I've always thought of Godavari as a place schools used as a half-hearted destination for field trips. Yeah...I've been dismissive about it. The one time I ever went to Godavari as a kid was with my mom, a cousin and her adorable little daughter. I think I was barely six or seven myself.
My mother took me there because I'd missed a trip made by my class. I went with trip-sheet and all. But I don't remember whether I'd enjoyed it or not.
My second visit came last year when the school where I teach decided to take its kids for a field trip. Again, I was dismissive. Scoffing at the class teacher's decision to take the kids there. Why Godavari, of all places.
When I actually got there, what I knew of Godavari proved to be nothing but a concoction of my presumptuous mind.
What beauty. Godavari blew me away. Instead of taking pictures of the kids as the designated photographer that I was, I wandered off, snapping away at everything the place had to offer.
There's a quiet joy to holding a camera, taking it close to an object, letting it nuzzle what it intends to frame. There's an intimacy to the whole act. And suddenly, photography becomes less about capturing or revealing. None of that awkwardness of posing and being defined by the frame of a photographer. Natural poise meets curious eyes. Something comes of this. A kind of love-making, if you will. A kind of shared solitude.
Secret whispers. Silent gestures. Objects telling their authentic stories. That is what I am drawn to. And the closer I can get, the more satisfying the experience. I am a sucker for close-ups.
I don't own a macro lens as yet. But I try to make do with what I have.
Luck would have it that I visit Godavari again. And so, for the third time, again for a field trip, I happened to be there yesterday.
My heart is at ease. I could live forever in places like this. How come it's only the third time I've been here? Misplaced priorities? I'd blame infrequent school trips.
So there's photography on one hand. And Godavari on the other. A place like this really puts the pseudo-naturalist within me in place. With Godavari, I actually get to put aside ideas and revel in the immediacy of all the life around me. For some crazy reason, it's always raining in Godavari though. The dull greens, the dull browns, and the dull greys. All make for a winsome combination.
Close to the entrance, you have what is probably the cleanest, most lush street you will see in our city. It gives me the shivers because it feels like a street from some exotic foreign land. Never corresponds with my idea of Nepal. I love taking a picture from the exact same place every time I visit. It's not as breathtaking as the one I took last time, but it's still magical enough to bring to life the goblin within me.
My love for macro combined with my love for neglected corners. There is something I love about this photograph. I showed it to my colleague at work today and she said, "Eh, yo ta bigrechha hai?" I can't explain it to her, but that's probably what I love most about it.
So I have a clearer photograph of the same place, but I prefer this one. I like that it is diffused and dreamy. Mostly because it captures this restless mind's elusive desires. And gestures towards something like home. Although it's a really just a shabby little office within the botanical garden complex.
This is a flower. To think of the mass-produced, wide-petaled, crayon-scribbled flowers from our childhood. Yeah, flowers can be rebellious too. Also, the colours. The contrast. This will have to do until a macro lens helps me get more intimate with flowery things.
Orchid ko bot. Something about things being jangly and disconnected really tugs at my heart.
The lady conveyed such a strong sense of belonging to the nursery with all the baby plants. I like that she is turned away from me, ready to be consumed by her foliage-coated world.
Fern. Stylish. Sprigs of happiness. They give me so much comfort, sprouting here and there, reconquering the earth the way they do.
Another flower. This time the darkness in the background does the charm for me. Darkness - always so eager to tell its stories. If only we cared to listen.
Yet another flower. So we were inside the greenhouse aptly named 'decorative plants'. Looks like it'd make a fine print on one of Nana's kurtas. So pretty, in this translucenty way.
How did I manage to stumble upon this plant? It doesn't even look real. I love how much charm those little pale flower pods carry. An artist I met last January taught me that everything in nature gives colour to its neighbours. So when we draw, we must take care to colour in the reflection of certain things on certain other things. That's probably how this photograph managed to acquire a fourth dimension-like green-gray colour scheme.