Monday, January 4, 2010


I have decided not to use this blog for pictures anymore. But I don't intend to delete it because each post signifies and reminds me of a certain time in my life. To blindly delete would be as foolish as attempting to erase history.

To catch the latest please do visit me on my flickr or my tumblr pages.

I trust you will not be disappointed.

For the last time on these pages, 
So long and thanks for all the Phish!

Monday, October 12, 2009

No trip to Calcutta is complete without a trip to the old Ganges. I found this sign on a wall as I stumbled across the narrow gauge rail track that follows the river. 

in prep

The most boring part of the shoot is also the most interesting. Amidst the endless cups of sickly, sweet tea, the scent of hairspray and the hissing steam from the iron lurks the kodachrome handler. 

Taken seconds before the real photographer took over. 

acid dollhouse

My breaks in Calcutta are always full of colour. This one was taken at a toy-themed puja pandal in the older part of the city. The dolls looked bright and yet somehow out of a scary music video. Like someone was very high when they thought of this. 

Friday, July 31, 2009

travels through india - karnataka - part six

Stumbled into a small temple, enclosure. If it wasn't for the red, I would have walked on.

Sacred vermillion at the feet of Vishnu. Belur Temple, Karnataka. Few hours out of Bangalore.

travels through india - karnataka - part six

If you are driving to anywhere in India, you can never miss them. Silent under brilliant skies.

En route to Atigundi/Kemmanagundi. Few hours out of Bangalore.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

travels through india - karnataka - part five

And then the spaceship landed. I ignored history to capture the extra-terrestrial light. The umbrella, someone told me, is not really as old.

Found at the Dancing Hall. Belur Temple.

travels through india - karnataka - part four

Adorned with sacred vermillion, saffron and the industrialised coloured powder, these are the feet of Vishnu.

travels through india - karnataka - part three

The Elephant God follows you wherever you go in India. And wonders you with his cool, casual, mutant charm.

Lord Ganesha strike a pose. Belur Temple, Karnataka.

travels through india - karnataka - part two

The first time I saw this picture was in school. The text book was called "An Illustrated History Of India". Many years later, when I landed up exactly at the same spot, I just had to recreate it. 

The Dancing Hall at the Belur Temple. In black and white.

travels through india - karnataka - part one

For the last one month, I have been trying to make the weekends count. Away from telemarketers, bills, clients, artworks and the sickness of city life. And when you are presented moments like these, it all becomes so worth it.

This is the gateway of the ancient Belur Temple. On the way to Kemmanagundi. A few hours out of Bangalore.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

early morning rain

I sit by the window with Rusty Brown as it pours outside. I should be thinking about what to do with the day. About big things. Like advertising. And great ideas. And clients who need my help. Instead, I wander deep inside the vaults of memory. To a decrepit, little lending library spread helplessly across a hot pavement in Calcutta, twenty odd years ago. Unearthing brittle first copies of Mad, Iznogoud, Mandrake the Magician and Andy Capp and the lonesome, thrilling afternoons that followed.

Perhaps, growing up isn't really such a hot idea after all.

Rusty Brown and other characters by Chris Ware. Published by Drawn and Quarterly.
Find more from the same artist here.

Friday, July 3, 2009


The placard says 'Love All'. You can find him at the same place every morning. Standing with his prayer beads and a message in the pouring black rain of Bombay. Smiling at the angry commuters in their air-conditioned tin cans. Hoping. 

This is the best I can do for you. Nameless, smiling not-so-mad man.

You can meet him too. At the crossing of Juhu and Andheri in Bombay. Everyday.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

At an hour's drive from home lies a country that's so beautiful, I am afraid to let it touch me completely. In this country, there live little children. Yet untouched by iPods, tele-tubbies, pokemon and clean, potable water. And amazing things can happen here. For instance, a piece of wood can become a toy. And I with an expensive looking camera, an intruder.

But not for too long.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Found on a walk through the serpentine streets of a city I called home for 17 years. Two days before the new year. I was instructed to take a lot of pictures. But the images in my head didn't make space.

I wish all of you a very happy new year.

Friday, October 17, 2008

step up

There are things that help you to reach out. If only they were applicable to all.

rainy evening

Some evenings are indistinguishable from each other with heaviness. Then there are others.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

a little less conversation

The evening could have quickly turned empty. The seconds could have become heavier. The mind could have chained itself to routine. But for him. And his eerie ability to linger on in a space he is not a part of anymore. For a long time now.

