Sunday, December 19, 2010

MTDC Resort, Karla – A painful stay

It was a perfect setting for a wonderful weekend; close friends, booked cottages at MTDC Resort of Karla, filled car fuel tank and kids were jumping in joy. The drive was equally good on Pune expressway, overseeing the valley of Lonavala and how the newly built bungalows painted the hills. The chill in the wind reminded us winter, the hard-to-find season in Mumbai.

The first glimpse of the MTDC’s resort in Karla was touching – old trees making decent shadow all over the huge campus. The cottages are scattered around one side of the Indrayani River, where they also managed to make a dam, and on that boat & water scooter rides. We checked-in to our designated ones, unfortunately they were located at the tail-end of campus. Though we didn’t mind the location, it was pretty much easy two minutes drive to the restaurant.

So far so good, paddling the boat coupled with two shots of vodka made us hungry and we were looking for a nice lunch. Our good times started seeing a blurred vision when it was more than ten minutes and nobody came to take the order at the ‘Indrayanai Restaurant’, the only food joint within the resort. After raising some voice, someone reluctantly took the order and then started another long wait. Again some shouting and meeting the captain at the counter brought us half the amount of roasted papad, heard the rest are coming from the store. Then there was a series of events which were enough to put us off, finished rice, half-boiled chicken and hurriedly made dal without salt.

After the utterly disgusting lunch, we thought of ordering our evening snacks well in advance and will ask them to deliver at our cottages. There came the next blow, they do not deliver in cottages! Today when every smallest of the small shop is giving a free home delivery for customer satisfaction, this great rule of this resort finally killed our well-planned evening. Then it was series of drives from the cottage to the restaurant and back. They not only discourage having food in the cottages, but also do not provide any plates with the order. When we had to pay for the quarter sized paper plates, we finally thought of calling it a day there.

Lastly, the next morning they delivered the bed tea at 8:30 AM which was ordered for 7 AM, that also after making rounds of calls. This is my worst weekend holiday experience in Maharashtra in almost a decade.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wedding Photography in India

There are lots have been changed in Indian weddings, from in-house events to farmhouse or hotel, from long planning & effort of family members to professional wedding planner, and in some cases, from prolonged rituals to legal marriages – Indian weddings have seen a sea change in last twenty years. But even now, when it comes to wedding photography, most of couple or their family members tend to think of the studio guy around the corner – that also book them at the last moment and bargain to the extreme extent in which even the studio guy around the corner cannot deliver quality works!

And the irony is as soon as the wedding is over, farmhouse owner will not allow you to stay more than an hour after your time is over, all the yummy food will be remembered till the guests reach their home and all the decorations will be of no use at the next morning. So what’s left from the big fat wedding? The photographs, period. And the photographer is bargained in such a way that he is left in just survival state, leave alone delivering stunning images.

With loads of experience in shooting weddings and delivering great images, we at ‘The Wedding Studio’ face the same challenges; perhaps not as much as the studio guy faces regularly. All the future brides & grooms and their family members need to understand, to get stunning images from a wedding, they must allow the photographers do their best job – idea of getting one in good bargain will make them a looser, if not always.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chennai Food Guide

I always feel withdrawn whenever I get the flight tickets to Chennai; as the Rasam & Idli sambar do not share a very good relationship with my taste buds. This time, I thought to check out couple of things - the nightlife in Chennai and some decent food joints near the area I was staying - Mylapore. Here goes my small review:

Nightlife in Chennai is almost ceased to exist on the week-nights. My first try was at Zara Tapas Pub, the most happening place in Chennai these days. Unfortunately, 'stags are not allowed' - and they mean it. There were few foreigners who were trying to get in, but couldn't.
Then I hopped to the one at Hotel Savera. Decent one with a specious dance floor, but empty! There were not more than 5/6 people all together. But the bartender guy was very friendly - 'Malay', as he said his name. Music was pretty much sedative kind, but they said its different in the weekends - the only difference is the party starts at 7 PM and the entire pub is closed by 11:30 PM; really early, eh?! So guys, if you're looking for a night out in Chennai, make sure you start early and then rush to the food joints to feed your stomach.

'Kadaikudi' - the specialist Tamil Nadu food chain in Chennai. Try out their Chicken Kadai with Paratha, spicy stuff but a very good change from regular dosas & sambar.

'Amrapali' - the Andra food joint is nice for their Biriyani and the Black Pepper Roasted Chicken. You can have that with Dosa, along with the chatnis. Don't forget to taste the special chatni made out of red chilli & ginger - very spicy & hot to open up all your senses!

