Sunday, November 13, 2005

Owls, Larks, and Lenses

"Most good photographers stop taking pictures after seven in the morning."

My stomach sank.

Anurag is one of those old-school chaps who think that to live life to the fullest, one should start by the completely pointless activity of waking up early. My father would love him. In fact, one of the earliest arguments I had with my dad was when he insisted that I wake up in the morning, and - of all things - tend to the garden.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm all for the green revolution, planting more trees, and making the world a rainforest, especially since taking photographs in a rainforest would be fun, but I could never pick up the shovel and start digging so I could plant a plant, or tree a tree, or whatever it is that horticulturists do. Even now, in the comfort of - where am I - ah, the coffee shop, when I think of gardening, my mind goes numb, my body aches, and I have horrible flashbacks of the time when a quiet sunday afternoon reading session was rudely interrupted by parents who had finished with the day's gardening and required my assistance to "add finishing touches", which in my family stood for "carry piles of compost out the gate, all the way to the end of the road, and dump it in the dumpster".

Thus, life found my dad and myself in a rather awkward situation - I had a father who considered his garden to be his first-born and his son to be a freak of nature, and my dad had a son who, for some reason he could never understand, preferred to sleep away through the morning when the lark was on the wing and the snail on the thorn. As in all households where the head of the family is an avid early-rising horticulturist and the tail a sensible chap who knew exactly what mornings are for, there was a bit of a strain in the otherwise cheerful and warm atmosphere. often, this strain culminated in in my dad taking potshots at me with scathing remarks like, "this would never have happened to an early riser", as I lay in bed with an toothache. No, we managed to save the tooth. Root canal. Painful. I have never shown my tricuspids to a dentist ever since.

Getting back to the point at hand, Anurag made one of those statements that made my stomach feel like it had hit an iceberg at full steam.

"The best time to take photographs is in the morning, before seven. After that, the light becomes a little too harsh."

That did it. Time to kiss nature and street photography good-bye, I thought. From now on, it's going to be indoors in strictly controlled conditions. Not very exciting, but a man has his limitations.

However, there have been situations in my life where events take a turn so as to render me awake in the morning. Most such events involve working through the night, or watching movies through the night, or working while watching movies through the night. So it happened that when I was stationed in Haridwar for almost a month, I found myself in one such situation. So Kakkar and I decided to do some carpe diem-ing and take off for the ghats in the wee hours of the morning, so we could watch the sunrise at the banks of the ganges. And I remembered Anurag's advice in time, and took my camera along.



And grabbed some tea on the way back. In fact, it was quite an efficient trip, and we even managed to get back to the hotel soon after dawn, which is, undoubtedly, the time of the day when men of reason go to bed.

Unless you want to spoil a perfectly good day by waking up and tending to your garden.


Eastmancolour said...

wonderful wonderful !

Just a thought...
if you had a drug for sleeping through the day WITHOUT any worry in the world

and one for being able to go WITHOUT sleep and being able to do all.

What do you take ?

Hope is evil...
the very meaning of that you arent satisfied..and you await..and seek..and thus.. find cause for sadness and depression among pennies of happiness.

it's a cruel thing..the mind !

the One said...

Ah, that second picture reminds one of the chaiwalla back home. One would always head for a cuppa directly after waking up, just before noon. One's house didn't have a garden, you see.

D said...

Early to bed, Early to Rise,
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
.. So went a nursery rhyme, I had dutifully memorised and followed. Used to wake up around 3:30 or 4 am, till engineering happened. Yet to see any of the wealth coming my way! And now, wake up on the weekends to run at around 6 am! Atleast the health bit is happening

RS said...

Am all with you on the early rising funda until a few days back when an aunty scared me with, "Oh, we all go through that phase! Then you get married, have kids and then you see the sun rise"

I dont talk much to her nowadays :)

twinky said...

at the obvious risk of sounding like a fawning fan, i still say dat i lowwwe these too...especially the chaiwaley uncleji, he reminds me of the chaiwallas i used to go to in benaras, every day...(but not early in the morning!)