Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Utopia, a short story.

It is ironic that a pessimist should talk about Utopia. But, then it may also be construed that he craves for his Utopia as a solution to his negativity. You will not hear him talk about dystopia, which is the opposite of Utopia, because, that is what, he feels his miserable  life is all about, so why try to remember the familiar.  As he looks at the far skies on a particularly clear day, he spies the universe mushrooming above him, stretching far beyond the milky way and wonders- ‘somewhere over there is my Utopia’.

What makes him miserable is that one incident in his early lifetime, when he walked away, from his only love. Ask not, why, how, when? He did and there is no denying that. Subsequent unbridled ambition led to a life of plenty as also it’s accompanying stresses that took it’s toll, draining all his positivity and leaving behind a vast emptiness. He had everything, but, he did not have peace. He was marred by that one incident, which had negated his entire life’s achievements. It tore him apart. He drowned each day in his despair, buoyed only by spirit filled bottles. He contemplated death in a way, that no one can imagine. Even, trying to find an answer in the Bhagwad Gita, in which, the very first chapter deals with death. Well, he did learn a lot in the ancient Hindu scriptures. Still, that could not make his pain go away.

Three decades passed and chance brought them together via the marvel of social media. He had imagined her to be an angel who would now help him get better. She was a master of the mind, he had learned  and his angel concept was now sprouting wings. He asked to be forgiven. She graciously did. She lamented not finding true love. Neither had he. She had put the past behind her, although she did remember that it had once, almost destroyed her. She had worked hard to create an astounding life for herself, with her positive outlook. She had devoted her life to heal other less fortunate. Her story was inspirational, despite knowing that, it was he, who had inflicted the wounds. And, one fine day, he revealed to her all, about the devils tormenting his soul and she, the healer, patiently heard his story. He revealed all, because, he thought she was his angel. An angel, sent to make him right. A, master of the mind, who would heal him also, just like she healed herself and just like she healed a thousand others like him. He had, at last, found his soul mate. And, he felt better.

But, that is not the end of the story, my friends. This, is not a fairy tale where they lived happily, ever after. Even God’s book, the Bhagwad Gita was written in the midst of treacherous times. An angel is an enticing concept. A straw that a distressed person can grasp. But, the straw breaks. The angel is no more. She changes colors. She turns around and says, abruptly, “You! I will not help. There is nothing in this world, which will make me help you. You can never be my friend!. Go, away and live in your truly deserved misery.”

Here, he was! In a daze. Expecting a miracle. But, his angel had turned into a sorceress. Suddenly, it was dark and thunder, shook the earth around him. He was drenched in the storm, his wounds ripped wide open, bleeding in the falling rain. He fell to his knees, not believing this turn of events. How cud fate be so unkind. Three decades, he wait and it ends in disaster. His angel lay fallen by the wayside. The sky is a dark gloomy gray and black clouds like sponge puff up only to explode, sending a burst of wound ripping rain. He stood up and after gathering his courage shouted back at the black clouds, “ Is that all, you have to give to me! How much more can you rip me apart”. At that time, he realizes, that he had found an inner strength. In his hatred for the sorceress, he had rediscovered his positive side. He saw a light at the end of the tunnel. And, in that light he saw the truth. The truth being that- ‘the only angel, that you can trust is the angel within you’.

So, now, he looks for his imaginary Utopia, in a parallel universe, somewhere far beyond the milky way,  where he can meet his love lost. It is a place, where angels can be trusted. And where, there is always a clear sky for God’s rays to fall upon his wounds and there will come a time, when all his wounds have healed. He will be whole again. The past will not bother him. He will be forgiven. His angels will be smiling again. Yes! Such an Utopia does exist!

And, he walks back home and opens the door to find the telephone ringing. He hastens to pick up the receiver and a familiar voice at the other end, says. “I’m sorry! I was so mean. I hope, you will forgive me”. The thought comes to him, ‘Ah! My Angel returns”. He is a simple person and he forgives, easily.

Today, they are the best of friends. Yes! Angels do exist, but it depends on where you look for them. You have to believe in the Angel within you and miracles can happen. The world is full of Sorceresses, but, remember, only, you can change them into Angels, if you have that trust in yourself. He is no longer a pessimist. They correspond with each other and exchange their life stories. They talk to each other for hours on end catching up for the decades they lost. They grow old together in their parallel universe, knowing, that love heals and so much more can be achieved by just spreading a little love around. And, maybe, one day, they will meet each other, in this world.

Chandru Jain, MD

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Latest Photo, 10/27/12.

Its been on some rare occasions, that I do get an opportunity to have my snap taken. This one is the latest taken by a friend on my camera. This was during the Garba event of Navratri. At this event, I took 400 or so photos of the invitees as a volunteer for the Siddhivinayak Temple USA ( Suman & I are trustees ). I had set up an indoor studio at that event with strobe lights and backdrop. It was an exciting event for me and enjoyed it tremendously, making people happy posing for their pictures. I used lightroom 4 and Capture one Pro 7 for tethering my laptop to the Nikon D800 camera for instantaneous review of photos.

My Daily Photo, 10/30/12.

