Friday, December 24, 2010

S is for ...

..... Simple, Sincere, Silent or maybe just Spring Street ... which is where I took this picture. I leave tomorrow for India - I am going to my original home but I feel a weird sadness leaving my current one. I think all of us who have lived in more than one continent feels a certain tension between where we lived our initial years and where we are now - growing up as adults.
2010 has been a wonderful year and I hope next year I post more on this blog than I did this year. Merry Christmas and Happy new year to all who may chance upon my post.
   

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Red Chili’s and Non-Writing

A chili can be so deceptive. Some are small and cute but when you take a bite it sends your taste buds into a tizzy. In the spirit of not being deceptive then; I really like this picture but have no idea what words go along with it. My first thought was talking about the Chili as an object; but that is boring – what else could I write about that is not so obvious. I would like to be thought provoking with my text; how does one do that when writing about a vegetable? Hold on – just looked it up on Wikipedia, the Chili Pepper is a fruit not a vegetable. Good thing for the internet it has helped me look intelligent (not stupid) many times. What if I wrote about the color RED. I like shots that are bold, this one has a bold red that contrasts well against the dull bark of the tree. Again - I am taking the path of least resistance and writing about the colors in the photograph. I blame my lethargy to write on the Thanksgiving meal that was. So I guess you are going to have to enjoy the picture and get a little insight into the thought process of my non-writing writing.   
Chilli

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Smoking

Smoking
Over 1.1 Billion people smoke in this world. That is one in three people -> WOW ! Every third person who reads this blog is a smoker. People get into this bad habit because of image, peer pressure or just wanting to prove something at an impressionable age. I feel bad for those who can't stop; but if you really want to do something and you put your mind to it - you can. Most people wait till they have a heart attack or cancer to stop. Tobacco is responsible for one in ten adult deaths. The reason why smokers don't take these facts so seriously is because they believe that it could never happen to them. the danger from smoking is not in your face; It happens over time.
I took this picture outside the Waldorf Astoria in New York. I was quite excited after I took the shot because I got him exactly at the moment he was blowing smoke out. Then I wondered - Why did he start to smoke ? Does he want to quit ? Will he die because of Cancer ? Is he dying of Cancer ?
I have been surrounded by many smokers near and dear to me and I have tried my best to get them to stop. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not - but I keep trying anyway. So this picture & post is for all you smokers - Stop already !     

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Autumn Leaves

The autumn leaves
Drift by the window
The autumn leaves
Of red and gold
I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra thanks to my father who is a Frank Sinatra fanatic. As a kid I would  wonder what Autumn leaves were; I remember thinking maybe it is tree that has red and gold leaves ! This song fits so perfectly with the season. Hope you are enjoying what is left of Fall this year.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Balance

I was in Los Angeles a few weeks back. I captured some pictures of the sprawling city, metal buildings & peeping sky and some of the beautiful blue ocean, birds flying and the setting sun. Everything has 2 sides; they are not necessarily good or bad – just different. While we yearn for the hustle and bustle that the city brings, we still love the peace and calm of the ocean. Peace and calm gets boring very soon. We get restless and wish for the craziness again. One needs a little bit of everything in their lives – laughter, tears, anger, love, joys and sorrows. It is balance that makes life interesting at the end. In order to achieve balance one must experience the highs and lows, the ups and downs – as I write this I feel that it is counter-intuitive. How can balance be about swings? But, I guess it is; because life cannot be perfectly balanced all the time – it just has to be perfectly balanced over time.    
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Late Night Mexican Style