'Coconut Lagoon' - Located just at the top of Amrapali, this place is famous for their Keralite style. 'Kari Meen' fish preparation within a banana leaf is a must try. It's a mouthwatering starter and then followed by the beef preparations. Well cooked, nicely served - this place will surely give you some memorable food!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two new brands

Adventure Travel – is all about it. I started this service throughout India and some places in abroad as well. Adventure travel is one thing which always pumps in adrenaline for me, and I did a lot of it on Indian Himalayas. The Nomads is catering to all the needs of casual travel, adventure travel or extreme honeymoon in India.

The Wedding Studio
We launched a wedding photography service this month – ‘The Wedding Studio’. Along with me, there are few photographers who joined hands in this project and we are getting great response from all over the world. To change the face of Indian wedding is the idea behind this service and I’m sure there will be quite a number of ‘would-be couple’ who actually want their wedding images as it all happened rather than the traditional posed ones.

I would be more than happy if any of my readers have any question on any of the above services.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


6 photographers. 11 nights & 10 days. More than 2500 kilometers. Jammu - Srinagar - battle grounds of Drass & Kargil - Leh - Hemis festival - Pangong Tso - Nubra Valley - Tso Moriri - Tso Kar - Keylong - Manali. More than 7000 shutter clicks.Freezing nights. Shooting at 18380 feet - world's highest motorable road. And finally, back with tanned skin & frostbites.

What else? Perhaps the best 10 days of life, well spent! If the greenary of the mountains of Kashmir was welcoming, then the passes of Chang la & Baralaccha was scary, not to mention the great Khardung la. Short of breath was way to life, and a charming team was the life to it.

Though this is not the first time I went to Ladakh, but every time I reach in front of those mighty mountains; I see, I feel them new & warming to my heart. Every mountain has something to say in different colours at different times of the day. The Indus & Zanskar are flowing at their own pace since ages & changing colours with seasons. And the Buddhist monks are chanting the heart-warming mantras for life, after-life.

What else? I'm still in a hangover of mountains...can't say more. The images will be available here.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Little update, nothing much...

The uncanny feeling for not been able to put few words on this blog has just become lively in last few days. Blame it to some of my friends, who can literally see the end and deserve well to whip for not writing. I’m thankful to my fate for gifting such wonderful friends, who can be philosopher & a guide at any given time.

Well, last couple of months passed in jiffy just by settling me at my own place. It’s something like a great carpentry hole which is so perfect that the piece of wood which goes in doesn’t have any chance to make little sound, leave alone the frail chance of coming out! I did that, and now mostly successful in not making noise.

But the good thing is the shutter was not out of reach from my fingers for long in these days. There were few assignments, which went well and I’m expecting to have few testimonials from my customers for photography. And finally, it’s the call of the mountains again…Ladakh beckons – and this time its arranging & managing complete tour for a bunch of photographers to the mystique land of Ladakh. ‘Photo Tours India’ – my photo touring company has started showing great response and now it’s my turn to deliver more than expected.

Rest after I come back from the mountains…

Friday, April 2, 2010

Someone is there…

My lonely soul is used to opening up the lock of the door, recite loudly at the wee hours of the day or sing at the highest pitch in bathroom. My lonely soul is used to warming up the food; celebrate each dinner with television or working with my images for hours – till the crows say, it’s morning, at times. My lonely soul is also used to reading poetries & sonnets, pour glassful of wine and celebrate my non-happening life.

I didn’t know I’m in love with my lonely soul unless someone came to stay for a night with me. I came back from my day’s work, and didn’t find the key in my pocket. Did I lose it? I thought for a moment. Then I remembered someone is there inside to open the door…slowly my finger pressed the door-bell. I really don’t remember when I had seen the switch of my door-bell last time. The door got opened, I entered my apartment. For fraction of a moment, I felt like my space has been occupied and honestly, I didn’t like it. Then I went for a shower, and habitually I started singing at my highest possible pitch and just that time I remembered, someone is there and he might not like this – I stopped. It was dinner time, and I had to arrange it on the usual dining table. The single couch probably felt bad that night which used to be warmed by me every night. And at the mid of the night when I woke up, lit up a cigarette, and a song of Tagore was playing deep inside my mind – I dared not to blow up my cacophonous voice, just because someone is there.

The day is not far when there will be lot of people around me day-in and day-out. I know that will be another habit of mine to share the space. The lonely soul will slowly go inside the shell like a snail takes its body in. But it will be there; it will very much be there and will wait till it gets its own space. Amen.