Colors of India at Garba dance during Navratri festival, Toms River, NJ. This was organized by The Siddhivinayak Temple USA, of which Suman & your's truly are trustees. This was the first time our temple team was organizing the event. My daily photo posted at my Smugmug site.!i=2183507879&k=jwpPQvH&lb=1&s=A

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Daily Photo, 10/29/12.

Garba. A traditional dance of the state of Gujarat, India. Performed at the Navratri celebrations at this time of the year. My photo posted on my Smugmug site.!i=2181456021&k=qHQ73rq&lb=1&s=A

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My photo at 500px, 10/25/12.

Sun Boat- my photo posted at, which is one of the world's best photography community. Most pro. photographers have a page at this site. According to my opinion, the quality of photos posted at this site is first class and the best in the world. One can learn so much by studying the photos of pro. photographers at this site. Today, I have posted this photo at my page.

My Daily Photo, 10/25/12.

Fall at Downingtown, PA-my daily photo at Smugmug,com.!i=2173922331&k=x2xXTwQ&lb=1&s=A

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Mums

When fall comes, the real estate is adorned by a variety of colorful Mums. Beautiful, at the same time affordable as well as very hardy are features which makes them popular with all folks. And, of course, they are a photographer;s delight. Sometimes, challenging because of the bright colors which need to be tweaked the right amount in post-processing and requires a certain amount of experience, as well as myriad experimenting. Here, is an example of my experiments with these hardy Mums.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Family Get-together, Downingtown, PA, 10/21/12.

Spent a quiet sunday at my cousin's place in Downingtown, PA. It was a gorgeous day with the fall colors in the surrounding and a pleasant drive to Downingtown, PA, where many of the family members had gathered. My mom from Mumbai, my sis. from LA, my bro. from Allentown, my cousin from Maryland, my cousin from Methuchen and my nephew from Virginia, as well as my sons from NY & NJ. Missed my youngest son, who is at college in Berkeley. The pictures say it all.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stomach Flu

My blog showed no activity for the last week or so, as I was overwhelmed with the stomach flu. I had to cancel my visit to Dallas for a school reunion. And, I missed the Garba celebration of Navratri during the weekend. These were important events, that I had planned and I was a no show. Also, missed a few other events, that I dont wanna talk about. So, much was the malaise, that I did not even scout the internet for a week.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Angkor Wat, revisited.

Some more, recently processed photos of Angkor Wat, which I had placed in the 'to do' list and finally, got, some time to work on them. I am pleased, with the results. Of late, I have started using Photoshop level & curves, as well as hue & saturation settings for making adjustments. That is after, the photo has undergone refinements in Lightroom 4 and effects additions in Color Effex Pro 4. I think, the photos are looking richer in tones and that pop out appearance is finally, shaping up. But, I realize, that I must get the intuos pressure sensitive brush for precise placements of the brush strokes, which I have been often using in LR4 with the mouse. This will further increase the time spent in post-processing each image. I have not reached the 80-100 layers which the pros add in each image, yet. But, I am getting there and seeing a need for that, with more experience.

Sun over Angkor Wat

Sun over Angkor Wat. My photo posted at my 500px site.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Inside Angkor

A look inside the fascinating ancient temple of Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World heritage site in Siem Reap province of Cambodia. It was originally, a Hindu Vishnu temple, which was converted to a Buddhist temple down the ages because the king was converted as the wave of Buddhism spread throughout South East Asia from the Indian peninsula. Murals of the Ramayana & Mahabarata adorn the walls of the aisles of this temple as seen through a doorway in one of these photos, which I have also posted to my 500px site.

My Daily Photo, 10/14/12.

Lord Vishnu statue in Angkor Wat. The front of the Angkor Wat temple is seen thro the doorway on the bottom right corner. My daily photo at Smugmug.!i=2150281258&k=xmj7XRs&lb=1&s=A

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Floating village of Chong Kneas

The floating village of Chong Kneas is in the Siem Reap province of Cambodia and approximately 20 miles from Angkor Wat city. We rented a private van to take us there from our hotel in Angkor Wat. The entire village is on the Tonle Sap river which backs up into the Tonle Sap lake which is the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia. The color of the water is a muddy brown and in the sun gives a golden hue. The Chong kneas village is in abject poverty and we were accosted by a flurry of beggars whenever we took a halt at a restaurant or shop. We boarded a private boat from a small harbor at the banks of the river and proceeded to speed along the river. In about 10 mins we arrived at the village proper, which consisted of a 300 or more boat houses. We then went all the way upstream to the lake which appeared abruptly, as an enormous expansion of water of the same color. The sight was breath taking and the lake stretches for many miles, ultimately draining into the Mekong river at Pnom Pen. The flow of water is bidirectional during monsoons when the mekong river gets flooded and backs up into the Tonle Sap lake, so the houses move up and down the river and are not constantly at one spot. The locals are mostly fishermen and fish in the night and sleep during the day. The village has a church and school as well as grocery shops, all on large boats. They also had a basket ball court on the river. A unique experience, a one of a kind but only for the adventurous. The local people are very poor and the river is very dirty. So be warned if anybody decides to go there. Took us about a 3 hour trip in the morning. It was too sunny for taking photographs, but nevertheless, some of them, I will venture to post.