Last week Mexico celebrated 200 years of independence. I happened to stumble on these celebrations in various spots all over the city. First stop was La Bibliotheca – tucked away in the basement on 3rd Avenue & 40th street. This place feels like a library where the books are replaced by bottles of tequila. It is a cozy spot that will be great during the cold winter months when a swig of Anejo Tequila is just the thing you need. Mayahuel is the goddess of tequila; in New York it also is a great spot found on 6th street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. I tried a few cocktails at this establishment; Some were delicate and subtle while others are boisterous and fun – something for whatever mood you're in. The Third spot I visited was Casa Mezcal. Mezcal is a distant, less refined cousin of tequila and is gaining momentum in the Mixology world these days. Here the Mexican fiesta was on in full form as we were very close to midnight. The upstairs is amazing – I fell in love with the big open widows and the beautiful coffee table surrounded by low comfy couches! Last but not least we stopped by PDT (a.k.a. Please Don’t Tell) – this establishment had nothing to do with Mexico but is a great speakeasy spot where you enter through a phone booth and they serve the most gluttonous food - Fried hot-dogs with Kimchi are one of the delicacies there. All in all a lovely night of great food, yummy drinks and a lot of fiesta fun!
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Tennis

I was a little girl looking at a big poster of Bj√∂rn Borg on my neighbors wall. That was my first introduction to Tennis. From there I progressed onto the steel prowess of Ivan Lendl and the anger of John McEnroe. I remember pining for the ‘cute as a button’ Stephan Edberg during my teen years, and who can forget Pete Sampras’ hanging tongue. Then there were the Agassi years - I recently read his book “Open” which took me back to the days when I used to stay up late at night watching the US Open in India - he was such a rebel one couldn't help but love him! After Agassi I sort of lost track of tennis; I think it was because I lived in places where it was not front and center and I did not seek it out. I moved to NYC in 2004 and ever since then I have been fortunate enough to go to the Open every year. There really is something special about Tennis at Arthur Ashe Stadium. It happens during the time of year when summer is just about turning into fall, there is a cool breeze blowing; the lights come on and there is an energy that cannot be put into words. Everyone gasps and cheers together at the hits and misses. As the game of tennis has progressed -> with fitter players, faster games, better rackets and bigger sponsors. I too have progressed from a girl infatuated with the game to a woman who enjoys the sport and maybe still is a little infatuated. Click here for some shots from the 2010 US Open.   
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rainy Sundays

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Some Sundays I love that it rains. It forces me to stay home and relax. I am not very good at down time unless I am forced to take some – which means, either I have to fall sick or go on a beach vacation. I wonder if this is true of all New Yorkers – the constant need to live life to its fullest. You don’t really have to try that hard since you live in a city that thrives on constant “doing”.

Today I decided to indulge in cooking breakfast fit for a King (and Queen). I whipped up 2 types of whole-wheat (healthy) pancakes. One with berries & nutmeg and the other with Mango & Pistachio’s. The pancakes were drizzled with Adirondack Pure Maple Syrup that had been sitting in my fridge forever! The egg cooked over-easy was the perfect accompaniment to balance out the sweetness of the pancakes. To wash it down we had some mimosas. Great rainy Sunday morning – now for some quality time with my book as Monday looms over my head.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

August is for Open Roads

I was very excited when I discovered that this Saturday was the first of three Summer Streets 2010 days. I was up at 7:30 am to attack Park Avenue with my bike. It was a fun ride and I even got to check out the pool on 40th & Park. Some things to note if you are planning to avail of this wonderful open street opportunity. If you are on a bike don't expect a rigorous 7 mile ride. There are many stops and a lot of people; so tread carefully. I used to be part of Team in Training and now after my Triathlon is over I understand how this group can just take over the road; and how annoying this is for other people they share the street with - but its for a good cause so GO TEAM ! Other cool things - there is valet  parking (ha ha) for your bike on 40th and Park. You can rent bikes for free on various spots along the way; also on the house is free NYC water, bike tune ups and cool Reebok swag. The Pool - another aspect I was thrilled about is actually just a PR tool. There were more camera's and by-standers than people actually in the pool. The unique thing about this is the fact that you are swimming (almost) under Grand Central Terminal. All in all a very cool thing to do in NYC for the next three Saturdays. So I definitely recommend that you check it out. Along the way I stopped to click a few shots.   
Swimming Under Grand CentralPure Water
ConcreteStop

