to give in. We drove all the way to Freemont, to the only theater where they screened an Indian movie, rightfully called Nas . And then started the series of disasters!!! For an 8 dollar show, I expected a theater in the lines of PVR Gold Class at Bangalore. Instead, what I saw inside was shocking….. a “lecture” hall filled with “chairs” and the screen at just a hand length away!!!  More lurid was the cost of <I> samosas </I>, when I got just a couple of them, for $3. The movie, <I> Kisna </I> seemed to add more to my despair. With no room for me to stretch my legs, and the chairs proving to be grueling for my buttocks, I had to sit through the movie, with my eyes open!!!

Finally after the 3 hour long toil, we were out on the street, blowing smoke into the air (believe me … I was not smoking!!). Then the “masala tea” guy suggested that we go to Udupi restaurant, for dinner. This time I resisted rather strongly, deciding not to have any more “indianism” in US. With an assurance that I get my money back, if I didn’t like the food, I agreed. Well, it was a great food, although the oil tasted more like a beef extract. Back at the hotel, I fell straight into the bed, to get some sleep that was pending at the theater!!!

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Manhattan Musings – Part 1 – The Dancing Man

•July 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

As I walk down the 6th avenue to the 32nd street intersection, waiting for the white walking man to appear on the traffic light, I saw him for the first time. He was sitting silently by a big green trash can, a common sight at almost all intersections in Manhattan. As the cars whizzed past him, he seemed to stare across the street with a sullen face, perhaps looking beyond the rushing pedestrians into oblivion. He was dressed rather heavily for an uncharacteristically hot and humid day in May. His unruly hair was tied rather awkwardly like a pot smoking “saint” at Banaras, India. When the light changed to “walk”, I started to cross the road along with a flurry of pedestrian traffic rushing towards the other end. I reached the middle of the road and turned back to take one last look at him. That’s when I saw him stand up take of his fur coat and walk across the street, with his hands waving. Suspecting something to be wrong, I decided to turn around and watch what happened as soon as I got to the other side. I saw him pause in the middle, breaking into a rather unrhythmic, yet corrdinated movement of his arms and legs. He was well build for a homeless person on the streets, perhaps working out on the iron construction bars which are yet another common sight on the streets of Manhattan. The line of cars in front of him stood watching as he finagled his way from one bank to the other and back. As the lights turned green, he calmly retreated to his seat by the trash, going back to staring unto oblivion. Since the day I first noticed him, I’ve seen him almost every day, sitting at the same spot, day and night, summer and winter, dancing his way through the red lights

Modern Art – Museum of Modern Art, New York

•October 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan has a wonderful collection of modern art from the late 1800s to the turn of the millennium. I sometimes do wonder how long will modern art be called modern! Mainly spread across two floors, the collections range from the Picassos to the Baers, from the Braques to the Pullocks and many more. But what has come to be known as modern art has changed over centuries. Van Gogh, in its medieval form, used the paint right out of the tubes to create the “Starry Night”

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Gustav Klimt and Georges-Pierre Seurat used the size 0 brushes to elegantly create masterpieces through brush spots rather than brush strokes.

 

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In 1907, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque developed a mathematical visual with geometric shapes depicting the traditional subjects of the medieval realism. Cubism, as this art form came to be known as, is tough to decipher but somewhere in the maze will be a clue to the subject.

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It was really after the world war era that things started to change drastically about what seemed to be perceived as modern art. In fact the initial change was in the subjects – from traditional landscape, nudes and still life, they started to depict themes of the post war frustrations, like this painting by Giorgio de Chirico in 1914.

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There were however a few welcome oddballs during this time, like the Monet’s water lilies.

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But in general, art started to be perceived as beyond just oil and canvas. Props started to fill up the canvas alongside oil paint. Being an ardent fan of realism and early modern art, I must admit that this change, to me, seems rather a sign of laziness, a half hearted effort to complete an art faster.

Art today seems to be about filling up a canvas with one or two colors rather than create a masterpiece with a rainbow of them. Take for example this artwork by Jo Baer, of three canvases painted in white, with a border of red, blue and green.

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Or this one by Reinhardt, which he describes as aesthetically close to monotone chinese paintings.

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Over the years though, art has changed from its oil on canvas form to photographs, prints, and several other creative forms, a lot of which are truly fantastic. The fact that prints and photographs require a different level of talent to visualize and capture those moments, is still an encouraging sign that art is not all dead. Let me leave you with this beautifully crafted print from MoMA of Beatles. Unfortunately I do not recall the artist.

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I must admit, these are just my biased views and I’m always open to different perspectives.

Fall 2016

•October 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment

This fall, I turned 10! 10 years since I moved to US – first two years as a student and the next 8 years working. But never in these last 10 years have I really ventured out in search of fall colors. Well, I’m not all that surprised, esp. since I’m yet to visit the Niagra falls which was just an hour an half away from where I lived the first two years in this country. So this year, since I had some time in hand, and since my parents decided to visit in fall, I thought it might be a good idea to visit the land which some call as a heaven during fall – Vermont.