That's Elvis under the lamp on my dining table. For tickets email

Sunday, August 3, 2008

my blueberry nights

The kodachrome handler waits. For you to drift off in the middle of the action. And as you try to remember the little details of an evening, now lost, he presses the shutter. In homage to a friend left behind at an intersection. Many turns ago.

Mia takes a moment.


Tear the plastic wrap. Scratch at the sheen. Switch off the neon lights. And you will find that the beautiful people are just like you and me. Sometimes, far more beautiful than you imagine them to be.

Nicolette gets ready to face the camera. At the Pantaloons shoot. Somewhere in Bombay.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Like a photograph so old that no one remembers where it was taken. Like a memory so brittle it's not recollected, lest it's destroyed. Like an old book with a stranger's name on it.

Like waiting for an eternity for the end.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

cheque, please

I hate it when people overstay their welcome. Emotionally or otherwise. And I know because there have been times when I have done just that.

dark matter

I have a habit of looking up. Especially at times when I am bored. Or thinking negative. Each time I see something different. Sometimes, I have a camera.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

telegraph road - journey through uttarakhand, v 9

You cannot own the mountains. You can only fumble with the physics of the contraption, cursing under your breath. Trying to capture the moment. Like many others before you.

Sunset. The magic hour. Almora to Nainital.

might - journey through uttarakhand vol, 8

And then suddenly you become insignificant. Your job becomes dispensable. You become small. Without a name. Without a face. Without a past.

Nanda Devi and Trishul. As seen from the Forest Guest House, Kausani.

Monday, January 7, 2008

silence - journey through uttarakhand, no. 7

Kausani. 6.15 am. The first rays of sunlight hit Trishul. The sky goes mad. I stand a mere thirty miles away. Shivering in my pajamas.

Kausani. A little later. I forgot how cold I was.

View of Trishul and Nanda Devi from Forest Guest House, Kausani.

life lines - a journey through uttarakhand, # 6

I forget my name. Yeah, it's.. Joshi. Devidutt Joshi. I take care of this Forest Guest House. For years now. What? You need a heater..? Sorry. The fuse is shot. I can light a fire though. In my hut. If you are interested. are hungry? Food is out. My neighbour killed a lamb today. I cooked some stew. And will be more than happy to share it with you. that a camera? Will you take a photograph..? It's for my daughter.

Thank you.

Devidutt Joshi is the caretaker at the Forest Guest House in Kausani. He lives alone and complains about the apathetic forest dept. He smokes a lot. He talks a lot. And is very concerned about global warming.

enter - a journey through uttarakhand, pg 5

First impressions at the Forest Guest House in Kausani. It was 5 degrees and the sun was welcome. Not everywhere though.

Friday, January 4, 2008

peek - journey through uttarakhand, page 4

The morning sun felt good. The shivering had subsided and had paled into an ocassional whimpering twitch. A warm cup of tea later, one felt the need to explore the environs a little. The curtains were pulled back. The cigarette was lit. The stubborn latch dispensed with, the windows were thrown back. Deep breath.

Scene from window at Ranikhet Guest House.

holy - journey through uttarakhand, page three

They say if you want your wish to come true, you need to tie a bell at the door. At the deserted temple in the middle of the forest. Excited, I scouted around for an hour and a half.

Where's a bell-seller when you need one?

Jhula Devi Temple. Ranikhet.

a little blue - journey through uttarakhand, chapter two

The journey from Kathgodam to Ranikhet was littered with stray thoughts of home. And the people who used to inhabit it. The distance was overwhelming. I was longing for a conversation. As if on cue, the driver launched into a detailed geographical account of our surroundings. Peppered with local myth. I kept quiet and stared out of the window for the remainder of the journey.

En route to Ranikhet from Kathgodam. Just after sunrise.

shiver - journey through uttarakhand chapter one

I wasn't prepared for the cold. Nor did I remember how demanding rail journeys can be. How bad the nightmares can get. Or just how agonizing it is to travel on a full stomach. After multiple, pathetic attemps to sleep (read: lie quiet and wait for death) I fished out the lens. And when the train slowly chugged in at a sleepy Haldwani, this is what I saw first.