Friday, August 6, 2010

New Orleans: A Little Nibble

I was in New Orleans this July for Tales of the Cocktails. It is always difficult to fit photography into a work-trip; but this was my first time in New Orleans and I wanted to at the very least explore the French Quarter. I got just a little flavor of the food, drink and the people. I can't help but want to go back for a real taste of this great city that has been through so much.  Below are some pictures that I captured. Click here for the full set.   
A quiet CafeMusic 
Knock Knock

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Peru Diaries 5 - Cuzco Chilling & Floating Fun

 After our hike and Machu Picchu we needed a day to just chill. We did this in Cuzco with no real agenda in mind. Meandering around town we discovered the local San Pedro market. This market had entire sections designated to just flowers or just meats or cheese or corn. I have never seen so many varieties of things in one place. After the market we moseyed on to an area called San Blas. This is a part of Cuzco that is very quaint with winding streets, art stores and lovely cafe's; we spent 2 hours at Jack's cafe where we had the most amazing coffee and food. I highly recomend you take a day to just relax in Cuzco you won't regret it !
The next stop on our trip was Puno. The town is very shabby but we were visiting the nearby Floating Islands which are a treat. We spent a day on the island of Uros and then visited Tequile Island. The Floating islands are man made; woven together with mud and reeds that grow in the shallow lakes. Walking on these islands feels like your walking on sponge. The local people are friendly and were very gracious. We ate a most scrumptious lunch of fresh trout, potato and rice. We had a spectacular view of blue skies and sea. The Floating islands were our last stop and it was time to head back to New York. One thing I am sure of - we are definitely going back to Peru; feels like we just scratched the surface of this beautiful country.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Peru Diaries 4 - The Old Mountain a.k.a. Machu Picchu

Aguas Caliente is a town that was built to accommodate tourists who visit Machu Picchu. We got there by 7 pm the day before our awaited visit to the "Old Mountain". On arrival, we wandered to a bar for a much needed beer. As we were sitting enjoying our beverage we heard a song by Nazia Hassan being played "Aap Jaise Koi mere zindagi mein aye  - toh baat ban jaye". In the foothills of Machu Pichu we hear music by a Pakistani singer that was popular in the late 70's - how bizarre is that ! Our wake-up call was at 4 am the next morning and an hour later we were put on a bus and off we went to Machu Picchu. We hiked up to the Guardhouse - from this spot you can see all of the city. We were the first ones there; but it started raining heavily and all we could see were clouds. There was much disspointment - but as they say good things come to those who wait; and slowly but surely the clouds cleared and we saw the Magnificence that is Machu Picchu. Ruben (our guide) gave us a great tour - I am not going to go into the details of each spot that we saw but it truly is a wonder of the world and it took our breath away. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Peru Diaries 3 - Hiking in the Andes

If you are visiting Peru you MUST hike the Andes. Yes it is tough and the altitude will get to you but it is all worth it. The food that you devour as you lick the last morsel off your plate, the scenery that you see on your way up the mountains and the locals you will mingle with; will all be worth it. It is a truly unique experience.
We were picked up by Ruben our tour guide at 5:30 am in the morning; along with him were 2 ever eager helpers - the porter and the cook with their horses. We trekked from 6 am till 7 pm that night. In those 13 hours we crossed 10 mountains, saw the most beautiful valley that was covered with purple flowers and tested our limits as far as altitude sickness goes; but it was all worth it.
It was just us, nature and of-course ever eager Ruben prodding us along when we felt we could not go any further. We camped in Huchuy Cuzco which was where the Inca's first settled. We slept like babies that night. The next morning we woke up to see the sun rising over the beautiful mountains - it was magnificent. We continued to a small town called Lamay from where we would make our way to Aguas Caliente - which is the town that rests in the foothills of Machu Pichu.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Peru Diaries 2 - Cusco & the Sacred Valley

