flower stall at ooty market, 2016. shot on holga+kodak porta 400

I’ve been playing with a plastic camera – a Holga, to be specific, and 120 mm film a lot lately. The process is one of my little “unburdening” rituals that helps shake off all manner of weights – photographically…and metaphorically speaking. I love that a process which involves such basic tools can do the opposite : it produces an image that is pleasantly complex, either by way of the fuzzy, sensual textural detail it renders, or simply, the play of light  – thanks largely to those minute, magical light leaks – that is natural to the Holga way. I like that working with this plastic box takes practice : somewhat calculated guesswork gets imbibed over time to get those somewhat okay exposures with a better hit rate. I like the simplicity of the process and the complexity of the results – if there are results, that is(guesswork, remember?) I love that my little black box is the philosophical opponent of my DSLR, steadily rising up the ranks on my gadget radar.

In an attempt to revive this undernourished blog, I have some such works and then some (which I seem to be hoarding for appalling reasons) that I’d like to start sharing. Perhaps it is about time. I hope I will do just that (note to self) and not run away as I have done for the past year or so. Aaaaargh.



The meaning of the word home, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary reads

:  one’s place of residence  :  the social unit formed by a family living together :  a familiar or usual setting :  congenial environment; also :  the focus of one’s domestic attention :  a place of origin :  an establishment providing residence and care for people with special needs

Each on it’s own and all of these descriptions together, are hardly enough to elucidate the wholeness of this simple, rich word.

A subject of keen interest over many a dinner table conversations – what is home – we often ask ourselves, ask each other. for the past few years R and I have been on the move. A lot. Intercontinental living, long spells apart, him there, me here with our puppies – time here dotted with work related travel now and then. Away, here, here and away.

Home. Such a simple word exuding all kinds of warmth, old fashioned romance and comfort. And the more I think about it and the way our lives have panned out, the more I am convinced that it is an emotional response more than it is a structure with walls, pretty furniture and all. Of course, the structure is a basic need but home is the feeling that breathes life into walls and hearts. I couldn’t be more convinced of that fact as I am now. I write this post sitting in a lovely house in a city that I also like to call home, somewhat atleast. I am at home, here, now, this fleeting moment. Yesterday though, all of this felt distant for a place without my pups felt less of a home. But so does waking up without him next to me every so often back in the other home. So then, what and where is home ?_DSF0242Is it that place filled with aromas of gentle spices, warm rain and doggie odours, where my books and museum of well loved things and memories reside ? Is it here in this silence and the company of dew lined swaying trees that I’m so savouring ? I know I will feel at home as I sip that the glass of wine with him this evening over daily chatter, laughs, and a warm meal he is to cook for us. I always do. Or will home be waiting for me when I go back to my puppies in a few weeks ? some sunday mornings, home is simply sitting and chatting away with my mom and dad at the kitchen table, in their oasis home outside the city, waiting for hot dosas to arrive magically at my plate (which they do) and stealing quick treats to extremely well fed dogs loitering restlessly at my foot in the buzz of my mom’s kitchen. Home is the place where I laugh and gossip with my dearest friends over freely flowing potions and food, revelling in the warmth of my chosen family. And before long, I will want to wander far away from everything familiar to find where I belong. To my beloved mountains, perhaps. Home, is all of these things, each of these, an amalgam of these. Home, well it just is. The constant cocoon, the unraveling core where all of these flow from (the ever contradicting joker in me pops up and asks me if I’m kidding as I write this, home is home, the little devil says, so go back to your pups and the smelly studio couch where you are so not welcome !)

_DSF2126 copyThe devil aside, I am aware of how greatly my sense of home has changed and evolved over the past decade. From a girl who definitively thought of a house as a home to someone finding home in so many things, in nothing. oh, I do love the idea of a nicely made house filled with well loved art and simple well worn essentials. home, though is a state I’m increasingly sure I can conjure or find wherever I go. In the familiar, the unfamiliar, in a person, a dog, engulfed in the delicious hot shower in a hotel room after a long day’s work. And I would argue that the rasam, rice and spicy omelettes feel like heaven here in san francisco than they ever did anywhere else. That, my friends, counts for home !

