Of photography and paintings . . .

Photography is turning out to be digital art off late. For a long time, I did not understand art. Friends and elders visited museums, and stood frozen in front of a painting, while I stood confused. It did not make sense to me. I used to wonder if they were bluffing for the status quo. Turned out that they dint, lest I remained ignorant. But I kept tagging along in the hope that I would decipher the spell some day. As an homage to Earth Day celebrated on April 22nd every year, this article is going to capture Earth and its beauty as seen from outside the planet.

Why is art viewing considered to be an intelligent hobby?

To understand the intelligence behind art viewing, we need to understand what part of the viewer’s thought process, ends up demonstrating that intelligence? Here is my reasoning . . .

Is it the forethought? –

As an example, I have felt numb looking at some modern art paintings before. Until I figured that they showed the present day planet, several hundreds of years ago or later! That’s when I thought that conceiving an art piece is genius, and viewing it requires a degree of ‘intelligence’ in combination with perception & outlook. Unlike intelligence which is common to animals as well, the latter two, keep evolving with our experiences in life. And this is passive evolution. We do not necessarily try to change our perception, it just happens involuntarily although it could involve some strong influence.

Astronaut Scott Kelly’s images are a good example of what I am explaining in forethought. Scott spent a year in space (in ISS), and took pictures of Earth at various times, across the planet. While people fill their Instagram profiles with their life and their art, Scott got a little excited and filled it all with #EarthArt as he likes to hashtag them. Waters, deserts, Himalayas, volcanoes, aurora borealis (aka) the northern lights and all the magnificence of this planet lined up themselves lifting their heads and looking up, waiting to be captured by Scott’s lenses.

Look at this image from Scott’s gallery. It is the Bahamas.

bahamas

If I saw this in a museum before learning about Scott, I would have walked past without a thought. Okay. Some one just took shades of blue and white and drew some kiddish scribblings. Is this art? Hello? But now, I know. I know why this is art. If it is about the planet, why is it not science? It is not. Think about it. It is an abstract expression of a mind. We observe things all through the day in our lives, and when we close our eyes, not everyone’s mind pictures so much beauty. To those for whom it does, it is indeed a gift. And that, is art. A vivid imagination of distant reality. And the planet view is just an example. To an artist’s mind, imagination is infinite. They can picture and paint the minutest and the mightiest of things. They may be able to draw their mind, who knows? I can’t begin to imagine or explain the vastness of their potential.

Is art viewing therapeutic? – I am yet to experience this feeling. But I have heard a lot of people feel a sense of calm and tranquility, doing or viewing an art piece.

Is it mysterious? – When you do not understand something fully, yet it sits in your brain like an iron on a magnet, refusing to explain the phenomenon, and not moving away as well, you just get consumed by it. You find it fascinating, and you wait to decipher it. And this anxiety with magic, could potentially drive you to acquire the intelligence to understand it. In this case, motivation is derived from the mystery of art’s beauty.

Note – To view more of Scott’s work, here is the link to his Instagram.

Astronaut Scott Kelly on Instagram

Zootopia #Z #AtoZChallenge

I am not here to praise the director and the crew for their fine detailing – from the unimaginable lush green and blue planet graphics, to the minuscule ‘Zoogle’ photos on the phones. Enough has been said, and proved by the Pixar guys. I am going to take the philosophical aspect of this movie because it is more than just an entertainer.

Have you watched it yet? If you have, then you already know what I am blogging about. I guess my question should have been “Have you been there yet? To Zootopia?” because I have been there and I’m just back. I do not wish to go back again, but I do wish I could live there forever! So you want to know what it is like? I’d rather say it is what all of us wished our place to be like. Because Zootopia is the much-needed city of a happy world, in this planet.