Cusco is a beautiful city. It is small, quaint and has a lot of charm. The charm comes from the city and the people who live there. We arrived in the morning and made our way to Hotel Picoaga; which is an absolutely adorable spot. The first thing yu see when you get to Picoaga is the gorgeous stone courtyard and water fountain that just took our breath away. Our first day was spent pottering around the city and eating. We tried all kinds of things including Peru's delicacy Cuy. There are over 55 varieties of corn and 350 varieties of potatoes in Peru - both of which are included in almost every dish. In Cusco the highlight was the beautiful square and the narrow cobble stone streets that take you to all kinds of places. We loved the architecture of the monuments and spent the first day exploring the various churches and temples. On Day 2 we did a tour of the Sacred Valley. Pisac was our first stop. This is a small city where we saw our first Inca ruins. It was a  peek into things to come a few days later in Machu Pichu. Next stop was Ollantaytambo; residing in this town is an old Inca fort from where the views are spectacular. My favorite though was Chinchero. Here we explored a church that was built in 1607; the white washed structure against the lush green valley and brown stone walls looked magnificent. After Chinchero we headed back for a good nights rest. The next 2 days were going to be spent hiking in the Andes mountains. We had quite an adventure ahead of us.
Recommended Restaurants in Cusco: Paititi, Andes Grill and Jacks Cafe

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Peru Diaries 1 – Lost Luggage and Lovely Lima

Saturday morning April 24th, we were all set to make our way into Lima with a short stop in Atlanta – bags:check, passport:check, airplane ticket: check. En-route to Atlanta we hear “this is your captain speaking, I am sorry folks, but due to thunder storms in Atlanta and low fuel levels we will have to re-route to Charlotte”. Great will we or wont we make our connection to Lima? Well, 2 hours later we were running through Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport and have made our connection with 5 minutes to spare. Neither R nor I have ever run so fast! Of-course we made the flight, but 6 hours later, after staring at the conveyor belt for 30 minutes we realized that our bags did not – oh well. It would have to be sans bags in Lima on Day 1 of our trip. We had Raphael (old man full of advice for tourists) take us to Hotel Antigua Miraflores; which was the sweetest little place I have seen – it had beautiful art on all the walls and the most amazing coffee I have ever tasted. It was like a large bed and breakfast. After a good nights rest we set out to explore. I won’t bore you with all the details but just give the highlights. First stop El Centro; this is where all the monuments are. There was a vibrant parade in the main square (Plaza de Armas). We strolled about took a lot of pictures. The highlight for me were the Catacombs in the San Francisco Cathedral. It was eerie to walk underground and see human bones piled up from the 17th Century. In the afternoon we headed to Barranco and ate some amazing food. I cannot write enough about the food in Peru – It is Fantastic. The fish, the meat, the corn, the potatoes -  all of it is fresh and cooked with so much flavor. Barranco is an area in Lima that over-looks the sea – we whiled away our time enjoying Ceviche, Lomo Saltado and many Piscos. In the evening we chilled out in Miraflores where we bought a beautiful painting for our home and chatted with the locals. I had to stop R from eating street food that he was salivating over. Did not want a sick husband at the beginning of my trip. We got our bags at 4 am in the morning – and were all set to travel to our next destination Cuzco and the Sacred Valley ! Below are some pictures from Lima that you can peruse through.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pretty Flowers

Flowers are so pretty. Whenever I buy or get flowers it immediately brightens up my day; I love having flowers in my home. I don't like typical flowers like Roses and Carnations - I find them too predictable. I love Calla Lilies and find Tulips so simple and sweet.  I woke up this morning and saw these beautiful purple Tulips that R had placed on the window sill. It was a perfectly composed shot that I wanted to capture, but the light was too bright and the vibrancy of the flowers were not coming through. In the afternoon as we were leaving the house the sun began to shine perfectly on the bunch and I knew I had my shot !
Flowers on my Window

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pillow Fights and Easter Bunnies

I have not written in ages and feel very guilty for being so inconsistent with my postings! I took these pictures a long while back. It was a perfect Spring day probably because it felt more like summer and the weekend was full of festivities. I have always wanted to go to the Annual Pillow Fight. I have to say I was a little disappointed. I imagined beautiful feathers flying about while people tenderly hit each other with soft pillows. No tenderness was shown in this fight, it was each person for themselves. I was actually scared and took pictures from the periphery – not wanting to go anywhere near the action which looked very boisterous and intense. On that same weekend I happened to stroll down 5th Avenue and caught the end of the Easter parade. I love it when in New York you just chance upon things. It was lovely to see people dressed in their “Sunday Best” – I took some shots that captured the mood. Click here for more pictures from Spring.
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beautiful Winter