_DSF2123-2While living between cities is incredibly gratifying, it is also comes with it’s own set of “displacement” type issues (no, not at all complain worthy), which do needle you further out of the comfortable PJ zone and onto a traveler’s path – that is at once, internal and external. You tend to belong and un-belong at the same time. Another self emerges – or a better self, a parallel self – an interrogator, an aggregator who takes stock, takes to task most of the learnings and ways that have seemed perfectly acceptable thus far and trashes them in favour of richer and more expansive pastures to lost in and then, finally find home.  the bitter sweet lessons of learning while wandering. And one of them is this – how to find home.

_DSF0326_DSF1865Right now, I am away from one home but in another, I’m sipping tea with lemon and honey thinking about the evening, how my pups are doing, my sister is on my mind. I have a doctor’s  appointment to keep, my calendar says, and I withdraw with a jolt momentarily. My Yogi has been a lot my mind lately, more than usual. He taught us much about home, in fact he was key. Home used to be those days when he and his daddy used to take long walks in the mountain mist and I’d just look on and feel so utterly content. Home. That was enough. His death I suspect tore me apart more than I could imagine. It has opened up new soul frontiers that I’m afraid to venture into yet. I know it will pass and so I’m also nudging myself: gently telling myself to stay centered for I have (very procrastinated) work piled up awaiting some dedicated immersion. Catching up with a clear head is going to be hard given some tough difficult days that have gone by thanks to an illness, a condition that comes and goes.

For now,  I’m going to pop over to the home-y coffee shop nearby for a bit of a change and a healthy caffeine buzz :)

My next post is a cheat sheet to San Francisco followed by a travel story on Mexico, all happy stuff, so come by soon !


“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.”
― Robert Frost


Dog Park Heaven

Not too long ago, for a good month or so, there was a magical window in my room. It showed me endless views of a hilltop filled with green grass, little yellow flowers speckled with Queen Anne’s lace and happy dogs galloping against an ever changing backdrop of dramatic skies. Heaven ? Oh yes. Not surprisingly, I was staring out so much so that I decided to leave a camera on the desk next to the magic window to capture the scenes at the horizon that was in my view.

It was as if love and fresh air radiated from this energy centre called Bernal hill dog park – which was across our short stay home – and straight into my heart. My morning runs were filled with laughter, little chats with doggie parents and the sweet dog walkers. I would manage (dreaded) uphill runs far better than I expected simply because there was constant energy and comic relief coming my way which would set the tone for my day ahead, reminding me ever so sweetly that everything is exactly the way it should be, in the perfect order that is just right for me. Dogs have this incredible, gentle way of teaching us that there is never a reason to complain but just be completely alive, present and expect nothing but love and err…bacon bites and oh yeah those cake scraps and ummm, okay the bones from the mutton biryani with some salt, please.

Just by simply being the way they are, they heal us in a way most humans cannot. Or so it has been with my life story.
















San Francisco is our second home and I love it for a zillion reasons but one among the top three is the joy of seeing puppies of all sizes and colours, sharing the city with humans of all sizes and colours. The city has no dearth of dog parks and beaches, but this one, the Bernal hill, situated beautifully in the Bernal Heights district, just screams “hey, where’s your dog?” at everyone who visits and so need I say more about why it is my favourite ? :) And oh, indulge me here but did y’all know that in SF poochies outnumber kids ?


The Texture of Words

Besides being my time travel companions, the gracefully ageing books that occupy a little wall in my studio, with their dusty labyrinths of words and secret notes pressed between their pages, often have me wondering if they hide more than they reveal. Perhaps best cherished the way they are, but in some strange way, a channel of communication seems to open up when I marry their pages to photographs, which I like to do by way of image transfers. A simple, gentle process of scratching and peeling at the brittle fibres yields itself to pathways of hidden landscapes and fragments of my own ghosts that have slipped through my fingers. The tactile alchemy of all the unconnectedness merging together to unravel stories within the stories, poems within the poems, and thoughts within the thoughts hints at the likes of magic mazes in secret gardens and back alleys of time tainted surfaces waiting to be unearthed, or just be lost in.
