5.03 am at Haldwani Railway Station. When the train slept.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

coup de foudre - third time lucky

The day waned. The afternoon got hotter. She just couldn't keep her hands off the hat. Nor could I, off the shutter. They missed me at the shoot that day.

Kalki and her hat by Phish. Bonbay, 2007.

coup de foudre - part deux

She smiles. And I fumble with the exposure to capture the change in light.

Kalki and Kalki, captured by Phish. Bombay, 2007.

coup de foudre - the first time

From the archives. A couple of months back. Just back from Jaipur. The Bombay chapter of the shoot begins. It's 40 degrees in the shade. I take refuge in the cold, trailer van. That's when I see her.

My camera liked her just as much as I did.

Kalki photographed by Phish, Bombay 2007.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

dream within a dream - face

The day creeps towards its end. My muted affair with her approaches closure. It's been six hours of lurking behind the shadows with my contraption. She asks me to step forward with her eyes. My knees are making a racket. She smiles at me and says something. I cannot understand her. I try to read her lips.

I give up mid-way.

Anita by Phish. The Piramyd Shoot, Mazda Studio, Bombay. In September.

dream within a dream - wonderland

Somewhere over the rainbow,
Blue birds fly
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Dreams really do come true.

Packaged with glitter. With a logo on the bottom right hand corner (er..could you please make it bigger?).

Phish exposes Anita's mind. Behind the scenes at The Piramyd Shoot, Mazda Studio, Bombay. September, this year.

dream within a dream - the voyuer

It started innocently enough. Predictably. The frenzied and often whimsical dreams factory was hard at work. The well-oiled machines pointed and waiting. Ready to capture that perfect emotion. The emotion that will pierce your psyche and possibly torment you for three and a half minutes next Tuesday.

But in all the activity they missed a thing or two. Brought to you by the other guy with the camera.

Anita's Feet by Phish. Behind the scenes at The Piramyd Shoot, Mazda Studio, Bombay. Sometime in September, Bloody September.

Friday, October 19, 2007

in a devil mood

As the frantic millions pass along the idol, heads hung with habit or perhaps shame, the stench of new clothes and sweat thickens the air. And I cannot help but detect a trace of something else.

An unmistakeable smell of fear.

'Mahisasura' or 'The Buffalo Devil' at Ballygunge Cultural, Calcutta. Mahasaptami.
Photo by Phish.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

calcutta; a moment in dusk

I was trying to think of something to say to her. Fumbling for a light at the same time. Round and round my room in half-hearted irritation. Then I found myself near the window. And as I looked up with a dangling cigarette (now lit), my world changed a little.

I look at skies a lot (see: bombay blue). It somehow makes you feel insignificant. In a nice, pleasing sort of a way.

Photos by Phish. October sky, Calcutta.

Friday, September 14, 2007

morning glory - jaipur diary 4

"Why are you always in the girl's room?", they ask. Amidst the perfumed clutter that is so unique to the species, she has just woken up. She wants a cup of coffee. I want her. We strike a deal.

This is why I was in the girl's room.

Flavia, photographed by Phish. Umaid Bhavan, Jaipur 2007.

a little blue - jaipur diary 3

Nicotine runs scarce. The long fingers scurry to the pockets for a quick fix. The spot boys run to make tea. A long satisfied silence ensues. Shared with the photographer.

Photo by Phish. Jaipur 2007.

pink moon, early morning - jaipur diary 2

Sunday Morning 7.00 am. At the gates of the Pink City. As the last crease is ironed out, the kodachrome handler yawns. And makes a note with the lens. The iPod shuffles to Nick Drake, as if on cue.

Flavia photographed by Phish. Jaipur 2007.

dusty dusk - jaipur diary 1

The first day. The last shot. A sudden gust of cool wind interrupts the proceedings. From where I stand, I can be anywhere. But a few miles outside of Jaipur.

Neha and Kiran as seen through a Phish. Jaipur 2007.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

walk the line

A little rest on the cool concrete of the city. A slight pause before we move on to the seemingly bigger things in life. Like a career. Success. Investments. Higher tax returns. Bigger houses. Shinier cars. Sexier women. The perfume of money. The high of lights. The stink of newsprint. And maybe even a little love.

Taken near the sea. Bombay.

Rajenda's footwear photographed by Phish.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

momentary lapse

Bombay would have been dead if it weren't for the sea. You need something to pacify sweat stained skin.