The circle of life

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As I take pictures of her, I’ve realised that it is not about her. It is about me.

It is about the memories we’ve shared. The times when she’d take me to Mohan’s or Chellaram’s or Higginbotham’s and buy those things dad would not. The times when she’d sit at her large desk in Collector’s office as the Tahsildar and I’d feel proud visiting her.

I realise it is about my childhood. She was my angel in that period. The person who I could go to for anything and receive undivided attention.

It is also the realisation that our relationship peaked in 1990s and has somewhat declined ever since.

Adolescence took me in a direction away from home. To look good in the eyes of outsiders, who I didn’t even know, mattered more than those at home. And adulthood took me in a different direction away from home too. The pursuit of things and the pressure of creating a career took me away from them.

It is very easy for me to repay all of that in money and kind. However, I cannot repay that in ‘time’. The ‘time’ she (or dad or mom) spent with me, I can never repay. The only way I can do it is by paying-it-forward.

By spending more time with my kids.

And I know my kids will spend less time with me one day. They will probably spend more time with their kids. That is life.

Sisters

We brought her home 2 days after her birth.

I was anxious. What does this do to our first girl? She’d shown signs of feeling neglected when Amma couldn’t spend time with her in hospital.

When we went shopping for the baby, she kept asking, ‘who are you getting these for?’. I got her a few toys and pretended like we were really shopping for her.

Mama’s time was now split and she probably realised things would change. And cried about it. I felt sorry for her.

Surprisingly, she warmed up to the baby very quickly. That night, she went close to her and caressed her feet. I took the baby and gently gave it to her. She held her for a while, very carefully.

“Appa, she’s sooo small,” she said.

I nodded my head, lost in my own thoughts.

Grandpa

Grandpa!

The only person who can give her completely undivided attention!

When she’s in Shimoga, grandpa’s orbit shifts around her. From taking her on his morning walk to having breakfast together, from having his staple evening masala dosa  to watching kannada plays and yakshaganas, from visiting friends to even taking her to medical council meetings… they literally spend all the time together.

Few days later, we return to Bangalore. He calls eagerly to talk to her.

“Tell him I’m busy,” quips she, cuddling her toys!

Being daddy!

She invades your personal space like no one else can. Yet, you don’t mind.

She shares her fear of monsters and expects you to slay them. You hug her hard, for you were responsible in bringing her to this big bad world!

Her world is filled with good rabbits and bad wolves. Beanstalks that grow to the sky and ogres taller than trees.

And princesses locked up in castles!

It hurts you no end that the rescuer is always a prince in shiny armour. Not daddy!

There’s only one man in her life. Daddy. You think, wishfully.

One day, she will be out seeking a new man of her choice. You have to let go!

Relationships are hard and messy. Yet, being a daddy to your little girl is special. You’ll do it again without batting an eyelid.

Shutter jam

I am a professional photographer.

Strange things are happening around me! I cannot explain it yet.

I think it all started after that particular client meeting on August 5th. The meeting was a disaster!

We met at CCD. The old man wanted a photographer for his daughter’s wedding and had asked for my portfolio.

I would have been fine if he had simply rejected me. He rubbed it in by laughing at my photos. “Enappa idhu? Ondu photo’nu nettagae illaa!”, he pushed the sample album aside with a smirk on his face.  It was the most humiliating moment in my career! He didn’t even pay the coffee bill, I had to.

What a jerk!

As he got into his car, I took my camera out. For some reason, I wanted to take his picture.

I pressed the shutter button. It didn’t work. Damn!

The shutter button had gotten jammed. I took it to the service centre. The technician took it in. He came back after 10 minutes and said he didn’t find anything wrong with the camera. The shutter button worked just fine.

“Really?”, I asked. Continue reading

Daughter diaries: Funbrella

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My daughter got an umbrella as a gift for her 5th birthday and she’s been in love with it ever since. There is something about the umbrella that I can’t explain well enough.

Kids associate it more with play than with utility. They can have fun with mundane everyday objects. Tells us we have a lot to learn from kids!

Open it up, lo and behold, you have a tent! Sometimes, it’s a boat that you can sit inside. Be a prankster and rotate it after returning from heavy rain, sprinkling water all over the place. If you are creative enough, the umbrella is a lot of fun!

“Chaththri mane” (umbrella house) is a favorite playtime activity of the kids.  Open up multiple umbrellas, form a closed shelter and play for hours inside. Sometimes they have a fight and one will pickup her / his umbrella and head home. Sometimes, they play ghost inside and try to scare each other. Sometimes, they cook up prank-recipes in giggly tones!

To my daughter and her friends, the umbrella is more of a toy than a utility item. To them, it’s a ‘funbrella’.

PS: Originally, I had no plans to add this image to the photo essay on my kid. I printed a lot of images yesterday and asked her to pick her favorite – she picked this image. That was when I realized how much she likes the umbrella. This image was shot in poor light with my cheap phone, which shouldn’t matter to anyone. It certainly didn’t matter to my daughter!

Daughter diaries: Who will clean the poop?

“Whisky, my name is Whisky!!”, she quipped and started licking the plate.

Our neighbour has a pup dog named Brandy and the tiny fellow has become the attention of all the kids in our area. They swarm around the pup, dote upon it and play with it a lot.

My daughter came to me and said she wanted one too. “Ok”, I said. “What shall we name the pup?”, she asked. “Theirs is Brandy, lets call ours Whisky”, I said.

A 1000 watt bulb flashed on her face. She doesn’t know what brandy and whisky mean, but I guess the name was catchy enough to get her excited. She pretended like a pup, calling herself Whisky and goofed around a bit, until a realisation hit her.

“Who will clean up the poop?”, she worryingly asked me a few moments later.

“Of course, you will!”, I said.

“Then I don’t want a puppy!”, she stated dismissively and went back to playing with Sahil who was lost in his own world of disfiguring another toy!

Tapprs rental as a business

‘Why do you want to get into equipment rentals?’

A financially savvy friend of mine asked me.

Few of you might know that I handle Tapprs as a hobby venture.

Equipment rental, esp dealing with equipment like photography gear is

  • a high risk business and equipment damages can hurt returns
  • is dependent on volumes and return per rental activity is small
  • is capital intensive (to make more money, you need to pump in more and buy more equipment)
  • break even period is about 75-100 days worth of rental which in calendar terms could work out to more than a year for a very successful rental shop and could take 3 years for those that aren’t as successful. In 3 years, the equipment could fall out of favor from the user crowd.

Continue reading