17 pictures from 2017

2017 year was a different year for me. A year of firsts, a year of continuation and year of going back to where I came form.

I thought of writing about it but realised that pictures can do a better job at it.

So, here goes -17 Pictures from 2017 that added to me.

1. Visiting the War Memorial in Pune

Pune War Memorial

I had gone for Pune Darshan in 2016 but due to time limitations, we had to skip the War Memorial tour. I was a little disheartened. But, when I got the chance to take a friend on Darshan this year, I was so happy to know that we were going for theMemorial tour too.

Being a fauji brat, all such places feel like home. Even though I don’t stay in the Base anymore, going to memorial felt like I was back at home. The greenery, the set up, the meticulous maintainance of the place was just the thing I needed.

This picture is close my heart because it reminds me of home, of my Dad and of all those fearless jawans, sailors, pilots who are ready to lay their lives at a moment’s notice.

2. Kolkata -The city that calmed me

My Dad was posted in calcutta for a while and I got the opportunity to visit him there with the rest of my family.

I remember Kolkata to be BLUE. The roads, buses, trams, buildings. They were all so blue. It felt so serene travelling through the city. Sitting at Princep ghat, next to Ganga was peace redefined for me.

We saw a lot of places in Kolkata, but the place that stuck to me was the Kalighat Kali Temple. Well, not the temple itself but the colorful market outside the temple. Even though the market was no different from the hundreds of markets I have seen, this one had a calmness to it. Strange, right?

This picture stuck with me because of the panditji and his candid smile for the camera. What struck me was how calm he looked while the world around him went on hustling.

Note to self: Take a minute once in a while and just smile. :)

3. Gokarna- the city that revived me

I know it is a little blurry :P

Somewhere around May, I planned a trip to Gokarna (I wanted to be near the sea and Goa was not an option).

This quite little place made me fall in love with it. It’s beaches and small cafes are just so beautiful. While roaming in it’s market, I sat down to have some refreshments. The coffee and parotta with potato was very tasty.

This picture stuck with me because the owner of this place. He was very hospitable. Knowing that I had no clue what to order, he suggested a few things. This picture shows him in his element.

4. Curiosity caught the Cat -Starring Simba/Ziya

Seems like she is saying — are you going away now?

This is Simba/Ziya. A very cat like cat who is over an year old. She is a very loving cat if she wants to be but most of the times, she is just planning her escape. That is what she was doing when I was running around my friend’s house, trying to take a picture of her.

She went and hid under the bed, behind a suitcase. Now, by that time, I had read a lot about wildlife photographers who wait weeks before they can take the perfect shot of their muse. So, I decided to do the same.

As luck would have it, curiosity caught her and so did I.

This one sticks with me because (in hind sight) looks like it taught me perserverance.

5. My babies

This one is no more :’(

2017 got a lot of plants in my house. At one point I had around 11 different types of plants. Some of them died, some of them are still surviving.

I aim to bring more of them in my house in 2018. I also aim to write about how they all survived 2018.

This one is special because it reminds of the happiness I felt everytime I saw them after getting up in the morning. So lush and green they were…

6. I got paint on my face

Yay! Seasons!

I was a firm believer that I am a sucky artist when it comes to brushes and paints and canvases. So, I never even tried venturing there.

But, 2017 had other plans. I planned a surprise for a friend and took him (and myself) to a painting class. We both enjoyed alot and came out of it with really nice and colorful canvases.

That session got the painter-baby in me all fired up and one sunny afternoon, I picked up the supplies, a reference image and went all out. Well, regardless to say, I was very pleased by my first unsupervised, acrylic on canvas, imitation painting. Hence, the picture and it’s importance to me.

Since, then I have painted quite a few abstract pieces and one with a game character as a gift for my secret-santa-kid.

Painting has opened up a new avenue for me. I am not an painter-artist per se but I love how I can express myself with it.

Note to self: Try everything. Even the things you think you will suck at. You never know what wonders they can do.

7. Are those cyborg eyes in the sky?

Somewhere near Shree Gym, Pune

It will be 2 years for me in Pune soon and this city has been very accomodating. It minds it’s own business while I mind mine. People here drive like maniacs and have no respect for traffic rules but apart from that and a few other things, my stay has been pretty pleasant.

What makes it more pleasant is the hues that the evening sky here gives. Maybe skies eveywhere give such radiant patterns but I guess, I found time to see them only here.

This one stuck with me because of the way the street lights are trying to capture the shot by shining brightly but the sky still wins, even when it is dimming away.

8. So many prayers, so many colors

Kalpa Monastery

I made a solo trip to Spiti Valley in July. Something that I wanted to do for quite a while. If I start writing about it, I guess I can write a book (maybe that’s why I never ended up finishing my own series on it :/ )

Anyways….

Anyone who has been to the mountains would be familiar with the prayer flags. Before my trip, I only saw them on Enfields and some cars. I was mesmerized when I saw them in the mountains, valleys, bridges, moansteries. They are everywhere drifting in the wind, swirling and twirling. They do look and feel very nice in the cars and bikes but they are something else when they are in the mountians.

This one is special because it puts a smile on my face and makes me feels the mountain air on my face everytime I see it.

9. Kalpa, you beauty!

Can you see the smile on her face?

Mountains do not only have pure air but people of pure hearts. On my entire 15 day trip, not once did I feel alarmed by people. They were always so helpful and nice. And they always had a comforting smile on their face, which may not sound much but it was enough for me.