See the whole series here  and learn more about this beautiful yet simple process from my friend and teacher courtney cerruti, the maker extraordinaire ! :)


I was in the UK for a week in the May of last year, visiting friends and taking in some moments that only traveling solo can afford. I got off in London from San Fransisco and made my way to Glasgow in Scotland by train. I was meeting my dear friend Ayush after 12 years. We knew each other as teenagers, young adults after which our life paths took us in different directions and to different places. We stayed close, but hadn’t met after 2003.

_DSF1046When I got off at the Glasgow City Central, I was cold and scrambling about sleepily with stupidly heavy bags stuffed with stuff I was lugging from the US (despite having been repeatedly warned about the hazards involved by the husband in SF) So much for being a seasoned traveler. The woeful self loathing broke when I heard my name being called out in a very familiar voice, in the distinct way that could only be one person. Words cannot describe the joys of reuniting with a close friend after so long. Ash and his sweet partner J helped me into the car along with my dead man (as Ash called my luggage) and I was excited to the point of bursting. How truly precious it is was to be there, and all of this actually happening. Me in Glasgow, meeting my friend after eons ! I liked the city already, as we drove along the cobblestoned alleys in the cold, sleety rain.  Coming home to Ash & J’s gorgeous hi rise flat overlooking the River Clyde was icing on the cake.

uk3After dinner and having me all warm and cozied up, Ash and I sat down to a late night catch up over his signature masala chai, cookies, chocolate, life stories and lots of juicy gossip. At some point I passed out and apparently woke up only 12 hours later. I guess I “Slept it all off”  My dead man almost broke me, you see.

uk12ash homeI woke up to a breakfast of homecooked aloo parathas, sausages, eggs, beans and yes a taste of Haggis was involved ! I don’t think I had the palate to appreciate the quintessential Scots meat delicacy. Could be because I don’t especially like offal. But oh, waking up to a big hot breakfast on a cold, wet day over stories from growing up. Delish. So, after talking nonstop for some hours, we finally made our way out the door upon my friend’s insistence that I see something of his adoptive city. A bright lipstick, umbrellas, hats and out the door we were.

uk1I love cold rainy days as much as sunshine-y ones. I have rediscovered my love of the colour grey and admire the generous neutrality with which it’s various tones extend a backdrop to almost anything. Set against Greys, these old structures of this old world city felt precious and mysterious. We walked through the streets of Glasgow, me an inquistive traveler and Ash my cute, suauve tour guide. We talked in the rain on our way to the Glasgow Uni, a place so splendid with it’s ancient with walls and pillars that I swear, were whispering things. The Kelvingrove art museum that I wanted to visit was closed that day, so we just walked on languidly (just the way I like to absorb a city), to the downtown for some old fashioned tea and Scottish cream cakes at the quaint Patisserie Valerie, though I chose and did rather well with my Espresso shots.

ashuk2UntitledLater came alley walks, some unnecessary-but-fun shopping and at some point, Ash insisted that we go get some Scots style chips with curry sauce (yip yip!) at one of his preferred haunts that was situated happily across the art museum. Vinegar, salt, potato wedges skin on and curry spice, deep fried to perfection. Given my weakness for all of those things, I simply surrendered and for once that day, I had stopped talking. In retrospect, I’m surprised at how chatty I was during those days given that I prefer to be otherwise most of the time. The truth is, as I told him, few people know how to extend a side of themselves unflinchingly, and that makes us have so much to share with them. Besides being great friends, of course. We devoured all that salty comfort watching the Kelvingrove museum by dusk and the streaks of light peeking through the clouds. Passers by, traffic et al.

