Christmas 2009 – A nice memory.

Hello Folks,

First of all…..

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas !!!!!

May God bring the joy and happiness in your life.

This Christmas is so special for me as I am in a place where this festival is very famous. Christmas tree, jingle bells, Santa clause, Snow fall, Lots of gifts and decorated houses are the symbols of Christmas time in US. I saw all these things in Hollywood movies (like Home alone) back in my childhood, but now I am watching them almost everyday. Everybody here decorates their houses in their own way during Christmas. Believe Me!!!! some of those decorations are great and you can not take your eyes off from them. Fortunately, In my place, I have seen quite many of them.

Snow on the road-side trees is a real token of Christmas beauty in US. I spent lot of time to capture that beauty with my Nikon D5000, but was just able to capture a part of it. However, this picture can not completely explain how beautiful are these trees (Especially the day after the snow fall). You really got to see that once in a life time.

Snow filled Christmas tree outside my apartment

To see the Christmas beauty, we decided to go to Newyork, which also clubbed with other plans like receiving a friend from Lagaurdia airport, visiting Flushing Ganesha, Sai Baba temple and watching AVATAR movie in IMAX 3D. It first started with a temple visit in Flushing. It is almost 6 months that I visited any temple. It is totally a different temple I have ever visited. We had a hard time in leaving the shoes outside the temple and walking in to the temple on the bare foot. Our foot were almost frozen by the time we entered the temple. We also visited Sai Baba temple which is no different than a house except that a house doesn’t have such a big idols of Baba. But then I thought, “Take it easy..This is how the temples in US will be.” 🙂 We also had nice breakfast in flushing temple.

We then went to IMAX 3D theater to watch AVATAR. I heard a lot about this movie and few of my friends are even watching for the second time. This movie is simply Unbelievable. Don’t let me speak more about this…. If you let me, I will keep on talking till you get bored. I will just say

The movie is awesome, and Its my very strong recommendation to watch this movie in IMAX 3D. Just Don’t Miss It.

Finally, as planned, We reached Newyork central park on Christmas night expecting lot of Christmas activity in it. But unfortunately, we didn’t find much. However, We started enjoying the decorated trees and other stuff there. We visited few decorated Christmas trees and public gatherings. We saw few santas driving a decorated Christmas car playing music and  distributing gifts to the public.

We then reached the very famous Time Square, which is one of those places that none of Indian movie directors miss if they happen to take a picture in newyork. This is place is simply dazzling with damn wide digital billboards playing something or other 24/7. With its lighting, time square on the 53rd street of 7th Ave can be easily visible from at least 20 streets on both the sides. I stood in the center of the time square, kept my eyes little above the straight line and slowly had a 360 degree turn to see the dazzling beauty of time square (Like I saw in some of the Indian movies). Its simply .. Wowwwwwwwwwww!!!! That gave a great toast to my eyes on that moment.

This Christmas was really joyful for me. To summarize,

Went to a temple after a long time….

Had a nice food there ……

Saw an american street that was just like an Indian street. Also saw a bill board on that street that reads “Pichayya and Co.”. 🙂 …..

Watched a great movie and enjoyed 500% of it….

Experienced underground Subway travel in NYC (which was in my Wishlist for a long time)….

Saw Time Square…..

Took some nice pictures with my NIKON D5000…..

Last but not least…. Saw the Christmas beauty in NYC……

Thats all for today folks……

Have a Great Day,

Durga Prasad.

Mood: Room is very dark (Light is not working). Hearing the wind blow leaked from my bedroom window (like in horror movies). Listening to “Give Me Some Shine” from 3-Idiots. (I fell in love with this song).

Lowlight wonder from D5000

Hi Folks,

No wonder people say I am over reactive, as I feel the same sometimes. Started going through different tutorials from Bob Krist to understand more about SLR and photography. I am pretty amazed with the way this whole thing works. Tried few shots in low light today and I am excited with the way this camera does the wonder.

More on SLR on its way……

Taken in very low light

Regards,

Durga Prasad.

First Snow and New SLR

Hi Folks,

Saw the snow for the first time in my life Today. It just started like a little rain and slowly became snow.  We had a very nice view from two of our windows and the sliding door in our dining room. It was very nice and people say it will be even more beautiful by tomorrow morning. On the other hand, It will also be killing with too much of chill.  Forgetting the bad part of it, I started enjoying it.

This being the second day for my brand new SLR camera, I went out to try some shots in the darkness. Some were  Ok and some failed as usual. As Bob Krist says, try different options of an SLR. Sometimes unexpected shots may also come up great. Have seen two of his tutorials about using SLR camera and they were very impressive informative and inspiring. Started exploring more and more about SLR and this way, one day I would be posting my first best photograph.

