Rough roads, beautiful memories


img_20161026_235546Off late the surgical strikes of Indian Army has been making news and after Saheed Hanumant Thappa Indian Army has gone viral in social media. In some places as the social media shows, BJP made posters on election campaign, Mr Kejriwal asked the PM to provide proofs of the attack and Congress released cross LOC attacks in public. The Uri attack and our return fire made lot of us little patriotic and what’s app also flooded with a candle wala DP and many forwarded messages.

Being a silent watcher of those activities I visited Srinagar, Leh, Nubra, Turtuk and Pangong where every single day and every single hour I saw a numbers of Indian Army personnel, their camps, their trucks, rocket launcherss and many things which I want to share it here.

img_20161004_155301445-copyFirst of all, above all bullets and kinds of guns, there lies a lot of artists. All army camps I went across during my visit are colorful. Beautifully decorated, well maintained and clean. I was amazed to see their cretivity and trust on my words, the arial view of any army camp of these places I mentioned will give a natural smile in your eyes.

There creativity is not only limited to colors but also in terms of words. All the camps are beautifully named and some mountains are creatively carved with those names along with the tricolor. There comes  BRO; a Familiar name you will see in every hundred meter with signage and boards. Its not the gen X term ‘Yes Bro’ kind of stuff rather an organisation originated from Indian Army. Officially known as Border Roads Organization (BRO) has been mainting and developing roads across borders in India. The people are so creative, every hundred metre you will see some funny, witty, informative and useful messages on road safety and cleanliness. And let me tell you, you can’t avoid reading them even if you are at a speed of 80km or more. They will hold ur nerves and put pressure on your right hand to lessen the accelerator.

Some messages are like

“Don’t be a Gama, in the land of Lama”

“Drinking whisky, driving risky”

“Do not gossip, let him drive”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Above all, I have never seen any armed force or security agency so much hospitable. While crossing the hilly difficult terrains, amidst all tension and adventure what makes you smile is, you salute any army truck or jeepsy or any officer on he way, they will revert back with saluting you back and with a million dollar smile. They will give you ways to pass the roads safely. When there is jamming, first they will make your ways clear and then they will move. Remember the tracks might carry cooked food, water or fuel for the jawans at the base or at different check posts. They make sure, you travel safe.
They are more hospitable than any service industry. Can you see the softer hearts behind the tough soldiers??? I did every time during the trip.

img_20161004_145408171-copyNow let me come to the point what I have been waiting to spell out loud. I was crossing a check post and got time to interact few army personnel. It was on my way to the northern most village of India, Turtuk which was once a part of India. The check post was in the valley where, on the west, there was Pakistan just a mountain away and on the east, there was China again a mountain away. It was near the Siachen glaciers and the Hanumant Thappa point was not very far from the check post. They narrated till 1971 that post was under Pakistan and we won that during 1971 war. The valley was freaking beautiful and I was amazed to know, they remain their round the year no matter how cold it is. This is the condition of all such check posts and all such base camps. And in winter the temperature go beyond zero degree and they experience that for the sake of serving the country.

I wanted to hug few of them and let them know how proud I am feeling. But it was lunch time and they said to meet them while coming back. I crossed the check post and visited the last Indian Village Turtuk. It was worth achieving. The village is one of the beautiful experience I had during my trip. The children are most beautiful in India as many previous visitors say. These Balti tribe children are with blue eyes and blond hairs. The army has set up schools there till class 12th and you can see some children going to such schools in army trucks in fact. They will wave their hands to the visitors and with a cute smile and that will give you goosebumps.

While coming back, I crossed the same check post and I saw new army personnel and I asked for the familiar name I had met few hours before while crossing the post. The tall dark smiling face came from the down the bridge with a camouflage T-shirt and was looking fresh after his lunch. I shaken hands, we talked again. I asked his well-being. He reverted with the same. But why he is so important and why I am mentioning about him is something that will make you little emotional.

