Sunday, August 30, 2009

traffic choker today

the city hasraced up for another trafficchi\oker, this time toi commemorate the 1959 food movement chich hadculminatedin police firing and a bloodbath. seen here are CPI(M) activists giving final touches to their organisational skills.

Photographs byArindam Basu 

national geographic

the national geographic has been stretching the horizons of photography for over a hundred years now. take alook at some of my personal favourites. all photographs arecourtsey the national geographic

Friday, August 28, 2009

Navya's Collection

Designer. I am petrified by the term and their ilk. Especially, the page 3 types, who immaculately coiffured lay in wait in their boutiques spinning webs of ethnic chic. The very term conjures up images of black widows and other creepy crawlies in my mind – tired society ladies, willing away time copying designs that they pass on as exclusive creations…

That is why I approached Navya’s latest collection with a lot of dread and skepticism. But man, was I taken aback. Here were two city housewives with a range of clothes that are actually functional , wearable garments that one can add to the wardrobe. The range being primarily casual and semi formal, the material chiefly cotton and blends, the range has a simple, yet unstated elegance about it that simply floored me. 
The cuts too were contemporary and quietly communicated the fact that the line has been designed by women, who have given a considerable amount of thought to the convenience and comfort of the wearer. No outlandish, f-tv inspired exotica here. No dare to bare type snips either. Simple and elegant cuts that hugs the body’s natural contours without highlighting parts that some designers end up doing consciously or unconsciously. 
For an evening out with family and friends, or a social do or even a not so formal office get to gather, Navya’s outfits are a comfortable accessory – just the type that makes you feel beautiful from inside as opposed to an uncomfortable traffic stopper.
Friends, mothers, sisters, daughters … check out Shivani & Manisha’s Navya, they are priced just right and are ready to make the pujas and dewali rock with some real fab stuff.
They are available at their newly opened workshop only by appointment (  

the king rules

who was it that had the audacity of holding you back? was he as big a fool as the king's gesture is suggesting? or is srk underplaying the whole episode ? is kolkata ready to showcase the entire episode in lighting? puja committees are in a quandry - what is the bigger story - land grab and the fireatvedic village or SRK's detention?  

final touches before the shot

holy trinity

Even while the Cassandra’s are predicting an economic doom, one segment in India is growing at a scorching annual rate of 35 percent over the last couple of years. That’s no joke considering the fact that the domestic market for Vodka is upwards of 4.5 million cases per annum. As part of a global trend that is witnessing more and younger tipplers opting for the white spirits, consumption of Vodka, in India is on an upswing that is testing the laws of gravity. What is even more heartening is the fact that the top end of the vodka market is growing at a phenomenal rate of 50 percent.
And, why not? Vodka is no more your prescribed concoction to battle the dreaded Russian winter. It is much more than a mare “neural” base for exotic cocktails. It is chic. It is happening and it is now the top draw with the GenX. The reasons are not far to seek.
Take a look at the “three maidens” that have just been introduced into the Indian market by Sipping Spirits - India’s first boutique spirit bottling Company based in Goa. This all-new range of super premium vodkas named “Resolute” has been launched in an exclusive tie-up with The Melchers Group of Netherlands. That Resolute is one of Netherland’s finest vodka brands with a lineage as potent as its punch is another matter. 
Blind testing with leading vodka brands available in India have already given Resolute a swigging edge and according to Somangshu Biswas, Sr. Vice President, the obvious edge can be explained by a plethora of factors that go into the crafting of the spirits. Finer details that are often ignored, in the mad haste to keep the lines rolling. First comes the ultra pure water from the pristine sources in Goa and the grains that go into the mash, which is distilled seven times only to be passed through charcoal columns five times to imbibe that special taste. Finally, only the choicest natural pigments and tanins are used to give the pink lady and the black knight their distinctive tastes. The entire process uses futuristic post distillation and maturing technologies that ensure that the highest quality standards that are maintained and adhered to.
Sipping Spirit’s perfect Pink Vodka uses natural strawberry and raspberry extracts, while the crystal vodka is prepared using an exotic botanical floral extract that gives it a silken smoothness. However, it is the black Catecheu (an exotic Afro-Burmese herb) blended Resolute Black Vodka that has literally taken sipping spirits to a new high, in the real sense of the term.
A raging hit, not only with the young crowd that singles and mingles its drinks, seeking out newer flavours and excitements but also with the older, more mature children of Bacchus who are smitten by the warm and gentle aftertaste that this spirit imbibes in the one enjoying its company.
As a long term Vodka devotee put it, “I have been drinking vodka ever since, like the revolution. And it was always vodka with cola. With juice… With a dash of bitters… With a twist of lime…. Today, as I sip this nectar I am transported to a different plane, by Lord, this is sheer Nirvana. My personal favourite is the Resolute Black. I love the packaging, the all black demeanor…the smoothness of the spirit. But it is the taste that has floored me.”
Resolute Vodkas are now available in the metro cities and will soon cover the length and breadth of the country. We will eagerly await the pilgrim’s progress, may the spirit engulf the Nation. Amen!
(from CoreSectorCommunique : August 2009 issue)

