Burglars rant

knock knock, knock knock

all dead asleep

or no one’s home

a pin, click click click clock

doors open

and shut quietly

a quick once over

tv, camera, xbox

laptop, tablet , half a stiff pizza, some cigarettes,

a bit of jewellery

some nice lingerie too but pity that won’t fetch

a nice umbrella a belt a watch

possibly some loose cash

a goodnight’s haul

now for home, but sudden need for a smoke

sat on the bed, sparked her up

nice coupla satisfying drags before the

smoke alarm started wailing, I was like wtf.

anyway

sonofabitch gave me 5 without parole

food is shit and so’s the company

3 done 2 to go

– raghu

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a shower, suddenly

It made people put out their hands
It made people look up
It made people run
It made people stop
It made people shout
It made people quiet
It made people talk
It made people smile
It made people go in
It made people come out
It made people breathe
It made people sigh
it made people remember
and then  it was gone.

                                         – raghu

cyclo-style

crisp, fresh, empty days

all stacked up,

i take one out each morning

and wonder what to do with it

read, write, wash, commute, dream

message, eat, think, run, wait, shoot

talk, piss, work, crib, worry, sweat

laugh, fake laugh, frown, buy, pray, sing

love, shout, diss, play, drool, faff, want

drink, puke, lose, walk, worry, see

regret, mail, hope, feel, smile, yawn

whistle, scribble, blah, blah, blah

it gets packed by night

all ready to go.

 

now I wonder where it went.

all those damn days

                                                  – raghu

At the Art of the festival

Autumn arrives in its own special way, leaves that held fast onto the branches finally let go, only to be swished away by the wind . The sun starts getting lazy, rising late and calling it a day by mid evening. The nip in the air getting more prominent as the days go by. For me as well as the whole of Kolkata , autumn also brings with it  the whiff of incense and the golden glow of light bulbs decorating  the streets of the city. It’s the time when Durga comes visiting her maternal home with her daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati and her sons Ganesha and Karthik after killing the demon Mahishasura. It is  the celebration of the age-old triumph of good over evil. For the people of Bengal, Durga  is more than a Goddess,she is the  mother most affectionately called “Maa”.The most awaited festival of the city, and Kolkata leaves  no stone unturned  to please their beloved mother. The preparations begin from early July and slowly as the days become shorter the Pandals get ready to house the Goddess.The people making sure that they go to see their “Maa” wearing clothes specially bought for the Pujas. Cameras fly off the shelves as everybody gets ready to capture the festive spirit. The Goddess herself  transforms from a model of  hay and clay to her divine feminine form.

Its on the  four main days of festivity that the city becomes a big fair ground where art, talent and beauty are found  in abundance and every soul is one with the Puja spirit. With the traditional Puja Pandals and idols giving way to new ideas, the themes and layouts go from beautiful to bizarre. Its a tough competition, with each committee vying for the crowds.The festival changes the city into a world of surrealism, something that makes everyone an Alice in wonderland.You see a T-Rex here,a  Buddha temple there, a weaver bird’s nest a few feet away. The city never fails to surprise you and you keep wondering how these themes were thought of, processed and brought to life.

It is a Festival like no other ,where art is worshipped and object of worship is art in itself.


 



Shweta 🙂

Constant Change

“Weekdays revolved on a sameness wheel. They turned into themselves so steadily and inevitably that each seemed to be the original of yesterday’s rough draft” – Maya Angelou .There is no better way i could describe how most of my days went by. Waking up at the same time, sitting the same classes, and doing the same things at home. i so wanted some change and by the end of the week i had my pocket full.

If one is what one eats then i’d surely be an oil tanker. The sweltering heat and my diet of all things fried brought in change in the form of a mini rebellion in my stomach. The days of decadence had to end, my stomach made it clear that it had the Fundamental Right to be treated with respect .The revolt came in the form of cramps and the utter feeling of nausea which made sure i repented my sinful diet. Having tasted the frying pan and the fire i decided to keep it cool for a bit. Three days after my come back i’m pretty happy with my “all things sweet diet”.

“All you need is love” sang the Beatles but my tune went “All you need is an android phone”. When i got it, i realised it was worth the wait .The next two days it seemed the earth would stop spinning if i let go of my new phone. With a whole range of Apps to download i was like a kid in a candy shop, downloading apps like a maniac, getting a dozen games and trying them all out. i even tried to Google map my way home. i’d always wanted an e-book reader, and was overjoyed to have it in the phone. i downloaded a couple of books and tried to struggle through them. It was a huge effort and i really did not enjoy it. Old fashioned i maybe, but reading a book is not a treat for the eye alone. The smell of the pages, each different from the other, each having a unique smell depending on the paper, the bookstore and also the place where it was kept. Sometimes the smell is also a memory stamp of what you munched on while reading, i often smell  bits of chocolate or biscuit that hide in the folds of the pages. Secondly the feel of the paper, the new ones sharp at the edges , the old ones a bit limp and dog eared. Lastly the sound the pages make when you turn them, this too depending on the newness of the book. Having downloaded a few titles in eBooks i trashed  them all and turned to my paperbacks with good ol’ Jeeves. The surging sea of aunts, butlers and pigs ( in no particular order ) kept me in high spirits.