We have had two intense snow storms this month. During the first one I refused to leave the warmth of my cozy home; but then regretted that I did not get any pictures. When the second storm was to arrive I was determined to go out. R and I were up by 7 am most enthusiastic to go click some shots of the beautiful white powder like snow. We trekked to Central park – slipping , sliding and avoiding the puddles along the way. The park was magical – I have never seen it so serene, white and just beautiful. I felt like I was in a fairytale of some sort. There were quite a few people out and about. Some fanatics were even jogging in the park, but the ones that were having the most fun were the kids who were scurrying around finding the perfect hill to slide down. Below are some shots I took. Click here to see more, and if you want a peek into R's pictures - Click here.
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Friday, February 26, 2010

PRojEcT fifTY3

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I embarked on Project 53 a few weekends ago. Well, embarked is actually a wrong word to use since it signifies the start of a journey. My P53 journey lasted 45 minutes as I walked on 53rd street from 3rd Avenue to 9th Avenue. The task at hand was to stick to the right side of the street and capture whatever caught my fancy. The reason for this was that I was meeting some friends for brunch on 53rd and 9th and I was on 53rd and 3rd – simple enough. When one has camera in hand you see and notice so much more. The thing I like about photography is that you capture the picture from your perspective and no one else has that point of view. I have passed Lever House a million times but have never noticed the little Hello Kitty. I love the picture of the building with Mother Mary looking down – again would never have noticed it if I was not looking. Above I have posted a few from the set – you can click here to see more. hope you enjoy them.  

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Other Passions – Food & Cooking

I love food. I also love to cook. I think there is something very warm about cooking and its great when you can share your creations with friends and family. I made Kofta curry (minced meat ball curry) tonight and was lucky enough to share it with close friends. I decided to marry my two passions – cooking & photography and clicked a few shots – I hope you enjoy it !    
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Sunday, January 31, 2010

It’s the Small Things

I was in LA a few weekends ago all ready to hit a very fun party when I realized that I had forgotten the screw of my earring - Damn ! I ran from store to store to see if I can fix this problem. I was even ready to buy a new pair of earrings. Then from no where this guy helps me out. He gives me the back eraser of a pencil to use that holds the earring in place - Genius! It was perfect and I was ecstatic. He had no reason to help me, but he did. It is amazing how the small things that people do makes one happy. The smile from a stranger on the street, or the musician at the subway playing a familiar tune just when you have missed your train. Babies and flowers have the same effect – you can’t help but feel warm mushiness when you get a bouquet of flowers or hear a baby chuckle. I have posted a few pictures that have made me smile in the last few weeks.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bombay Meri Jaan

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Bombay – a city that is often compared to New York; it is looked upon as the nerve center of India. On one hand, you have the most mesmerizing structures that were built centuries ago, and on the other you have an urban jungle that is built on greed and chaos. My visit this winter was a whirlwind, but I did notice a few things that disappointed me – the dug up roads, the pollution, the poverty. All of these have always existed in Bombay, but the level to which it had escalated was terrifying. I wondered, how long can it take this kind of abuse? There is so much positive press about India – we are a country of a billion people, but it is these people that live in conditions that are un-acceptable and basic requirements like water, cleanliness & clean air to breath are difficult to come by. We have a lot of potential, but no infra-structure in place to take it to the next level. With greed and corruption all around how will Bombay / India succeed. I see a beautiful country with so much, and yet depleting itself bit by bit till nothing will be left. I hope we can change this course and give some respect to our city – Bombay !

Note: The pictures were actually taken as I was driving from Bombay to Pune and in Sinhagad Fort - but I felt they depicted a piece of life in India that we see in Bombay as well.