“Zootopia is a unique place. It is a crazy, diverse and beautiful city where we celebrate our differences. “

If this dialogue does not ring in your mind, about all of the diversity and the differences that the world is occasionally failing to recognize (don’t even celebrate), then you are probably not living in this decade. A lot of beautiful things are happening everywhere, no doubt about that! But at the same rate, there is declining acceptance and kindness like the top fertile soil getting eroded by pristine rain water flooding in ignorance.

And Zootopia comes to us as a rescue mission, reminding us of humane compassion, and the due kindness that is buried deep under the thick skin and the timid bones. When a  lead character decides to explore, gone are the times when people advise; It is more vile now. She is infused with scary thoughts – she is asked to reconsider her decisions because,

“If you don’t try anything new, you will never fail. That’s the beauty of complacency!”

That’s right! The fear of failure could creep in and stop you from trying in the first place. It is as spirit-less as this fact. You will stagnate. You will be left behind, if you don’t catch up and explore! That’s the part that is not mentioned.

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!”

Do not step back from an attempt just because you are a man or a woman or because you come from a specific country or because you wear a specific skin tone or because you follow a god of your choice or because of your DNA or because some one tried to plant this difference, as a defect in you. Because none of it matters. Who you are, or where you come from should not stop you from doing what you want to do, as long as it is constructive! This is when the rabbit reminds us,

“I came here to make the world a better place but I think I broke it. Real life is messy”

so don’t let it eat you up, alive! And in the process, make sure you don’t lose your mind to evil vibes because change starts from within, and it has a long way to go until it can be seen around. So until then, don’t waver. Don’t give in to negativity. Keep your mental immunity high and soaring. There is an advantage to positivity. It is more contagious than its counterpart. All you gotta do is hold onto it, and it will easily find its way to propagate and penetrate outside of you. So keep your attitude contagious and worth catching. Don’t break anything. Don’t break anyone. It takes a great deal of conviction and blood to create something. Until you create something you love, you would never understand the pain of watching it burn down.

What does the rabbit try to communicate when she is forced to believe that foxes are innately cunning, and lions are all innately wild? That, it doesn’t matter. With education, anybody can be enlightened. Ignorance is not always bliss. Demons and darlings are a part of you. You have the key to choose what you wish to unleash, and at what point.

“We all have limitations. We all make mistakes. And the more we try to understand one another, more beautiful our lives will be.”

So, think before you call someone a scared chicken or a filthy animal. There is so much to each, than what meets the eye! With all of that said, do you still think it is a movie for the kids?


This post is 26/26 of AtoZChallenge>

Yada Yada Yada #Y #AtoZChallenge

May have spoilers ahead!

I know I am late with this A2Z post but better late than never. Pen-ultimate alphabet and this is with a reference to one of my favorite TV shows … nooo not FRIENDS, much better – Seinfeld! That’s right! I am a fan of Jerry Seinfeld, and his wit. Seinfeld is the cleanest comedy show I have watched till date, and highly recommend the same, for a lot of reasons. Although nihilistic in its approach, Seinfeld along with the genius Larry David serves to us a comedy in a show about ‘nothing’ as they claim, but typically has everything about, and for life. This blog post is a special dedication to ‘Yada Yada’ a phrase that I caught up after this famous sitcom. It has a longer history dating several years before and after Seinfeld, but this particular episode brought out some of the best usages for a filler.

George’s Yada – Is it amusing?

The phrase ‘Yada Yada Yada’ is being used by George’s then attractive girlfriend. The way she fits it into the most crucial part of her sentences, amuses George. Just to catch on with her trend, he tries to use it in his own sentences hoping to make her curious and makes a disaster out of it, ending up more amused and curious about the missing parts of her sentence. There is his signature embarrassment and desperation in George’s Yada.

George’s girlfriend’s Yada – Is it the sneaky stuff?

Contrary to her boyfriend’s curiosity, her Yada is the most intelligent usage in the episode. She places all her Yadas to hide her sneakiest details. Until she gets confronted by George’s impatience, she goes about Yada-ing guiltless and guileless.