Till Then,

See you and Merry Merry Christmas.

Durga Prasad.

The Oldest, Yet Strongest affection.

Hello All,

A quick re-play of last one invisible month in my life.

My Sister’s Marriage went on very well and the young pair enjoying their married life roaming around different places.

There is actually a lot to write about my last sentence, but I couldn’t as the time doesn’t permit me to it. :(. I hope you all are doing well.

Coming to the subject of this post, I would like to talk about a special person that attended my sis’s marriage. He is so special that every body was very much astonished with his presence and was very happy. I still can not believe that a person of 74years age had travelled a very long way using different means of transport reached us to give the blessings to my sister. 🙂 Well, I am talking about My Grand-Pa. I mean My Grand-Ma’s (My father’s mother) brother.

Its a very big story to start with. My Grand Ma’s was a very poor orthodox Brahman (Iyyer) family with Tamil origin. After her marriage, She took her younger sister along with her to Andhra to be a companion. Though she doesn’t know Telugu then, She struggled alot to communicate with the people over here and finally was able to mingle with the people here. Her younger sister Visalakhi, had literally dedicated her life as a bachelor to our family. She is always been called as “Visala Akka” (Visala Sister) by every one in our family starting from the grand-old-Generation to the younger generation. She love to be called so and won’t allow any one to call her Grand-ma.

Well, My Grand ma’s brother (I call him Kanchi tata) strived a lot to come up in his life. He used to work in 7 different houses a week for his day food and learn Veda’s in the famous vedic school from Ekambaranath temple in Kanchipuram. Daily he used to work, Learn Veda’s and take shelter in the temple. After a long time of his dedication, he was releved as a vedic pandit (Ghanapati in Sanskrit) to the society. He then went back to his home town Vadamarimangalam, Vellore (Dt) and settled as a Ghanapati.

During olden day’s as it is very tough for a poor family to commute to the long distances, Nobody from the that family used to visit us at andhra. So do we. My Grand-Ma still call’s her home town as another Desham (country). Moreover, The language is a big barrier between the two families. Kanchi Tata, Know little bit of English. So whenever he comes, dad used to speak to him in English. The sister and brother used to speak in Tamil. As day’s passed by we totally lost the touch with their family. My dad’s just a one vague address of kanchi tata.

The last time he visited my home was during my Mom & Dad’s Marriage (almost 27 years back). As day’s passed by, My grand-ma forgot Tamil. We always used to have fun at home, by asking her to speak in Tamil and she feeling shy for it. Seeing my dad’s invitation to the wage address, He called my home on the phone number written on the invitation card. Neither my Grand-ma nor my family member’s were able to understanding what he says. After a long affectionate discussion, my sister’s finally understood that “He will not be able to come to Marriage. But then he is sending his blessings in the form of a money order”.

But, His presence on the eve the marriage surprised us. There is no language barrier this time because of a catalyst/translator called Durga Prasad. Well, That’s me.  Kanchi Tata, was delighted and proud to have me speaking to him in his own language.  More than me My grand-ma was spell bound to see her brother after a span of 27 years.

Believe me, You have to experience such emotions atlease once in your life. I am very much privileged to have that experience during the marriage. He was morally supported all through this 27 years by a neighbour called srinivasan who also came to the marriage. Kanchi Tata always says that “With out Srinivasan, I am not there”.  We were very thankful to srinivasan to be there beside him always.

With this note I would like to take a break from this post. Here are some of the photo’s of him blessing all of us.

Enjoy your weekend.

Durga Prasad.

Grand Ma blessing her bro.

Grand Ma blessing her bro.

My Grand Ma, Her Brother, Her sister (Visala Akka)

My Grand Ma, Her Brother, Her sister (Visala Akka)

Kanchi Tata and Srinivasan

Kanchi Tata and Srinivasan

The Celebration Begins

Hi All,

After a very long time I got a chance to look back at my sweet heart (My Blog).

In this post I will try to Justify the title of this post “The Celebration Begins”. When I say this double quoted phrase, I meant the celebrations in my life. The moments that brings me the extreme Joy and happiness. The moments that fills the ever ending cheers on my face. The moments that remains as sweet memories forever in my life. The moments about which I would love to share with you all.

Well…..No More Poetry goes here.(I am not a poet).

I am talking about one of the happiest celebrations in my life ie., MY SISTER’S ENGAGEMENT. Being a part of a typical Orthodox Hindu Family, we treat this as a very important ceremony before ones marriage. And because this is my sister’s, its very important for me.

