To celebrate the new year (2015), we went to a resort called Wildernest. For those who wonder what more can one do in Goa, beyond beach and booze related activities, you must check out this place.
Later that month, biwi got us to take up few wind-surfing classes, very close to home, at the Dona Paula beach. It was fun.
Especially watching her fall :P
The last visual memory from Jan is biwi asking me to take her pictures as she jumped around the house in her dancing clothes. She needed these for her marketing posters. Because I am not a fashion photographer and never shoot portfolios, I don't have any backdrop in my house. This is how I manage.
In Feb, Adarsh, a friend from IIT came down to Goa and booked me for few hours to do an outdoor shoot with his wife. It was their anniversary. We had a good time and he went back home with some great images. This was my last stand-alone couple-shoot assignment. I don't do these any more. Except when a friend, who I can't refuse, requests for it. Or when I am shooting a wedding and the couple also wants me to take their pictures, outside of wedding. Over the years, I have become too much of a journalistic photographer and I can no more enjoy hanging out with stranger couples, trying to make 'romantic' photographs for them.
In Feb, I also met Halim Khan. In Hyderabad. Halim is a Kuchipudi dancer (an art form predominantly learnt and taught to Hindus) and is most famous in the dancing circuit for his female impersonation acts. For many of his earlier shows, the viewers assumed he was a Hindu woman. How he came to be doing what he is doing, and the challenges that lay ahead, make for a pretty interesting story. I shot few interviews and video footage of him, for a possible documentary. The work is stuck though and I just don't know how to pull it off. Me being in Goa and him in Hyd, is a big obstacle.
There were many weddings to shoot in March, so I was mostly working. In April, biwi and I visited Italy. Vacation time! This is a photograph taken one evening, from a bridge in Venice.
This one is from Venice too. Venice truly is "one of it's kind place".
This picture is a snapshot of a video-footage from a Gopro that I was flying (on a quadcopter) for the first time in a foreign land (Alta Badia, Italy). We had started our Italy trip from the north, and kept moving southwards as the days passed. Alta Badia is one of the northern most regions of Italy, sharing its border with Switzerland. Last few weeks of the skiing season was still on. We were probably the only ones roaming around the ski area in running shoes. And singing and dancing for our Holioke.
We also did cycling for a couple of days in Italy, mostly along the Amalfi coast. You can click on the play button to watch the Holioke (unless you have seen it already).
This is one of the last few pictures we took in Italy; Capri Island.
Not many days after returning from Italy, biwi and I traveled to Deoghar and Patna. It was the burning month of May. One of my cousins had his thread ceremony and papa had broken his other leg in another bike accident.
Palak's thread ceremony. His head was shaved in the process. Patna, May, 2015.
Later that month, after returning to Goa, we bought a multi gym. That was the only month when we used it.
In August, I got signed on to an assignment that made me travel to Uganda. This photograph is from Kampala, the capital.
Shanta, a friend, who also happens to be a wedding photographer, accompanied me in the week long Uganda trip. Here you see him sitting on a taxi (a Bajaj Boxer) in Kampala. Motorcycle taxis are as rampant in cities and towns of Uganda as are auto-rickshaw in Mumbai. They are called boda-bodas. Almost all of them are Bajaj Boxers.
My work took me to couple of slums in Kampala.
Ugandan children love doing flips by the way.
On days that we were not busy with work, Shanta and I traveled to a town called Jinja from where originates one of two tributaries of the famous Nile river.
Mathuradas building - painted with the Indian tricolor.
There are many Indian businessmen settled in Uganda. Jinja especially had several old Indian buildings, this being one of them.
This was the most dramatic day in Uganda. After finishing rafting in Jinja, I flew my quadcopter and crashed it on the other side of the river. Eventually, I was able to recover both the quadcopter and Gopro with the help of my rafting guides. This photograph was extracted from the memory card. These are the first few Ugandans who found "a flying machine" crash-land in their village. They of course didn't knew the camera was on and firing.
Almost immediately after returning from Uganda, I bagged another commissioned documentary assignment that made me visit Kota (Rajasthan) for the first time.
A lot of my time was obviously spent flying. Here in this picture, I manage to get a glimpse of my flat in Dona Paula, after taking off from the Dabolim airport, Goa.
Monsoons. Goa, India, 2015.
I experimented with several video-shooting contraptions throughout the year. The experiments are ongoing.
My interactions with Shanta during our Uganda trip influenced me to try photography more often than I did earlier (there literally was a time, when I simply did not shoot anything except weddings). This photograph is just a memory of a regular day at house, as biwi gets ready to go out for some shopping. A year may have its defining moments. But for most part, our daily lives are full of ordinary, nothing special about them moments. As a photographer, any moment, defining or ordinary, has an equal potential of leading to a good image.
Black Sheep Bistro, Goa, 2015.
Biwi's friends from Canada visited us in September. By this time, I was getting a lot more comfortable capturing the 'ordinary' moments instead of a glamourized version of reality. As I look back, I love these images.