Now, fall hits Vermont rather early. Wise men from the mountains say the fall “foliage” moves from north to south. And for this same reason, last weekend was deemed as perhaps a tad too late for viewing fall colors at its peak in Vermont, by many. But then the beauty of Fall is not just its colors on the trees, but also the fallen leaves that create a carpet of colors on the ground. We picked Ludlow, VT as the spot to “camp” before venturing out to the mountains, a small village close to the vast expanse of the Green Mountains, 4 hours away from the busy traffic laden roads of Manhattan. We chose to start the drive on a Sunday afternoon, when most people decide to stay at home and soon reached those mountainous highways in Connecticut, without much delay. We caught a glimpse of what we were to expect as we went through the Heroes Tunnel in New Haven, CT, a half a mile long tunnel through the mountains, with a sign board at the entrance which says “Drivers please remove your sun glasses as you enter the tunnel”

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The traffic was uneventful through the rest of the trip and after meandering through the dark VT103 state highway, we reached our hotel. From the outside, it looked rather old and dark. However soon enough we realized it was just the reception and the actual condominium that we booked was up at the top of a hill. Now one thing that always amazes me is how dark the streets are in the villages around US. It does not just go for local streets but also the state highways. The drive up the hill was no exception. It took us a few wrong turns and a couple of private roads to finally figure out our home for the next two nights. The house itself did not disappoint – a three bedroom apartment atop a hill, looking down unto the colors of fall was everything I could have asked for. After a fireside dinner a glass of whiskey and tired from a 4 hour drive and the high beam lights that kept flashing at my eyes along the way, I decided to call it a day.

Next day morning gave us a little bit of a scare. We realized as soon as we woke up that it rained through out the night. A drizzle in the middle of fall can bring all those colorful leaves flying down to the earth. So it was with a bit of skepticism that we decided to head out to our first stop – Killington Mountain Resort, the start of the Appalachian trail in Vermont. As soon we hit the “Scenic Route” on the state highway VT100, those apprehensions went away. The colors over the mountains and the trees along the way truly took your breath away; add on the sun that peeked out of the dark clouds to add a glisten to those color filled mountaintops and lakes beneath them.

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We took several stops along the way to pause and capture the beauty of nature through lenses both natural and artificial. Although the closed Killington Mountai resort turned out to be a disappointment, the Lye Brooks Falls, that followed made up for it. An hour away from Killington with a not-so-obvious entrance, it did offer the best of both – a carpeted ground and a colorful treetop.

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And I should make a mention of the “great american breakfast” place we stopped in between, with its “Frying Pan Hall of Fame”

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After a half an hour hike at Lye Brooks Falls, when the rocks started to get slippery, we decided to head to Okemo Mountains and the ski resort around it. I must say that it was perhaps one of the best decisions we made. A 4 mile drive through the winding roads up to the mountain top offered some of the most spectacular views of fall I’ve ever witnessed.

From the ski slopes

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to the roadside trees,

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everything was “picture perfect”!

As darkness slowly started to settle in, reminding us of the impending winter days, we settled for a great american pie dinner, a glorified wood-grilled pizza and called it a day by the fireside.

The drive back to Manhattan the next day was rainy and foggy.

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The pleasantness and serenity of the village roads soon transformed into lengthy traffic blocks and noisy horns and we realized it was time to wake up from the dream and get back to reality. A truly blissful weekend to kick off the week refreshed!

Adios Philadelphia

•March 6, 2016 • 1 Comment

When I cam to Philadelphia back 2008, I had no idea, I would stay this long. 8 years hence, as I get ready to “relocate” (as the wise men from the mountains call it), I realized that I have quite a lot of memories with this city of brotherly love. To be honest, ever since I moved to Philadelphia, all I had in my mind was to find a way to move to New York City, a city that I’ve always been fascinated with; a city which I captured the most through my lens; a city where I always wondered what would happen over a minute. But now that I finally managed to find a way to move to New York, I decided to take a stroll around Philadelphia to capture some of the moments I decided to casually ignore.

Here’s to the view from the Art Museum – the very steps of which were made famous by Rocky!

Boat Houses

 

And here is a collection of the few captures I managed through my lens over the 8 years.

Pennsylvania Passtime

Dusting off

•December 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Weird are the ways in which life shows you some of those things from the past which should have never been let go of. One of those came knocking on the door today, when I got added to the Ghosts of the Bloggers past reminding me of those wonderful days of blogging. Things were simple back then. Thoughts were much more free flowing. Emotions could always be put into words. IdleThoughts were “Scourges” back then. And every day of my life was chronicled.

As years passed by, things changed, perspectives altered, hurdles of life started to catch on and I slowed down on my blogging. Now what “Ghosts of the Bloggers past” gave me is an impetus to write again.

So here’s to a rainy day spent amidst the books.

Rainy Day

I promise to update this place more often from now….

Hats Galore!

•March 18, 2013 • 1 Comment

Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Hats off!