Elaine’s Yada – Is it the subtle obviousness?

Unable to hold up with his own lure, George brings to the table, about his girlfriend’s Yada Yada Yada and as always, Jerry and Elaine form the jury. George gets convinced with Elaine’s definition where she says Yada Yada Yada is the most subtle part of the obvious story that one does not need to explain to complete the sentence. Giving her the benefit of doubt since she is a woman, George is pretty convinced and at the same time is an atom bomb which  braces up to detonate itself.

Jerry’s Yada – Is it succinct 

Jerry faces George’s first amusement about Yada Yada and finds it quite cool. He claims George’s girlfriend to be succinct for having a smart eloquence. This is pivotal since this drives George to find out about it more.

What else is Yada Yada? 

Yada Yada Yada cannot be anything and everything. It is not just the inexplicable. Rather it could be the worst, best, succinct, obvious, subtle or the dark part of a story. Before you Yada someone, make sure the other person can catch it, for Yada is like sarcasm. It may not be for everyone. And remember, not everyone can Yada you just by using it wherever/however they please. It has limitless possibilities. But it has boundaries. Nevertheless, when you see someone go Yada, you can’t help but Yada yourself. . .!

This post should have come up a while ago but I got so busy with stuff first, and then a bit unwell next, and then a bit of travel . . . and then . . . well .. Yada Yada Yada!


This post is 25/26 of #AtoZChallenge

Xanadu #X #AtoZChallenge

Ah! 24th post is here and what is it about? I guess we are delving into unpopular terrains because most of us find these letters pretty challenging despite themed/non-themed posts. As I was breaking my head to come up with  an interesting topic and title, a fellow blogger/ movie-buff/ satirist/ marketing executive came up with a mysterious topic  and I decided to take the honor of guest posting their idea – Xanadu! I am sure all the ‘Citizen Kane’ fans out there can instantly relate to what I am talking about. And to others. just hold up a few more lines from me and you will find out. Meanwhile, here is this edgy blogger’s website with more such interesting insights on movies. If you love this writing, I am sure you will want to read more of similar works. Welcome to Xanadu!

The beauty of this piece of writing is its diverse references. This may be the story of that mysterious politician/actor/celebrity who you grew up with. You know that you will never know the truth behind that rose bud! Geography wouldn’t matter; Language ? Nope. Xanadu has been a phenomenon, since time immemorial. It has been around ever since the dawn of mankind – that is how I think it should have been. Somebody was born somewhere. They grew up to their virtues. They had to become filthy rich. And then they built an empire for themselves. And their palace would have to be reached by crossing several oceans and forests. And then you find the cage. And then you see the parrot. The parrot’s heart has the answers to all of the mysteries surrounding the palace including the rose bud. Does the parrot speak?

From the author . . . 

So this post is about the obvious reference you get when someone says Xanadu. Yes, the exotic estate of Charles Foster Kane. When we come across the term Xanadu, love and hate for this term is inevitable. You can see only extremely polarized views about Xanadu, and never a neutral opinion. For some, it is the epitome of inability to spend money wisely. For others, it is epitome of artistic appreciation. Either way it is not something that can be easily neglected nor imagined by a common man. A place like Xanadu is never owned or bought, rather it is built and nurtured. This is the major difference between other possessions and Xanadu.

What does Xanadu convey is the big question. So what can an average art lover do about the dream of building a Xanadu ? Is it even remotely possible ? Is Xanadu the place only for richest of the rich or is it the rich’s way to show the world their love for art ? Or is it the way for the rich to quench their artistic thirst? Or is it just a statement by the rich to prove to the world that they can afford the same? Or is it a persona for the rich to hide their rose bud?