uk5uk4Once home, the three of us celebrated over a pop of bubbles before heading over to dinner at Jamie’s back in the city center. I was in the mood for fresh pasta and was certainly not disappointed with my linguine with locally sourced truffles. We stopped at the pretty, cobblestoned Ashton lane for a quick drink before I gave into yet another weird call of heady sleep. I mean really ? I had only two and a half days in this charming city with my lovely friends and all I seemed to be doing other than talking was sleeping and sleep, my friends, is not my friend. The boys had a lovely itinerary planned for me the next day, consisting of a picnic, a lake and a quaint village pub with a possible stop at the magnificent Linlithglow castle, which I wanted to see very much, given my love of medieval history. Alas, all I did was sleep like I was rescued from a disaster. It was too late to leave when I woke up (my poor Ash decided it was best to wake the houseguest) since the rains had taken over the skies. I assured him that I was most happy was just being there in his company and talking until his ears hurt. And so we did just that before heading off to a sublime French dinner at La Vallee Blanche and more conversations. We walked all the way through the city and the Uni and finally stopped a while to watch the full moon from the steps of Uni’s Chapel, laughed a lot before finally making our way back.

The next morning, Ash & J drove me to the station for my train to London. Parting not knowing when we’ll meet again was hard and bittersweet. Plus I don’t like good byes, so I simply let the happy wanderer inside take over.

Before going over into the London manner of things, here’s a little secret. Ash is an insanely talented fashion designer who makes stunning saris, lehengas and the like. I am a proud owner of two of his creations. See his work here and do indulge ! I have seen him grow as a designer the past few years and am incredibly proud of him.

The journey to London was meditative. I wrote in my journal, structured my thoughts, and felt so blessed for those days, the people, those moments, for all that was in front of me. At the station in London, waiting for me was my good friend Olaf, all smiles and waving away. I know Olaf through photography workshops I had done in the US and we had become good friends over the years, and along with another friend, we even share a wonderful ongoing experimental project between us.


uk9 copyIt felt good to be in London after many years. My last visit was in 2007 when I was there to see my little sister who was studying there at the time. Unlike the last trip, my time was limited to about 2 days this time, but I was in no mood for planning and instead chose to do my favourite lazy (good) thing and go with the flow. I was going to simply follow in Olaf’s footsteps and take up on the luxury of savouring all the little details, sounds and colours everything around me. I was enjoying Olaf’s company, and just being there, so it was perfect.

We walked about the city through brick laned back alleys, along the Thames, catching up on life stories, perspectives and our great mutual passion, photography. Olaf is an ace Leica photographer, a prolific writer and the co-founder of The Leica Meet. Most photographs of London in this post, save the iphone selfie, were captured on Olaf’s gorgeous Leica M9, which he let me play with through my stay. Needless to say, I enjoyed every bit of my playtime. I have a thing for rangefinders and dream of owning a Leica someday. For the moment though, my little pet and hybrid Fuji FX 100S will have to suffice :)

leicauk10It was a glorious day to be out and about in London, with blue skies and puffy clouds setting a happy stage for all life around a whimsical London eye. The Tate was at an easy proximity and hard to resist. We popped by for some good karma and artsy goodness.

uk9uk11uk8Just how can a city be so charming and so vibrant ? the ancient-ness and the cosmopolitan soul so passionately tied together and cohabiting like lovers with lots of stories to tell and well lived lives. The energy, the art *every*where* There can’t be a better way to feel a place like London other than by foot. We walked past lots of little boutiques, quaint shops and Olaf was thinking if should perhaps go over to Camden place and do a photowalk there, by which time we were in Mayfair where the flagship Leica store is located. I was a kid in a precious candy store all of a sudden and time flew by. Thanks to Olaf, the wonderful staff let me play a bit with the latest jewel, the Leica M. I won’t go into the details, but naturally, a girl was smitten and the electronic viewfinder is something else. It was almost evening and felt like rain, so we called it a day. I spent the rest of the evening writing, and watching the rain fall on a typical English spring’s day over some wine and warmth.


uk13The next day, was spent quietly and blissfully at Olaf and his lovely wife M’s sanctuary of a home in Surrey. Set amidst the most verdant english lushness, greens, pastels and beautiful gardens, it is a retreat. We spoke endlessly about our projects, books and watched little foxes and their pups come in from the woods and play about the garden overlooking Olaf’s studio. Such a treat that I was too engrossed to any some pictures. That’s what happens when something with four legs, bright eyes and a bushy tail pops up in front me. I forget all else :) Olaf took me out into the village for some tea, sandwiches and scones with fresh fruit preserves and clotted cream. And that’s how perfectly my sweet little English sojourn ended.

