I immediately handed him the set of Information Brochures I had purchased at the Museum and launched into an excited account of my visit there. My brother listened to me, went through the brochures and then said:
“You know, I just remembered. There used to be this box of coins at home, though I can’t recall the last time I saw them. With all the moving around cities and houses that we have done, it probably got lost somewhere.”
Amma, who was listening to our conversation, suddenly piped in and said, “No, it has not. The box is in one of the cartons in the kitchen loft.” This statement was enough to make us search for the box in the loft immediately. It took us a while to sort through the stuff there, but eventually we found what we were looking for — the box of coins.
It was a small plastic box, heavy with the coins it contained. It jingled tantalisingly with a metallic sound as we brought it down from the loft and opened it eagerly.
The English pubs, inns and bars are an institution in themselves, and the local people are very proud of them. Their history, their quirky names, the drinks they serve, as well as the err… food has loyal followers. During my year-long stay in London, I visited quite a few of them and, in the process, developed a love-hate relationship with them.
I love their exteriors (bright electric blue, red, yellow, black), their quirky names (how about The Slug and the Lettuce), and the history that many of them have, but don’t really care much for what they serve. That’s because I hate the smell of beer, ale, etc. and don’t eat non-vegetarian good. And the less said about the vegetarian food served in such places, the better. The worst meal that I can ever remember having was at an inn in Kent—a pumpkin risotto (kaddu ka khichdi for you and me) garnished with blue cheese and pine nuts. Aargh !!!! However, the soups served in such places are hearty and to die for. Not surprisingly, one of my best meals has also been at an inn (The Waffles Inn at St. Albans) where I had mixed vegetable soup with bread and lots of butter. Mmmm…
So presenting the side of pubs, inns and bars that I like. While I remember where most of them are located, my apologies for those that I don’t.
The foundations of 'Ye Olde Fighting Cocks' at St. Albans date back to the year 793. This inn claims to be the oldest public house in England and to have sheltered Oliver Cromwell for one night during the Civil War.
I have to admit that when I held a camera in my hands for the first time in the summer of 1992, it wasn’t an earth-shattering moment. In fact, it felt very awkward to hold one. At that time, if I didn’t need one for my dissertation, I would probably never have picked up a camera. It was only later, in 2008, when I got a digital camera, that I really got interested in photography. A digital camera gave me the chance to experiment.
Within a month of sharing the first results of my experiments with a digital camera with friends and family, the feedback started rolling in. Predictably, some of it had to do with the quality of my photographs and suggestions for improving the same. But most of the feedback was on the choice of the subject of my photographs. Till the feedback came in, I did not even realise that the subject of most of my photographs were that inanimate objects like doors, cars, stations, public transport, etc.
I periodically try to make sense of the vast collection of photographs that I have by ordering them into collections. Not only does this help in streamlining my photo library, it is also a great stress buster. This time around, I was able to identify and tag a trend of photographing steps, stairs and escalators. Presenting some of the interesting ones from my collection :-D
I had just got my first digital camera when I arrived in London and the iconic Tower Bridge was the subject of my first few photographs. Quite pleased with the results, I never lost an opportunity to photograph this London icon. This meant that by the time I left London a year later, I had quite a few photographs of the Tower Bridge. Presenting a selection from that collection, beginning with that first photograph.
September 25, 2008: My first photograph of the Tower Bridge in London.
I do not own a car (or a two-wheeler or any other type of four-wheeler) and neither do I see myself owning one. For one, I am a great fan of public transport, and living in a city like Mumbai, I have never had to worry about transport. Second, I do not want to contribute to the existing traffic chaos and pollution by adding my vehicle to it. And third, I can’t drive. Yes, I have been told it is shocking that I can’t drive, but hey, that’s one skill I’m quite comfortable not having. But all this has not stopped me from liking cars. In fact, I consider vintage cars as works of art, and seeing a Volkswagen Beetle on the road gives me a high.
I realised only lately that I didn’t just like cars. I loved them. I discovered 94 photos of cars (I counted, honest!) during yet another attempt to bring some order to my ever-growing, unmanageable, digital photos. Surprisingly, there were no photographs of Volkswagen Beetles—though there were lots of photos of vintage cars as well as photographs of strange-looking and quirky cars.
Presenting some of them the cars from “my car collection” :-D
Hampstead Village, London: A pretty strange looking car, called Cube !
During yet another attempt to organise my digital photographs into some sort of a library last weekend, I noticed one thing.
I had lots of photographs of doors. Yes, you read right. Doors. Wooden doors, painted doors, open doors, closed doors, doors in walls, even door exhibits in museums! All in all, I had 117 photographs of doors.
Here are some doors from my collection (obsession?)
Door Exhibits at the British Museum. The one on the right is made of limestone