These questions haunt my mind. Probably you will never know, but you know for sure that it’s something beyond love. It may not be even deep enough to explore, it might be just a statement made by a person to “make-believe” the world. It’s all the possibilities of Xanadu. A Xanadu in reality could even be a myth. A Xanadu can be a house that has 10,000 books, golden and silver wares. A Xanadu may in reality have a huge collection of clothing and just footwear. A Xanadu in real life may be even situated in the heart of the city. But definitely it is the sanctum sanctorum of Charles Foster Kane and more so, definitely has a rose bud.


This post is 24/26 of AtoZChallenge.

Triangle Lake – Oregon 3/3 #AtoZChallenge #T

Here comes the third and my last post on the Oregon travelogue series. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t. The third part is Triangle Lake. Google provides this image which is a bird’s-eye view of the Triangle Lake.

triangle
Source: Google Image Result

Now, people don’t normally visit or bookmark this place as a part of their travel. It lies in the middle of nowhere, and is on the way to Siuslaw National Forest. That’s how we “bumped” into this beauty. From high up the hills of Siuslaw’s peaks, this forms a nice pretty view of the “valley” like all usual hikes. But what struck the chord for us, was the time of the day. It was dawning and the sun had not risen yet when we hit this road. We were mostly sleepy except to peek at the alertness of one who was driving. It was too early to be hungry but the outside air was fresh nevertheless. I was the passenger in the front and tried to keep myself awake to keep the driver awake, for the safety of the vehicle. Yes, there was no doubt I was trying to rant and ramble despite the calm morning. That kinda reminded me how difficult it could actually get, to talk when you don’t want to. Talking is also difficult man. I mean how do the RJs do it so well at 6am? They also take it upon themselves to wake people up to rise and shine. Talent indeed! My friend totally got my vibes and played along because all the rambling helped putting off the sleepiness and sluggishness.

As the darkness to the right of the car was strongly endorsed by the tall trees, the driver’s side of the car slowly started opening up to some light. The day was beginning to light up, but nothing seemed to exist beyond scanty trees to our left. There was nothing. From nowhere, we saw trees and hills continuing out of invisibility. My rant stopped. So did my friend’s. For a second, I was wondering if I were awake or asleep and dreaming. It did look dreamy. I was fighting off those early morning blurs but holy, my vision was super clear like 3 minutes back! I dint want to distract my friend on the wheels, but I could not contain the excitement. With the speedometer wondering why we were not on par with the designated speed limit, we were covering the road but the invisibility had worsened. Thankfully, the road was not obstructed. If you think I am exaggerating, take a look at this pic that was captured before it got fully blown into white silence of invisibility.

IMG_1522
Misty mornings be this calm!

That was the limit. We needed to put the pieces together and solve the puzzle. The other two sleepy-heads in the backseat also woke up to our loud curiosity. Obviously, they couldn’t sleep after. The element of fog, mist and mystery is the underrated Triangle Lake. We drove ahead into the parking lot and pulled up the car facing east. No no, my sense of direction is not sound. The sun was coming out, and that is how I was sure. All the dew drops in the leaves, and the birds in the trees had braced up for their morning work out of leaning down and flying high. Untouched beauty danced in front of our eyes like this . . .

IMG_1513
In between the woods . . .

What might have otherwise been an ordinary lake on our way to a destination in our road trip, turned out be a show-stopper! Perhaps, all of us needed to revisit the chapter of perspectives and aesthetics in life. Never undermine anything in life just because something dint seem glamorous or attractive on the outside. Maybe the sun and the stars had not aligned to give you the best view. More so, maybe you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. That does not make the place any less pristine. That doesn’t make the actual view any less beautiful. When you visit a place, get into its soul and understand its character. And it will offer you more than you can imagine. Apart from surreal views and calm, the Triangle lake obliged to give us some amazing pictures like the ones below. There is so much symmetry in there. If you observe closely, you would not know if the subjects are looking at the camera or away from it. I guess the sun and the mist did the magic on this beautiful day! It was magically intuitive . . .

IMG_1497
Think about it. Are they looking at the camera?