pujoi chai notun auto

Thursday, August 27, 2009

cross connection

i have always been fascinated by the cross process. some of the images generated are simply fascinating. the pleasures of watching raw film develop into images, the thrill of holding prints in your hand, or the esctacy of peering through transparencioes are all dying a quite death with the advent and all conquering improvements in digital imaging technologies. the cross process too has been been sacrificed on the alter of photoshop...

here are a few images from the archivec, shot and processed the old fashioned way ... 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

pujo aasche 2

yes, the puja's are only a few days away .... but do they touch all lives the way they touch our's? perhaps not, look at this man, our neighbour from across the street, perched on his taxi sleeping in total oblivion. did somebody mention a recession ? a global financial meltdown? what did you say? he's really a bank regulator in disguise doing what they do best?   

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

pujo aashche 1

More from Kumortuli

Pujo Aasche

Its that time of the year again. That time of the year when the incessant rains start beating a quiet retreat. That time of the year, when one sees hues of bright green that defies the imagination as trees, plants and shrubs bathed in a fresh shower sport their brightest best. It is that time of the year when the fields get overrun by weeds heralding the process that culminates in the home coming of Goddess Durga.

Yes, Durga Puja is now about a month away. To us Bengalis it is a lot more than a mere religious festival. It is the symbolic triumph of good over evil. It is a chance to forge new friendships and renew old bonds of fraternity. It is, even to the agnostics and communists, a chance to pandal-hop, partake Prasad, offer angali, and generally join in the revelries. It is an excuse to buy new clothes for the family, wear shoes that hurt, throw all caution in the wind and gorge on junk food as if there’s no tomorrow and generally live it up, with or without the mandatory saradiya sankha (annual number) of the favourite media house. 

Yes, the puja’s are on the way and it is prime time at “Kumortuli” (read adobe of the potters) who are busy giving shape to the idols. Let us start our “pujo porikroma” from here …

For Bengalis everywhere, for Bengalis in every part of the globe this is festive season. Join me as we take part in celebrating life the way only we Bengalis can. We will try and make this as illustrative and image intensive as we can. Feel free to join in the conversation by posting comments.
(All Pics by Arindam Basu)

dance anyone?

The clock struck midnight.Gasping, she looked at the clock and thought,”Oh No, I’m late..” and ran, her glass slip on clicking on the flight of stairs....
  Sounds like an excerpt from the popular fairytale Cinderella we all grew up listening to? In a way, yes, it is indeed a part of the fairy-tale, there is indeed a Prince Charming and the time indeed is of vital importance- however what you are reading here is an excerpt from the fairytale of a modern day Cinderella. A Cinderella who rushes down to enter a magnificent gleaming car, not a carriage which in turn will transport her to a modern day ballroom set in the plush settings of a five star hotel, not the royal palace. The difference lies in the fact that while in the original version, it was time for Cinderella to rush home, here; it is time for her to enter her “ballroom”.
  The quest for her “Prince Charming” has always been every girl’s favourite search ever since she first heard the fairy tales which showed her how wonderful life turns out to be for young girls next door once fate lands them in the hands of their Prince Charming. Irrespective of her background, upbringing and occupation, every girl has, at some point or the other, secretly harboured an ambition to attain the ultimate “dream man”- a man who can fulfil her hearts’ desires, a man who can love her with a passion unleashed, a man who can transport her mundane monotonous life into a never ending series of rainbows and stars. She must find him and she must find him before her female comrades! 
  In the good old days, the fulfilment of such an ambition was left solely in the hands of parents. However, with the new found independence and the ever widening generation gap, the twenty-first century women have taken the matter firmly into their own hands. With changing trends however, the venues which offer the possibility of such meaningful encounters have also changed. College canteens where earlier love blossomed have metamorphosed into saucy lounges and night clubs. The existence of the inumerous chapels and churches in Las Vegas beside the never ending rows of clubs and casinos is a glaring proof of this fact. After all today’s women is educated. Yes she believes in fairytales, but she has also grown up on Austen’s established fact” It’s a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man of good fortune must be in want of a wife.” 
  Enter any such lounge and you’ll immediately spot a woman dressed to kill, haughtily perched on a bar stool, sipping a martini and vaguely listening to music with a bored expression. Look closer and you’ll l realise that the bored look is actually a mask for surveying eyes, for our Cinderella is carefully scrutinising the hordes of men present and classifying them into two categories- Potential Prince Charming and Rejects. Watch for a few moments more, and very soon you’ll spot a well dressed, middle aged man walk across to her stool and offer her a glass of wine-with his company of course. If this particular gentleman falls into the right category, our Cinderella will concede, else the man is packed off with a scorning glance. What follows for the next few months is a series of club hopping, Friday night Salsa parties, drinking binges and parties ending with the arrival of the sun. Six months later, the very same lounge will be seen hosting the reception party of our Cinderella and her Prince Charming. Here ends the fairytale of our twenty-first century Cinderella with her very own “happy ending”- an inspiration for every single woman attending this party to continue her search for her Prince in this modern day ballroom.
  And you thought nightlife was just about a bunch of people out to drink and dance??