My heart was full and ready to take all of this bounty and inspiration back home to my loves – my puppies, my work and my main man who would be coming home to us soon after. Little did I know how much all of this goodness would add up to helping me get through some difficult months that lay ahead . That’s what travel is supposed to do, no ? Be the therapy that seeps deep into you and works it’s magic subconsciously when and where it’s wisdom is needed.

uk5 copyL9991543


Rhythm, Routine, Renewal


Rhythm is everywhere. The primordial inner flow that tunes us in with awareness. It’s been on my mind because over the last few weeks, there has been a touch more conscious effort on my part to observe the ebbs and flows, the status quos, the peace, the turmoil etc etc. Two things struck me most – one, how it is tied in with our response to change; Two, the duality – how strong and fragile it is at the same time. 2015, I hope, will be a year where I learn to stay tuned in, more than ever before. Keep the rhythm, follow it, let it follow, and flow gracefully, for rhythm is grace. I wish the same for you all too.

Above and below are all photographs from my instagram feed from 2014. It was one of the most grounding years of my life and I’m thankful for that.

jan 15-2

Reflecting back, I see a time that was full of so much rhythm even through the troughs, except that I chose not to observe enough to stay tuned. It was a year where I discovered routine is actually a beautiful thing contrary to what I thought I believed. A routine filled with rituals around work, nourishment and home bring rhythm to life better than anything else can. I’m sure of that. It’s one thing that can help us stay grounded and stay in a constant state of grace.

jan 15-1

2015 has started on positive notes. The year end excesses have only aided the renewal process, I think. Like a harsh deep cleanse sort of a thing. Not that one would want to opt for such a manner of things, but then that’s what holidays do. And then we simply have to get on, find that rhythm back and deepen those ties a lit bit more. No ?


All the photographs above were captured on the iphone using VSCO cam and Afterlight apps. Together with Typic, they make for my go to creative iphone trio.

I will be back very shortly with a looooonnng pending post on travels in the UK. Happy 2015 !


My life’s journey over the last three or four months was inward bound and so, most words from the time went into the black moleskin that held my hands through some sad, dark days. I haven’t had the courage to write or do much in the manner of sharing since the loss of my boy Yogi, and since his illness for that matter. Death and illness of a dear one sap energy in a way that is very depleting at a physical level even though acceptance does come in emotionally. I miss him so, so much that, on the other hand, I wonder what it means really, this emotional acceptance. It’s a funny thing, and I want to share that whole process here when I am ready to. So while I still cannot articulate his loss, just as yet at least, I have been getting myself together – getting back to my routine and perusing the beloved projects that I had left to  marinate in the subconscious. The thing about losing continuity in the arts is that it is hard to get back to that precious creative flow. The confusion, the anxiety of picking up threads and so on. A bit more pronounced in my case given my predisposition to long-ish, dark-ish cycles of depression. I am glad for this spell of the wonderful north east monsoon, for the tropical rains always, always lift my spirits as do clouds and grey skies.

For now, here I am breaking a silence, and here I am at ambivalent crossroads of the creative life yet again. But these windows before me promise the most beautiful possibilities, new leaves and the sparkle of spring in my steps.





Monsoon Soaking


Ah, monsoon. It is the one season that enthralls my senses like no other. I’m not sure it’s what I’d want all year long, but I like to romanticize the notion of a never-ending  tropical monsoon. I have always been a cloudy day/cold weather kinda gal and with the last couple of months being largely greyish and breezy – and continuing that way – my energy levels are brimming with positivity for the most part. A good thing considering so many varied situations needed my attention.


Much has settled and I’m back to being my restless self. As of last week, to be precise :)  But the clouds in the skies always energize me and help me stay calm. And I’m trying to center myself so I can focus on an independent project that I’m working on. Somehow this is always the case. The never-ending circle. This is the part that I struggle with a lot and it’s reading that often comes to my rescue. As does a trip to the mountains.



Hope you are all having an equally mindful, lovely monsoon.