Sadly college life was still in a rut, it was as if all the teachers had conspired to bore us with lectures on the greyest topics, each class being one-up on the other in boredom quotient. After being pulled up for fiddling with my phone i decided to slip into lie-low mode. To keep my superactive self occupied i began doodling randomly. With plenty of lectures to sit through, i had enough time to hone my artistic skills. i realised that i was not as artistically impaired as i thought, for once my stick figures didn’t look like sorry lines. i’d discovered a practical way to develop my artistic aspirations. The teachers thought i was diligently taking notes, whilst the class was mostly getting some shut eye or twittering away. For a change i was doing neither. i doodled away with the new found hopes of making inroads into the exciting world of cartoons. Suddenly the classes didn’t seem so monotonous any more.

In the days that followed my friends saw me coming to class with a spring in my step and a tune on my lips

‘wassup?’ they asked

‘oh, just change’ I grinned 😉

Shweta

Bombay on a 50mm

Talking about things overdue, i could not remember having been to marine drive in a long, long time. And with my friend Menosau (pronounced men-oh-saa) over from Nagaland it’d be now  or “…tomorrow…most definitely..i suwwwea…” Menosau was made of sterner stuff  “….Dont talk tommyrot – lets move it before I lose it” she rapped. Now, Nagas as you know are not a people to be trifled with, you could lose your hair and the scalp along with it.  so giving in at this point was to my advantage and being a good loser (having had countless opportunities at this) i graciously bowed to the popular wisdom of ‘doing it now, when you could just as bloody well do it tomorrow’ and prepared to set sail.

I grabbed a bag, took menosau’s camera (a 5dmkII), threw on the 50mm f1.4 that i wanted to put through some street photography, and we were off.

I shot some pictures on the train to town but it was out on the road at marine drive that I could see the 50mm come into its own. It’s not for nothing that people love this little gem of a lens. The form factor is fabulous and it was a joy to hold and shoot with. The light of the sun was particularly beautiful that evening and i silently thanked menosau for getting me there. Walking along the breezy promenade, i found the 50mm sharp and decently fast. Wide open at f1.4, it was tough to manage razor focus for street work but at around f2 and above the lens was super sweet.

For a dekko at more of my work, go here – raghu on tumblr

– raghu

The Sweet Escape

                      Chocolate mousse has been an all time favourite of mine. I’d never found the courage to make it till i came across this recipe my mother had jotted down on the last pages of my high school history note book (wish i had read history earlier, i’d have made some mousse in the bargain). Guess there is always a right time for everything and that moment came three days ago.

Unlike the traditional chocolate mousse, this one is vegetarian and pretty easy to make. Yet there is no compromise on the taste and texture of the original Mousse au Chocolat.

Chocolate Mousse ingredients (serves 3):

 1 –  50 ml of fresh cream

2 – 150 ml of fresh cream (for whipping) or ready made whipped cream

3 – 125 gms of dark or milk cooking chocolate (grated or cut into small pieces)

Making the Ganache – Heat the fresh cream (50 ml) on a double boiler and slowly add the chocolate while stirring with a spoon. It’s important to note that the cream should be heated just enough to melt the chocolate. In a few minutes the chocolate and cream mixture transforms into a smooth and glossy Ganache. Once this is done remove from flame and keep aside to cool. If you don’t have ready-made whipped cream you can whip the cream yourself with an eggbeater or a whisk. Place the bowl of fresh cream in an ice bath while whipping. Cream, kept at a lower temperature, takes less time to get whipped into soft peaks – ergo the ice bath.Worried about calories? whisking the cream manually will help burn some, before the binge. Once the cream is thick enough and forms soft peaks, gently fold it into the Ganache.

Mum’s tip: “If you are folding in a clockwise direction, stick to it.

When the cream and Ganache are combined well, transfer it into short glasses (like i did) or ramekins. Cover with cling film and set to cool in the fridge for about three hours. Its best not to play peek a boo and keep opening the fridge, let the mousse rest in peace. After three hours your chocolate mousse should be ready. For garnish add grated chocolate,  a sprig of mint or a couple of fresh coffee beans.

Connoisseur’s words of wisdom:

The decadent way to dig into the chocolate mousse would be with the smallest spoon you have. Take small spoonfuls so that the mousse can be enjoyed for that much longer. Feel the dense creamy mass of bliss coat your lips, tongue, and palate – only to melt away leaving its faint reminisces.

Shweta 🙂