(Contributed by Cheena Vyas)

It takes years to build up trust, but only seconds to destroy it.
You can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes.
After that you'd better know something.
Don't compare yourself to the best others can do,
But to the best you can do.
It's not what happens to people that's important.
It's what they do about it.
Always leave loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you see them.
You control your attitude or it controls you.
It isn't always enough to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
Your background and circumstances may have influenced who you are,
But you are responsible for who you become.
Even if you do the right thing for the wrong reason,
It's still the wrong thing to do.--Anonymous 

Monday, August 24, 2009

From Chaos to Cosmos in Charcoal – Moushumi Mukherjee

Few Indian artists have created a compelling list of followers the way charcoal maestro Ajay De has. And I must confess right at the onset, that I am among those that are smitten by his art.
Early on in his distinguished career as an artist, Ajay did two things. Picked up the charcoal to give creative vent to his passion and chose the humble hand drawn rickshaw as his subject. The rest, like they say, is history. His tremendous fascination with the play of light and shade, his emphasis on minute detailing and his obvious mastery over the medium created an almost surrealistic chiaroscuro – a series that not only brought him an almost instant international critical acclaim, but also ensured his commercial success. 
Today, Ajay’s work needs no introduction having adorned the walls of galleries around the world on the one hand and having created in its wake a dedicated set of collectors. Another fascinating aspect of Ajay’s work is the way it has evolved over the years. What started as pure charcoal on canvas works, in the next stage of evolvement saw the introduction of controlled dashes of colour to highlight and arrest the gaze. His work has since then, evolved further and has “morphed”, if I may be permitted to use the term, into mixed media. The principal figure continues to be his trademark charcoals, but is now embellished with a striking riot of paints and textures.
On a higher plane, Ajay’s work have always moved me for his ability to quietly communicate the basic truths of life, of transcending beyond the mundane and preach the dictum of love above the divisive forces of caste, creed, colour or religion. That is perhaps reason, why his portrayal of Mother Teresa, fondly carrying the baby Ganesha just the way we carry him home in Mumbai, or, the figure of a woman personified as Christ , with the crown of thorns taking the form of barbed wires around her, make such strong statements. Statements that, one need not add, are stunning visual treats, for Ajay remains one of the foremost purveyors of light and shade.
It will not be out of place to mention another aspect of Ajay’s work: the fact that there are always takers for his work. With the pall of the Recession’s gloom spreading across the globe, the art market has been hugely hit. Yet, even in days like these, connoisseurs are ever willing to pick up his gems. But why is Ajay’s work recession proof? When I confronted him with the question, his answer was as bold as the deftness of his strokes. He said and I quote, “people love my work because I am not intellectually dishonest. I do not have students filling up spaces that I finish. And, I do not price my paintings to make a market driven killing. At the end of the day, each of my work is an extension of my soul, a piece of me.”
Ajay is now working on his dream project – a show that he is painstakingly building around a theme that is very close to his heart. A show that will have his paintings, installation art, and sculptures that he is creating exclusively for the show. 
From the chaotic streets of Calcutta infested with hand drawn rickshaws, to the Bal Ganpatis in the by lanes of Byculla through to Tokyo and a higher plane where the Gods dwell, Ajay sees, interprets and creates a cosmos that is uniquely his own. A cosmos where Christ, Buddha, the saint of the gutters and the humble rickshaw puller are all larger than life, frozen by the deft stokes of the master. 
(Courtsey CoreSector Communique)

Kolkata @ night

Sunday, August 23, 2009

lucid interval

images are instant, frozen pieces of time. the moment passes, letting us savour the flavour ... this is just an attempt to catch some of the tiny things happening around us. a note that touches the heart, an image that tells a story of a thousand words, a piece ofart that moves one ... an attempt to seperate the grains from the chaff and present them for friends to relish.
lucid interval, in law is that brief moment when a lunatic regains his sanity, when in law, he is capable even of extering and executing contracts. in our mad haste to complete therat race of life, dont we all long for this lucid intervals ? i for one do and therefore am embarking on this voyage to extend my moments of happiness with friends and all thosewho want to come on board.