The Wall

The Wall
There are quite a few photos that I shot with my Dynax 5 SLR scanned but sitting idly on my hard drive for a long time. I was too lazy to visit them and do the necessary post-processing. But today that changed. Here is something from a trip to Berlin a little more than a year ago. ‘The Wall’ is of course the (in)famous Berlin Wall. This is fragment of the Wall left behind at the Potsdamer Platz, one of the most dynamic and interesting places in the world, architecture wise.

A rough translation of the text on the wall, ‘At this place, in 1989, was the first opening made in the Berlin Wall’.


Second one from the same place as yesterday. Again, the light is not great in this shot but I find the movement of the two kids quite funky!

(This photo is also cropped from the original).

Of Words, Of Writing

I want to write. I want to write until the stars stop exhaling light. I want to write so as to embrace myself with the cuddly comfort of words well formed. I want to write like a Homer or a Valmiki, a vessel for words flowing out from my deepest wellsprings. I want to write until dust begins to settle on the tips of my toes. I want to write until the emotion wringing my heart is sated and put to sleep. I want to write till the tears behind my eyes translate into beautiful words. I want to write till I can feel no more. I want to write until all that is there ceases to exist and all that is to come is taking birth between my words. I want to write like God breathing life into mud and fire.

I want to write about languorous love, about lingering dew, about an orange dawn and a melancholic dusk, about wise whispers of the old, about sweet nothings of new lovers, about wintry mornings and rainy afternoons, about fresh air flowing through my lungs, about glorious feelings and wistful youth, about adolescent heartbreaks and everlasting love. I want to write about all the feelings that travel, tremble and tumble inside and around us.

I want to write about the many loves I found, about the sadness I learnt, about the warmth I gained and the memories I cherish. I want to write about you, me and everyone. I want to write about a bright tomorrow, a rosy yesterday and an unnoticed today. I want to write about moments we do not remember, like flowers smiling outside the window, like sunshine warming our hardened skin, like words we hear but do not listen to.

Oh, I want to write until I’m drowning in the thousand different voices of my words. I want to write until my fingers ache with a sweet pain. I want to write until the song in my heart fades into a distant echo.

I want to write until verbs weep, adjectives inspire and nouns conspire with the help of mischievous adverbs. I want to soar on the wings of ecstatic adjectives, joyous verbs keeping me company while I taste the lilting sound of nouns rolling around my smiling mouth. Words, words, words, I want to swim in their glittering midst, forgetting the mundane life outside their limpid depths.

I want to learn with my words, as they arrange themselves in perfect order, conjuring meaning out of chaos. I want to grow old in their nostalgic company, leaning on them for support in a lonely and loveless life. I want to be laid to rest with a wreath made of my words and a couplet carved in stone as my headrest. And if there is an afterlife or a heaven, I wish I’ll still have my words to sing me eternal songs of all that is wise and wonderful, of all that is a pure and divine joy.

Maradona Junior

Maradona Junior
This is one of the test images I shot with my 135/2.8. I do not like this photo completely but there is something about the composition that appeals to my eye. And I was happy that I caught the kid’s kick in mid air! He shows some great potential, doesn’t he? There are a couple more images in the same series so I might post them over the next two days.

(I cropped the image slightly to cut out some empty space at the bottom).

Full Metal Jacket

If you thought you had seen the definitive Vietnam War movie without seeing Full Metal Jacket, then think again. Stanley Kubrick’s narrative about a bunch of American marines who make the transition from boot camp to battlefield is as compelling as it is unforgiving. The transition is an allegory for a transformation of soldiers from raw youth to hardened, dehumanized killing machines.

The movie is an exploration of a contradiction: How do you reconcile the urge to recognize the enemy as a human being with the necessity of treating a human being as an enemy? After all, American soldiers were in Vietnam, or so they were told, to help the ‘gooks’ to help themselves. Or in the words of private Eightball, “I don’t understand them (he means the Vietnamese). I mean…we are here to help them out and they don’t even seem to appreciate the fact?”

Boot camp is a particularly grueling place pit bulled by a hard task master of a sergeant. He says that he “does not discriminate between niggers, punks, kikes and other forms of low life. They are all equally worthless?” He gives his ‘ladies’ hell everyday, and some fail to make the cut. In one memorable scene early on, he lines up the marines and gives them names: Joker, Gomer, Eightball, Animal Mother. Henceforth they are to call each other by their boot camp nick-names, the first step in erasing their humanity and becoming programmable zombies.

The contradiction plays itself out through the agency of private joker. In Vietnam he wears a peace button and a helmet that says, ‘born to kill.’ Does he love his country? Yes, he does, or at least that’s what he tells his superior officer. He is the leader of his group in boot camp and wants to help out private Pyle, a slow learner, but also dislikes him because he is getting the group in trouble with his moronic ways. There are hints about his ambivalent feelings towards the enemy. But he has to suppress them to preserve his own sanity. The contradiction explodes spectacularly in the climax, where joker has to make a choice. The choice he makes does not resolve the contradiction, but puts him in an easy frame of mind.

The film has all the traditional Kubrickesque elements: scenes that close with dramatic endings, slow dissolves that linger in the mind long after, music that is alternatively haunting and cheerful, brilliant frame compositions and a surreal feel. The combination of dialogue, music and visuals packs a taut left hook. Watching the film I couldn’t but help thinking about contemporary events in the Middle East. A case of history repeating itself? Just replace ‘gooks’ with ‘sand niggers’ and ‘North Vietnamese Army’ with ‘Al-Qaida’ and this could be a movie about the Iraq misadventure.