He was nonother than, an Odia bhai from a southern odisha city. Thousands miles away, when I was fascinated about Indian Army, I met this man with an Insass and when he saw my passport started talking to me in Odia. What could be more proud moment for me !!!

edited_img_20161006_145528974It felt, each member of Indian Army is someone from my family, my city, my state. They are just like us. They never bothered about what we post social media. Not bothered about what political parties claim on their victory and efforts. They don’t bother about how much salary our corporate employees get and how much they deserve. They stay with limited connectivity, limited food, limited resources, limited options. But they don’t complain. They do not show their outrage in Facebook or through open letters. They just stand there, putting their life in stake, keeping the family away, entertaining oneself with nature and with memories.img_20161005_113300123-copy

I have taken a lot of pictures and selfies during the trip but this is my personal favorite. A selfie with the man himself, can’t mention his name. I hugged him and said we all are proud of them. I hugged his friends as well.

I crossed the check post and moved ahead waving a salute and getting few in return, saw a series of army trucks few meters later and I was murmuring the song in mind.

“Kandhe se milte hain kandhein, Kadmo se kada Milte hain,
Hum Chalte hain toh aise jab, Dil dushman ke hilte hain”

Happily…

received_1156952127679863

Advertisements

Voice of the Valley


I am Srinagar
A misspelled word
Not once, time n again
Used abused and misused
Like never before.
They came, they saw and they conquered me
On their own wishes
And own style.
Not even once
I could say what I wanted to.
My voice was curtailed
With bullets or landmines and now the palet guns,
I don’t know who is a militant or army or who has what, AK 47 or 56
I took them all
In my chest.
Every bullet fired since decades
I have only seen blood, hatred.
I am little tired now
Not for the bullets but for the battles, I am fighting within me.

 

img_8517

Early morning fishing at Dal lake.

 

I am just stand-still
Amidst the simplicity
The beauty of nature
The curvy roads and wooden glass houses
The Jhelum and Dal,
I am Srinagar, I am alive.
Ask me, what I want
Ask me, the solution of your problems.
Ask me, what you do not know.
Ask me, before you take a stand about me.
I am a silent monk
Preaching peace, but nobody cares
I am Srinagar and i m struggling
Between life and death
Between love n hatred
Between stones n bullets
Between misfortune and mistakes
Yes, I am alive, like you all.

img_8528

I am not a symbol of Indo-Pak tension.
I am the valley of affection.
The nature at its perfection,
I am just like your favorite music
You listen to it once
Again, once again, then again
I am the messenger of peace
With much love to spread across the hearts,
I am the silent strings of a broken guitar
Been failing to be tuned in.
My wishes are in shambles.
I m scared of losing myself
In the crowd of political jargons
Amidst the laws that hold me tight
Even tighter.
I am unable to breathe.
Losing my confidence
To fight back to all adversities
And judgemental eyes
Quite unsure about the future
Rather I must say next day,
I am Srinagar, alive
Just alive without the Life
I am Srinagar, alive
Just alive, with a mere hope
Peace prevails everywhere.
Peace prevails everywhere.

img_8461

Happily…

cropped-16d622812e8397872247ecca9cf51dd5.png

 

 

 

Kodak to Canon; My journey to see things differently


I do not remember exactly but it was sometime around when I was in class 6-7. I was quiet active in extracurricular activities and used to win prizes in many competitions. Those days, digital camera had not hit the market. During all those prize distribution ceremony most of the kids would come with their parents and with a camera to click a photo of their child getting prize. That was the time when I got developed the craze of being photographed but I was helpless and I never have a photograph of any award ceremony till 2006 when I got my first camera gifted by my brother-in-law Mr Biswa Bhusan Chhotaray.