A few months ago, I had the opportunity to speak at an arts festival. The theme was about “Transforming the Image”  and I had divided my talk/presentation into 4 parts. One of them concerned the act of seeing and what we believe to be real in the photographic context. Thinking out loud on some (still abstract) thoughts drawn from there…

Being in photography and having photography become a part of me has been both my blessing and burdenI have a love-hate relationship with my art and a turbulent one at that. I say love-hate because it follows me like a moody shadow with a life of it’s own, and so, my visual psyche or the shadow, and fragments of it permeate anything and everything I see, touch, and think or dream about. My mind is bursting with visual data, originating from inside, or being assimilated from the outside. We are all subject to so much visual input at  such an appalling rate that we seem to have created for ourselves a strange sense of reality. Or even the concept of it. We believe what we want to believe as mankind always has and always will – a system that is characterized by the hierarchy of needs on a strongly cultural canvas. It is ever changing,ever evolving, individually and collectively shaped and no one person can assume to draw out truth. We can only learn as a collective, drawing from the myriad perspectives and prisms with an open mind, for what is real is not the finding but the process, the fight and attempts at honest representations, an acute awareness of all these.

cosmic vapours II twilight, from the series vajra

vajra-3shakti, from the series vajra

Why am I even pondering on this ? Because, we believe that  photographs have a more direct relation to the “real”in a purely physical sense, so our default setting in relation to them is physical credulity, as if it were the defining virtue. And the lack thereof leads to a general non acceptance. That leans towards dogma and that, I find troubling. We tend to hold on to the physical, for we all like holding on to something tactile with touch and feel. Something that assuredly dances to a ticking clock rather than something that is suspended in time and space, which really is the truth as we don’t know it. Ironically we forget that this also what images do. Images of all kinds. A part of my photographic work comprises of montage and experimental work – all of this is drawn from my real, but I have and continue to receive disguised criticism with undercurrents of negativity, which is far from being constructive. It used to trouble me before. But then evoloution has a way with us. We grow up and our prisms become more inclusive. Pondering over this fragile, fleeting subject for years has strengthened my belief in the vastness of the subtle fields of realities that exist amongst us. I cannot overstate the “real”ness of those spaces and the expressions drawn from there, as my work does. A montage is therefore as real as reportage, just, in a different way. Both, seen and internalized. I like my work to be directed towards the psychological and spiritual consciousness and not just the  perceptive consciousness of seeing with the eyes.   So what are we expecting of photography when we say it’s role is to record life “as it is”  “in a real way” and so on ? If it was a mere note taking device to document evolution of the modern era, it’s rewards and wounds, why even make it to out be an art form ? I suppose all of us know, one way or the other, all visual information is transformed by way of biological seeing, and then by way of process of rendering or the medium.. Photography for that matter is much more about elimination than inclusion. We exclude ninety percent to include a particularly decisive ten percent of that which comes into our field of view. Before even the lens comes on to the camera, the perspective has been formed. The rest, as they say, is history.  Ironically, this very limitation holds the key to photography’s magic and in an odd way, it is one that tells the truth about us.

SOL1-2012-8 reach, from the series a timeless solitude

How we choose to render is a different battle in itself and not one of the essence or the thought process itself. Separating these has helped and continues to do so. Surely it is an integral choice that can be additive or subtractive, shortsighted or long winded. A path of impatience or adventure. It can make the essence come alive or destroy  it. Like the creativity that births a project, the path should also be one that nurtures it in a wholesome way. All that is needed is some introspection, a clear map, and some time tested wisdom.



  “By daily dying, I have come to be.”

~ Theodore Roethke

VBT Motif (23 of 43)

I’ve been thinking about sharing some outtakes and actual shots from some of my commissioned work on the blog. About time. The image above is an outtake from a series done in Sri lanka for a client in hospitality. Photographed at Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara. A stunning Buddhist temple which is a part of a 1000 + year old monastic complex near Bentota.

On a different note –

I usually share images and notes that resonate at a particular time and with no particular reason. There is a method to this randomness, which might just be a simple feeling, a pull, an instinct. This monk and this frame have stayed with me the last few day, as I spend a few quiet weeks far from where this photograph was taken. There are always messages to these things and I do my best to read them. And sometimes share them.

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