More often than not, photographers plan their mind, and plan trips to capture the beauty of this planet. I guess places offer you, what they wish to show on the very day you are present there. They are characterized by terrific mood swings. Until we understand that, we will remain the most ignorant species on Earth. One more on the perspectives . . .

IMG_1498
Endless silence.

Part 1 of Oregon Travelogue.
Part 2 of Oregon Travelogue.
This post is 20/26 of AtoZChallenge

All the images used in this post are personal, and subject to copyright infringement if used without the permission of this site owner.

யாரோ அவள்? என்னவோ ஆவல்!

இயற்கையைப் பார்த்தால் ஓவியம் என்பாள் . . .
ஓவியம் பார்த்தால் புகைப்படம் என்பாள்!

கோபம் கொண்டால் சிரித்துக் கொல்வாள் . . .
காதல் சொன்னால் அழுது பொங்குவாள்!

என்ன பிடிக்கும் எனக் கேட்டேன் . . .
எண்ணற்றவை எனைக் கேட்டாள்!
இவ்வளவும் பிடிக்குமா  ? என்றேன்.
இவ்ளோ பிடிக்கும் எனக் கன்னம் சிவந்தாள் . . .

வருவாய் என்றேன் மறுத்தாள்.
வருவாயா என்றேன் தயங்கினாள்.
வா! என்றேன், மயங்கினாள்.
வாடி! என்றேன் வந்துவிட்டாள்!

 

 

 

 

Siuslaw National Forest – Oregon 2/3 #AtoZChallenge #S

I am going to spice this up with some pictures for Oregon is a photographers’ paradise. Of course I can’t do justice to the 3 GB card of images, but my favorite few that would show the place well, is posted here. This blog post is the next part of my Oregon travelogue series. Refer to the first post here if you haven’t read it yet.

Part 2 of the three-part Oregon series is Siuslaw National Forest, a treasure in the bustling rainy state. Located on the midpoint of the northwest capital Portland and Eugene, Siuslaw stretches across with its sand dunes and vegetation,backed by the water-bed of the Pacific. En route to the forest, we halted at a small dock area that had a lot of recreational boats and other water sport activities. It was meant for private boats and jet boats and thus people seemed to rush to the area right in the morning to secure a space for their boats. The day dint feel too hot, probably because it was not even 9 am, and the fact that we were so close to the waters, chilled the air. We were the only car looking for a petite parking lot surrounded by thumping RVs. Every time I spot an RV on the road, my bucket list pops up in my head to add the same old unfulfilled item. RVs trailing the boats on the road are a scary scene, that leaves the smaller cars speeding past them as though they are trembling in fear of the RVs size. Here is a picture that summarizes the first leg of the day, where I am already lost into the morning scene.

IMG_1631
Flamboyant visuals

After a trailer of the coast’s beauty, we got back on the road heading towards the actual national forest. We dint quite know what was up ahead the curves but isn’t that the intention? Get on the road. Turn and twist as it bends. Enjoy the views. Explore what it offers. Road trips are similar to life philosophies. You can’t always plan until the last psi of your tire. It is best enjoyed when you take it as it comes. Guarded by tall conifer-like trees, we were clueless as to why the roads were narrowing up the hill. But the kaleidoscope views that the bridges and the tunnels offered us, was beyond description. Here’s your sample.

Freedom_to_move
Tunneling through our inhibitions and bridging our gaps with nature . . .

One by one, the scenery on our two sides, started to withdraw themselves, as though the curtain was raising to the actual show. Few trees stole the view and I wouldn’t blame them. City planners have tried to come up with legible boards like the one that reads ‘CONGESTION’ in the picture below. Trust me, it is an irony. You feel more liberated and freed of the city’s congestion here.

roadview

By now, out seats had pushed us to the front, and we were holding ourselves from falling off to maintain the car’s balance on the road. World’s calmest ocean had readied to show herself to us, the minuscule fellow species, and the grand opening of the coast muted our senses, unlike a conventional stage show. Here is the spectacular moment for you, that took our breaths away.