Decoration, Focus lights, Idols of god, A welcome banner with the bride and bridegroom’s names,  Chopped Banana trees on both sides of the entrance, People having traditional mark on the face (Namam in Telugu) , Ceremonial chairs on the stage, Flower bouquet’s hanging on the walls, Mineral water bottles, chairs arranged for invitees, A Car or an auto hired for the whole day, Coffee, Tea, are the typical things you see before you start any of the traditional ceremonies.

The ceremony starts with welcoming the Bridegroom and his relatives. Once they come in they will be served the Breakfast. Then starts the actual ceremony. The priest (pujari) starts the puja chanting all the mantras sitting at the idols of God.

Relatives having break fast and talking to each other, Priest’s mantra’s, Some people moving fast around in hurry,  Flower garlands with different colors, Bride and Bridegroom’s sitting on the Ceremonial Chairs, some suggesting different items in lunch, some tasting them, Some standing at the entrance and welcoming the relatives with a smile, Kids running around and playing in the function hall, Kinds’ mom’s running behind them to take care of them, Youngsters serving Coffee and water to the visitors, Old people sitting at some corner and taking care of all the belongings of their children, Bride and the groom busy on the stage chit chatting/interacting with each other, children and youngsters teasing them, Bride and Bridegroom appearing on the stage with different outfits (like a fashion show) are all the Typical events during the ceremony.

The outfits will generally be …….

Youngsters in Jeans and T-shirt, Middle age people in a Khadhi shirt and Dhoti, Priest in no shirt and a dhoti, Bride groom in coat, Bride in a traditional Saree, Chuff in a normal shirt and a long towel AND I AM IN A BLACK JEANS AND SHORT KURTHA.

All these are something’s which I have personally experienced in the Engagement Ceremony of my Sister that has happened on 21st August 2008. I have taken lot of videos/photos and they were very nice.

🙂

Very happy to share this with you all.

You should be expecting much similar post during the Marriage.

Cheers,

Durga Prasad

My First Trek (To Nagalapuram/Eastern Ghats)-Day2

This post is the continuation of my previous post.

Day 2:

The second day was the most adventurous, frightening, scary and Thrilling day of our trek. The day started smoothly at 7.30 in the morning. Every body were ready with their back packs to reach our next destiny, ie, a water pool. This water pool is the mother of the pool which we have seen the previous day. We also have plans to stay there for lunch. Guys were so excited to go to the pool. Before we go, we went to different view points of that ellipse shaped mountain pinnacle.

All the view points are simply mind blowing and we didn’t wanted to move out those places. Guys with tripods and SLR camera’s were in action. Its time for a group photo. During our photo session, we heard a sound from some where on the opposite hill. Peter said, Shhhhhhhhhhh. We shouted back, and we got the response back. Then peter said. “Yeah…..! Guys. We are not alone here”. When kannan zoomed the place with his camera, it proved that some body else was staying on the other hill along with their tents. Once we are done with our view points, we started to the pool.

The route was too steep down and we had to be very careful all the way. Every step forward was only with a support, I didn’t dare to walk down with out any support. At some places, if there was no support, i preferred to crawl down. I never cared about the dress and other things during the trek, except my Gadgets. As we keep on moving, we came across many thorny bushes. As i did wear the ankle socks, most of the thorns targeted my legs and my hands. With in few minutes, we were out of those thorny bushes, and came across a river stream (dry). We started following the river stream which will lead to the mother pool.

The dry river is very steep at some places and guys had to be very careful to come down that river. The mountain climbers like Arul, were able to make it very easy, But for me it was really tough. But, I enjoyed it. We all assembled at a point to have a group snap by our professional photographer Samyak. Had a sip of water and started again to the pool.

The pool is located still down from this point. We started finding the small streams along way which goes the actual pool. But, at some point of time, the way was cut. There was a big stream in the middle and it seemed tough to cross it. Some of the experienced guys, have climbed down the rock and jumped on the other side of the stream. It was my turn next. Not sure, if i am gonna make it or not. It was very scary. If i miss jumping on the other side. I will be directly in to the stream which is deeper. With all these thoughts i was finally able to make it. Whoaahhhhh!!!! I made it. Thrilled. Excited. And jumped. After that, we kept walking along the same river, to reach the pool finally.

This pool doesn’t look as expected. Its very small in size and we didn’t had a provision to jump in to it. This place was one of the most beautiful places in our trek. It has a pool and a small waterfall and a rocky area covered with a deep trees not letting the sun light coming in.