While I made my first pit stop at Reckong Peo, I went around exploring Kalpa. I roamed around for hours, up and down the hills, sitting at the monastery, trying to write a letter, letting the pure air sooth me, hoping it would stay a while longer even after I exhale. Walking down this path, which was surrounded by peach and apple trees, I saw a group of kids returning home from school. They all smiled at me while I tried capturing them. Made me smile back at them. This particular pair of mother and son were shy I think because they did not really pose for me the way others did. As I passed them, I just looked back at them, through my camera (sometimes I forget I have it on my eyes, same thing happens with spects) I saw them exchange this look. CLICK.

I looked at this picture maybe a dozen times, just trying to fathom how genuine her smile is. Reminded me of my mom, made me a little homesick. It still has the same affect on me.

10. The Cold Dessert — in the day

Entering Spiti Valley…the grey ribbon is Spiti River

Even though I had been travelling in between the mountains for more then 20 hours by the time I reached here, this view took my breath away.

Cloud studded blue sky, bare mountains, cold wind and Spiti River — this was the view from a bridge just before you enter the cold dessert mountain valley.

I felt so small in that instance…

11. The Cold Dessert — at night

Thank you Raj for teaching me the wonders of my own camera! Star Trail

This one is just breathtaking. Not because of me, but because of the beauty that Spiti is at night.

One of the 6 nights that I spent at Zostel Spiti, Kaza, there was a power cut just for 10 minutes. It was pitch black when that happened. My eyes went upwards as if something was beckoning me and I saw the clear night sky with millions of stars for the first time in a very long time. Reminded me of my childhood, when we used to visit my parent’s village during summer vacations. The night sky looked like this, exactly like this. I couldn’t help but tear up — it was so beautiful.

I sat there gazing at the stars for hours in the cold night, with my blanket to keep me company and Enigma on my mp3 player to put just the right music to fit the heavenly sight.

This picture was taken on my last night there. It is worth the 3 hours in cold, sniffling and chatting while the camera took 20s to take a singal shot.

12. A place called AgroStar

There are more at this desk

Since I started working in 2014, I have been lucky to be a part of companies that really believe in what they are doing.

LocalOye was one whirlwind of a place that made me the hustler I am today.

AgroStar is another place filled with people who are passionate about what they do, all of them focussing on one thing only — making famers win.

Sounds intense, right? Well, it is. I have grown a lot in the 2 years that I have been here. I have understood tech more, I have acquired more hands on knowledge about fields (both real and knowledge ones) and most of all, I have started to grasp what it means to work with people. I have learnt how to learn from people, how to read between the lines to understand what they are not saying, I have understood how to ask the right questions.

Every workplace has its’ good and not so good aspects. What I learnt here is how you have to keep moving in the face of both these aspects.

This picture stuck because it is colorful and I love Happy Meal toys :D

13. Home away from home

I have always been home for Diwali. Spent it with my family cleaning the house, buying sweets with Dad, chilling with my brother, making Rangoli and doing 100 other Diwali things. Every year.

2017 Diwali was spent in Pune with my roommate and my friend. We did a few of the diwali things and I did make rangoli. An elaborate one too. I went all out.

This picture is special to me because of the way it captures the light from the lamp illuminating the idol and the picture of my mom and brother in the background. It seems complete to me.

14. 5K

:)

Even though I have run a lot in my life (since when I was 2), I never really had the courage to run a marathon. It just seemed so daunting.

But this year when Teach For India partnered with PRBM for a Marathon, I said “Let’s do it!” and signed up for the 5K run.

Few of my colleagues also participated and had an experience for a lifetime. They all ran a marathon for the first time so it was tiring and exciting.

I, on the other hand, ran the slowest 5K in the history of 5Ks I think because I was more inclined towards taking pictures of the runners, especially the runners who were running for Teach for India. I did finish the race though. I was on a track after almost 4 years and it felt so nice ( I ran sprints for my college).

This lady was running the 3K I think and she gave me a thumbs up while I clicked her. I sticks with me because of her smile and energy.

15. The Wedding

Looks wonderful, innit?

I attended a couple of weddings in 2017 and witnessed the term “BIG FAT INDIAN WEDDING” in all its’ might.

I am not very keen on the way we Indians celebrate the union of two individuals but I guess, everybody has a different way of celebrating happiness.

My friend celebrated his by having this beautiful wedding. And of course, the food was amazing. What makes it more exceptional to me is the variety they offered the guests. Jains are just magicians with food. I have a new found respect for the practioners of this belief. I know I can’t do it but I sure as hell can eat all the awesome food they make.

This one is just wonderfully encapsulating what I said above.

16. The one with reunion (well, sort of)

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (cue title track…)

My friend’s wedding ended up being one of the nicest moments of 2017. I got to meet so many of my people from college. It was like nothing had changed. The same humor, the same fun and the same sense of belonging.

Somethings’ just don’t change. At least in 4 years they don’t.

This one makes the list because it has most of them. Rest were galavanting around in the food ground.

17. Flowers of the year

Home grown it is…

My fascination with flowers started with the start of 2017. I received a few. Found a lot when I was in Spiti and en route. Who does not love flowers?

This pretty little thing was grown in a home garden and given to me with love. It was too pretty to just let wilt without capturing it’s beauty.

After 10 clicks, I was able to get a shot that I liked. This one.


I had a few down moments too in this year. Let go of a few things, a few people. But I think 2017 taught me to look past the troughs and grow with the crests.

I hope my list of hope & happiness makes you happy and gives you an optimistic start of 2018. I know it did for me :)