IMG_1670
Teach your kid sky and sea from this view, and I will donate my rods and cones right now!

Sand Dunes –

As we breathed loud to get our stamina back, we saw a bunch of sign-boards alerting us of the sand dunes ahead. For a moment we thought we were going to drive amidst the dunes, and we were thrilled that we would get some fun views like the ocean roads. Little did our minds work at that time. Sand dunes are heaps of loose sand that gather in hoards and hoards across a vegetation. The sign boards were advertisements of the ATV companies that would allow us to rent or take a ride with licensed ATV drivers. We drove to the farthest one in the stretch and finally decided to shed our laziness to get off and see what it was all about. After some splendid views, no one was ready to move, awaiting more such views. But this laziness did not last long as our group’s name was called to board the vehicle. What we enjoyed for the next 30 minutes was sheer fun driving in the highs and lows of the dunes, racing against other vehicles and motorcycles. Contrary to our intuition, it was freaking cold in there, with sun-god shining yellows and whites on our heads. After spitting the last of the sand granule out, we decked up to the treasure of this northwestern national forest – Cape Perpetua! But before we head there, here is a glimpse of the mossy sand dunes for you!

IMG_1662.JPG

Cape Perpetua – 

Cape Perpetua, according to the geographical definition, remains the hub of tides and erosion. The park ranger at the visitor center, had told us that the timing and the day was perfect for high tides at the Thor’s well. If we reached the Thor’s well in the next 4 hours, cinematic high tide splashes would be welcoming us. It is funny how exotic locations are considered cinematic. Creators use cinema as a window to the world, and show landscapes from life. To the viewers, dreamy locations come from the celluloid.

Cape_perpetua.jpgAnyway, the short trail to the rocks of erosion, were covered with fresh berries, and thick leaved plants and herbs. The affluence of rain water and moisture were extended up to the last lamina in every leaf. Another tunnel in the middle of the forest, made us wonder if Oregon is all about hibernation and fighting open to sunshine. The tiny berries seemed to fight the thorns, one ovule at a time before blooming into rich fullness in red and green. The camera loved the location, and started to act like a human, capturing the nuances of nature like an ordinary human eye. A yellow flower, focused out in the picture is a classic example.

4
When the camera turned into a traveler …

The diverse landscape and all of the vastness that Oregon offered me, made me think that anyone who visited this place, would learn to appreciate life, nature and all of the bliss around. I don’t think it spared the engineers who built the roads to the coast. The first view from the flat roads is that of the lofty mountains. As you keep driving, the road elevates and the sea becomes visible. I had never seen the coast from an elevation like that, ever before. On top of it, mountains on one side, with ocean on the other, just visit Oregon I say! And the engineering marvel of the road smoothly tilts the farther side of the traffic for a seamless view. So your scenic view does not get obstructed or overshadowed by vehicles on the opposite lane. Did the engineer’s aesthetic sense just get refined in this heaven? Or was it the mountains that asked for a better view of their wavering neighbor?

IMG_1687
The way back is the longest!

After having waited for every other wave, like a  seashore, we still wanted to stay there and never go back. It would have been at least an hour since we had talked to each other. Nature silenced us. Rather humbled us. We gave each other a hesitant look after the pop up of google flight reminder. We wanted to undo that act and continue not talking to each other. We hated each other for an unknown reason at that moment. Maybe it was the splashing waves, or the towering mountains. Nobody stopped us though. But we had to go back! To our lives, to the routine and the challenges. To face them better this time. To live life!

But Siuslaw let us take one last look as we parted the forest, trust me we remained silent for longer . . .

IMG_1894.JPG


Part 1 of Oregon travelogue.
Part 3 of Oregon travelogue.

This post is 19/26 of AtoZChallenge

All the images used in this post are personal, and subject to copyright infringement if used without the permission of this site owner.