Is that it..??????? Well…That’s not it. The most exciting thing of this place is that there is a valley of almost 90 Degrees slope and of 300 Meters high. Guys have rushed to the edge to have a look at the beautiful valley. We sat there for a very long time and had a chit chat about different things. Meanwhile, guys have started making fire to prepare the lunch. After a long struggle, Vivek, Peter and sreedhar made the fire and we all helped in getting the dry wood to feed the fire god. Taken out all our maggi packets out and made the noodles.

After noodles, its Soup. Mukund, Kannan and me were busy in filling up the bottles for the rest of our journey. We stayed there for a long time and started back to the base camp at around 1.30 PM.

This is the start of the adventurous part of our trek. To go to the base camp, we had to climb up a sloppy hill and then follow the dry stream to get back to the pool where we had spent lot of time the previous day. So, our next target would be the POOL2 (POOL1 is the first pool which we never stepped in). We had to step still to reach the top of another hill that is 700 meters above the sea level. As we kept on moving, the sun god started drinking our energy. And by the time we reached the pinnacle, every body is almost out of water. We still have a very long way to reach the down of the hill. I was not very sure what am i going to do if i am thisty for the rest of the journey.

One refreshing thing was that we only need to climb down the hill. “No more climbing upthis one scentence brought the hidden energy in everybody over there and we started climbing down to our next destination. Unfortunately, Peter’s GPS machine stopped working and the only way we had, is to follow the dry stream which should meet POOL2 some where. And from there the route was known.

Initially it was alright. After that, we started facing the extreme thorney bushes. And as I wear the ankle socks, they started hurting me every where. I still didn’t care about them, because of my concentration to reach the destiny. We kept on walking the dry stream, making the way through the extremely thorny bushes. Arul, (the mountain climber) , Raam and sreedhar, were leading us along the way and Peter was coming last with one guy whose Knee is damaged.

The time was 6.00 PM and the light is going down. At that poing of time, we discovered that we still have a very long way to go to POOl2. And from POOL2, we have to go down the hill for 2 1/2 hours. People on the front keep on saying “We are nearing the POOL2.” All of us turned on our torches and started moving along the dry stream. At some point along the stream, we were struck up and we were not able to make a way through a very thorny bushes. We stopped there for almost half an hour. The explorer’s kept on searching a way to get out of the thorny bushes. Arul called peter by walky talky to discuss about the way.

We were almost lost in deep jungle, sitting in a dark place with all our torches off (To get rid of any wild animals), and longing for water (By that time we were out of water).  Everybody was thirsty and were trying to take out the energy hidden somewhere in the corner of our bodies. Every body was wet with sweat ,lying down somewhere in the jungle, discussing about the way to go. The explorers were still searching for a way.

Finally after 45-50 minutes of waiting (the time was 8:00 PM), Peter is back with a good news. The news is “WE WILL BE OUT OF THIS BUSH WITH IN FIVE MINUTES”. Roared “WhooooooaaaH!!” with our thirsty throats, We all are on the track. The thorns didn’t stop attacking us. And finally we were out of that bush. We found a way which is kind of sandy and rocky (small round rocks). After a long walk for around 20 Min, Guess where we go.

Yes, its the pool. But, to our surprise, its not the POOL2. Its POOL1. This is were we had our first halt for around five minutes in this trek. This means that we have are very near to our base camp. Even though the pool is not so deeper, everybody just jumped into it, drank water, lied down in it.

The time was 10:00 PM. We were still lying down in the pool. Nobody wanted to come out of it, and nobody cared about the time. We were all shouting, playing, and celebraing the happy ending of an awesome trek. Some people kept on lying down on the bank of the pool taking the photographs. After a long stay over there, we started back to our cars at 10:40 PM and reached out base camp at 11.00 PM.

Peter, took out the Teepla’s that he had stored before and distributed to everybody. We had a bite of it and assembled to calculate the trek expenses. We started back to Chennai on vehicles and we are gonna meet again at CMBT to clear all the expenses.

I am back again on mukund’s bike. My Knee’s are paining like hell. Called up home and my friends on the way to let them know my safe return from my first trek. And finally we are back at CMBT. Vivek, was ready with his calculations and i have got 50/- back. We shaked hand’s with Peter’s and other Mates.

Mukund dropped me at my home at 1.45PM. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Whew..!! That was a splendid trek. Being my first trek, I was damn excited.

I think this is one of the memorable  weekend’s in my life. Thanks Peter and Others who made this moment a grand success.

Photo Gallery:

The following are the list of album’s from different photographers.

  1. Durga Prasad
  2. Raveen
  3. Shubhro
  4. Lionel
  5. Vani
  6. Samyak
  7. Kannan
  8. Prashant
  9. Karthik
  10. Bala P

And here is an another experience sharing by Mukund.

Will be back with another exciting post,

Cheers,

Durga Prasad