Anjuna beach, Goa, September, 2015.
By September, I had already shot over a dozen weddings. This particular photograph is from Jaipur where I had gone to shoot my next wedding - the biggest for the year. It took place in Rambagh palace.
Nasar is an RJ in Mumbai. Sheeba runs her cake shop. Jaipur, India, September, 2015.
Later in October, I went back home - Deoghar, to be with my family during the Durga Puja. Durga Puja is the biggest (and longest) festival in Bihar and Jharkhand (just like in West Bengal and Orissa). Here in this photograph, you can see devotees take blessings from (and clicking pictures of) Goddess Durga, in one of the famous pandals of Deoghar.
My uncle (Bullu), who lives in Canada, was home too, with his family.
From left of photograph: dadi, Disha, Sujata chachi, mummy, Bullu uncle
Yashaswi (Disha's younger sister). Deoghar, India, October 2015.
Yashaswi soon learnt that Mr. Hickles could fall from the terrace and yet not get injured or die.
I was meeting papa after four months. He still couldn't walk without his cane.
Mummy and papa. Deoghar, India, October, 2015.
November was yet another interesting development in my perspective towards photography. I travelled to Chennai and attended a five day photography workshop by Chien Chi Chang (CCC) - a Magnum photographer.
CCC and his disciples. At work. Nov 2015, Chennai, India.
CCC and his disciples. After work. :D
Amrut, my friend from IIT, let me stay at his place in Chennai for the 5 day period of the workshop. The house was empty for the first few days. But Amrut and his family finally joined me, a couple of days before I left Chennai.
Naresh, another friend from IIT, helped me a lot, to deal with the pressure of this workshop. He showed up one day to narrate stories to me. So that I could click pictures of him narrating stories to me. These are the kind of pictures I clicked.
During the course of the workshop, I met (and tried meeting) many friends who I had not seen in a long while. Like Aditi for example. Aditi, a dancer, rode several kilometers on her motorcycle to come meet me at Beasant Nagar beach one morning. We had come to know each other during a month long mountaineering course in Darjeeling / Sikkim few years ago. This was the first time we were meeting after that. Here in this picture, she practices Taichi (her leg had a sprain, so she couldn't dance). Few days after I left Chennai, one of the worst cyclones that the city had seen in recent history, hit it hard. It was a national disaster in India.
By the time I returned to Goa from Chennai, biwi's parents and grandparents were already here. Chennai was about to get flooded. But Goa was all nice and warm. And I was an evolved photographer.
From left of photograph: biwi's - nanaji,naniji, mom, dad. Goa, India, Nov, 2015.
Few days after biwi's parents and grandparents returned to Ahmedabad (their hometown), I travelled to Delhi and met my best friend's daughter for the first time.
November saw a lot more travelling. Biwi flew down to Delhi too. Together we left for Manali. We thought we could figure out some trek to go on, once we reached Manali.
But Manali and nearby areas were having too much of fresh snow. And that meant, no trek was operational. We figured out another place in Himachal - Mcleodganj, were some treks were running. So we took a bus for Mcleodganj.
Cafe by mistake, Mcledoganj, India, Dec 2015.
We finally had a trek to do. It was a four days trek. This photograph is from the end of the first day. A place named Triund.
From left of photograph: cook, guide, biwi, senior porter, junior porter.
Although biwi and I had done our mountaineering course together (the same one where we had made friends with Aditi, the dancer from Chennai), this was the first time that we shared a tent and slept inside it together.
Biwi sips her early morning tea, outside our tent.
On the third day, we finally reached Indrahar pass after a gruelling climb up. The climb down was even more painful. The next day, we returned to Mcleodganj and then soon to Delhi. Biwi flew back to Goa but I had a wedding to shoot in Panchkula (Chandigarh).
I was in Panchkula when Subbu (my brother) called me to inform that baba (my grandfather) had passed away. A few days later, our entire family assembled in Deoghar. In this photograph you see a notebook in which papa has written down the text to be printed on a card (in Hindi), inviting near and dear ones to attend after death ceremonies. Deoghar, Jharkhand, India, 2015.
The room were baba breathed his last. Deoghar, Jharkhand, India, Dec, 2015.
This old photograph of baba was used for several days, as a priest conducted poojas, day after day.
Family sits for one of the poojas, one evening. From left of photograph: Subbu (my brother), his wife, mummy, biwi, Baby didi (papa's younger sister), choti dadi and chote baba (baba's younger brother).
Bullu uncle, who had only recently returned to Canada (after celebraing Durga pooja in Deoghar) had to rush back. You see him getting his head shaved (part of a ritual) as papa attends another ceremony in the background.
The ceremonies and rituals soon got over and everyone returned to where they came from. Except papa and mummy and dadi. They live in the same house in Deoghar where baba died and I know it wouldn't be easy for them. Especially for dadi.
Subbu and dadi having a candid moment. Deoghar, Jharkhand, India. Dec, 2015. This is the last photograph in this series. Let's see what I manage to share from 2016.