The second Sunday of this month was really a-m-a-zing. Partly because I got a much-needed Photography 101 from Prasad and also because I got to meet my friends after eons. It was a totally unexpected plan; Prasad had asked me the previous day if I would be interested in going for a photowalk at Lalbagh and I had instantly agreed. Who would say no to photography, right? Apparently our college photography team was having their photowalk on the same day. By the time we reached Lalbagh, they were on the way out. Prasad and I entered from the West Gate, which is where the lake is. I’ve lived my entire life in Bangalore and not once did I chance upon this lake. Anyway, the photowalk kicked off around 10AM with Prasad taking the lead and me tailing along. Although I’d taken my camera, I did not really use it much as there was a lot of learning to do. Prasad had a keen sense of observation and could recognize birds by their sounds. The only bird I was able to identify correctly was a pigeon. His ‘Oh look, there’s a cormorant… and that’s an egret!’ statements met with a blank ‘What Cornetto? A grade??’ While shooting every picture he had something to say about the exposure setting, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and other jargon that sounded alien to me at first. Eventually I got accustomed to the photo-vocab. Bird in flight? Set a high shutter speed to freeze motion. Bright day? ISO can be a meager 200. Subject below the lens? Focus on the eye to get the shot right. I realized that shooting animals demands hell lot of patience. Human portraits are straightforward and simple in that you can ask your subject to stay still and pose while you let the camera do the magic. Pretty static stuff. Birds are a whole new ball game. You never know when they might choose to swoop down right above your head and disappear even before you adjust the zoom of your lens. We spotted pond herons, lots of fishes, a snake even, thanks to Prasad’s quick observation. Before heading out we tried portrait photography. There were three tiny (very, very miniscule yet super cute) owls perched atop an old tree. They were so perfectly camouflaged that I couldn’t spot them even after Prasad pointed at the branch they were sitting on (note to self: must improve observation skills). After a lot of craning my neck I managed to catch a glimpse of those nocturnal creatures. We left with a loaded memory card and a ton of memories.
Later that evening I’d gone to Gaja’s house as I hadn’t met her since a long time. Her neighbor has brought a 30-day-old pup that she is currently taking care of. It is so hyper, doesn’t sit still even for a nanosecond. Nibbles away at all things edible (and inedible), yelps at the slightest hint of noise, constantly begs for your attention and melts your heart with its cuteness. If you ever need an adorableness overdose, Fluffy is the right pet for you. We came up with an impromptu plan of throwing a post-birthday bash for Rosh. Sheekha joined us later in the evening with our joint favorite – momos. Funny how we’ve begun to associate birthdays more with the person’s favorite foodstuff than birthday cakes.
Our first CSR activity took place on 13th with kids from Apna Ashiyana. Meghana and I met at college and left together from there. I had my first ‘Designer Disco Bus’ experience. You know, those painted private buses with blaring music that is sure to damage your eardrums and crowd so bad that you’ll never want to step into the bus again. The journey was made slightly bearable thanks to Sonia’s requests for dialogue translation of the Kannada movie that was being played on TV. The bus dropped us a little away from our destination. We had to walk quite a lot to reach Banerghata National Park. The kids finally arrived around 10ish. I was determined to learn Hindi so I started with introducing myself in broken Hindi, much to their amusement. First up on our agenda was a visit to the zoo. Among the many animals that we saw were python, jackal, tortoise, monkeys, crocodile, panther, hippo, leopard to name a few. There were plenty of birds as well – macaw, love birds, ostrich and a couple more whose names I can’t recollect. After the zoo visit we stopped to have piping hot samosas from a small chai shop within the zoo itself. Zibran distributed chocolates to the kids and Misbah gave them bubble blowers. The kids were delighted. I gave them my handmade maze which was well-received, much to my surprise. Next up we had the safari where we got to see elephants, lions, tigers, deers and bears. We were famished by the time it was over. Thankfully lunch had arrived on time. We all sat down in the field and ate away merrily. Post lunch the kids were given color papers to draw after which we played games like crazy. It started off with blindfold running and catching, which was super fun. This was followed by dog and the bone, which was equally amusing. I was shaking with laughter throughout the game. It was just.too.hilarious. The last game for the day was Kabaddi which again was a hit with the kids. We gave them a bag of goodies before heading back home. Later on I got to know from Christy that it was their first vacation after a span of six years and they had really enjoyed it. Made all our efforts worth it. Sure was a memorable day!
I had been to Kavya’s house last Sunday to collect Neha’s wedding invitation. Couldn’t make it to the wedding though. One more person got hitched this month – Sowmya from office. Which reminds me, we had our ethnic day in office on Thursday as part of Diwali celebrations. Meghana made a stunning rangoli the previous day (the technique of using a tea strainer to fill colors was really clever) and we created a ‘Happy Diwali’ message using flowers the next morning. We clicked lots of pictures as usual and had oodles of fun.
All in all, this month has been very kind to me. Looking forward to the long weekend. Adios!