Friday, February 29, 2008

Childhood Jingle

Mina mina
Daam... Doom...
Duss... Puss...
Koin... (n is nasal)

I heard this jingle today after a long, long time since my childhood. Whenever someone farted, we kids used to sing this to embarrass them. We used to pinch close our nose and I think we were also dancing in a particular way while singing so that it sounded and looked awkward.

The jingle does not mean anything because except two nouns (Avalaki and Kaanchana) all other words are gibberish. This jingle brought a flood of memories of those years.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Encounter with an Eminent Lensman

Early in the morning this wednesday, Gyani and I drove to the house of legendary photographer, T.S. Satyan who lives in Saraswatipuram. After we got the octagenarian on board, we drove to a small hamlet, Hemmaragaala which is about 15-20 kms after Nanjanagud towards Chamarajanagara. We were on a mission of photo shoot at Santana Venugopalaswamy temple there.

T.S. Satyan is a celebrated photojournalist of India; he was born in 1926 in Mysuru and after a highly successful career in photography he returned to his beloved city for good.

As an amateur photographer, I always harboured a desire to see this living legend at work. He had seemed elusive and unresponsive during all my previous encounters with him, though I never vocalised my desire which laid buried deep down inside. When Gyani told me about the trip on Tuesday evening I was like 'hey some one pinch me...'

At Hemmaragaala Satyan was in his elements. The pristine and quaint charm of the hamlet impressed the photographer and he started shooting immediately. He saw me carrying a digital camera and without me asking started telling how to compose a photograph, which angle looks good, what kind of light is better, etc. Only then I could muster myself and asked him, why does he prefer black-and-white photographs over coloured ones. Well he seemed disappointed with my question, of course it was stupid, but nonetheless explained why.

Satyan showed me the scene he had just shot and told that the if the photo were to be in colour it would be dull but when it is in black and white, we can click it in a higher contrast and the texture of the scenery is highlighted which would otherwise get distracted by the colour. It was a revelation for me.

During our drive back home we crossed another hamlet of Badanavaalu. Satyan became nostalgic and said that he had taught in that village. This came as a surprise since we didn't know he had worked as a teacher. When Gyani told him that, his reply was amazing.

In pre-independence India Mysuru was being ruled by Wodeyars and under kings like Mummadi Krishnaraja, Chamaraja, Nalwadi Krishnaraja and finally, Jayachamaraja, Mysuru progressed in all aspects, be it infrastructure, culture, irrigation, economy, literacy, etc. One among the many things that Mysuru pioneered was the adult literacy programme. For the first time in the country Mysuru initiated this concept and college students were supposed to go to rural areas and teach adult village folk. This was kind of a rural posting which they had to do for a few months in order to qualify for the graduation and Satyan was posted at Badanavaalu and surrounding villages.

Satyan revealed that along with adult literacy another movement that was initiated in Mysuru was Youth Hostel which has now grown into the gigantic Youth Hostels Association of India. He started recounting his fellow scouts and friends who went on to occupy international offices.

At this point my eyelids started growing heavy and I was lulled to sleep by the drone of the car and the breeze. Though I consciously love it, unconsciously I still seem to get bored of unknown names and dates of history. My snores betrayed my best intentions and I was later told by Gyani that they earned a look of disapproval by Satyan. Well, that's my encounter with T.S. Satyan as close as I have ever got.