KODAK EC 200

It was also a funny incident when the marriage proposal of my sister got confirmed all were happy for the obvious reason but I was happy more than anyone because he was a cinematographer and I could now get a camera gifted. I told my sister Anusruta that I want him to gift me a camera, because he must have loads of camera, which I was perhaps too ignorant of then. However, I got my first camera KODAK EC 200. It was not a digital camera but I kept clicking. My first guide in photography was a friend who is a great artist now Sitaram, who had amazing ideas of photography. No wonder he was amazingly creative then and happens to be a very popular before he joined JJ School of Art. It was a silver color glossy Kodak which I still have and I cherish my memories with the beauty. However, the irony remained same though i had a camera but i had no one to click when i gets prize. However, this made me trying my hands on photography. The journey started with KODAK EC 200.

img_1093-1.jpg

Quest to Succeed: A scene at Gopalpur Beach My only Photo which got awarded and i had got Rs 3000 cash prize.

I used to save money to buy reel and get those photos printed.  I still remember I was growing and my craze for a digital camera was increasingly growing. Then it came a time when i took admission in my mass com. I took this as a huge opportunity to buy a camera of my own as I was supposed to apply for study loan. It was Dhenkanal and Indian Institute of Mass Communication and I got a brand new black color Fuji Film HD 1000 Camera. The real journey of color, light, distance, micro, macro everything started with the sexy black beauty whose curves were my weakness those days.

IMG-20150819-WA0009

FUJIFILM

I kept clicking with that for more than 3 years apparently which gave me loads of good names as a photographer, which I never had considered myself neither today I consider. Those days It was like I used to sleep with the camera and it had become my companion. It was very close to my heart still it reminds me those good old days.

392617_327537057259128_451124101_n

Sometime in 2012

It was a time when it started showing issues and I wanted to upgrade to a DSLR. I had then revived from my joblessness and struggle. However, I wanted a good decent DSLR which could give me both experience of digital photo and video where I can experiment a lot. However, I had no money and I wanted to get it by loan which was a difficult task for me to get it from bank. At the same time I was also saving money , so that I can afford the down payment of a new car which I needed badly as doctor had strictly restricted from riding bike after my ligament tear surgery. However, it was also a fact that i had got the phobia of riding bike. So I wanted to go for a car which I still do not have. One of the sad angle of the story. Anyway, according to the plan, I messaged a lot of people who were very close to me and asked for some money, I had thought I will get small amount of money from these people who won’t ask for it for next 2-3 months. It is worth mentioned that these were the people whom I had helped a lot both in cash and in kind earlier; ever few had borrowed money from me. But not a single person replied and helped. So I had only option to buy either car or camera.

IMG-20150819-WA0017

Canon 550D

For both the thing I needed 50,000 ruppes and only one friend Bikram who still is one of my closest friend borrowed me 10000 rupees and went Narayani Motors. Car was my first priority and that time only Maruti Alto 800 was available with a down payment of 50K. I went inside. Discussed everything and all documents were verified. They took me to show the car and comfort. I get into the car. Sat onto the driver’s seat and I could feel my extra-long legs were touching the steering wheels and it was such a discomfort to people with height. With the stroke of that disappointment my wishes of buying car got scattered and I am yet to have since last 3 years.

467156_439702996042533_577234414_o

My First Solo open Air Photo Exhibition at Anjali National Children’s Festival in 2012

I came from the Narayani Motors and then immediately headed towards Bapujee Nagar, Spectra Vision. Our very own Prasant Bhai was waiting eagerly with his typical smile. I got the beast CANON 550D wit 18-135 Kit Lens.

Alok Mohanty, is the person who taught me basics of DSLR photography. I owe this to him. In due course i learned a lot of techniques. Starting from Sankar, Sunnil to Raj Sampad a lot of people have influenced me in their work. A lot many people have appreciated my work and i owe them for their constant encouragement. I would like to thank few subjects, who inspired me to click them. Anuradha, Madhu, Puspa these are few of my friends whom i loved to click and some of my best shots have featured their beauty.

The rest is history. I still consider myself an amateur and feel ashamed of saying myself as a photographer. Yes. I am a story teller with visuals. But there are a lot more to learn in photography. But yes, one decision I feel I took right that I never learned Photoshop. Because someone initially had told me Photoshop makes a photo better not a Photographer.

HAPPY PHOTOGRAPHY DAY.

Happily… 

16d622812e8397872247ecca9cf51dd5