Wednesday, 1 January 2014

its a wrap

As it is time to wrap another year, it might be a good plan (at least for me) take a look at the year gone by. Actually the year has already been wrapped. I wanted to post this last night but sorting photographs always takes a lot of time. I have tried to choose one or two moments that defined the particular months to string the year together. Anyway, here it goes:

The new year was ringed-in in the usual fashion - by sleeping through it. That is the tradition I follow every year. Although, there was something different this year. After several years I was welcoming the new year with my parents in my home town. That of course made everything more exciting.


In January I was on fieldwork and visited this very old (pre independence) house. Its roof was built on a mesh of bamboo sticks which have never been replaced and repaired. In the photograph we can see the windows just near the roof. I was told that this is a good way to distinguish old houses from the new. People preferred high windows in the old days to keep their female family members 'safe' and also for privacy. The windows were operated by two long ropes by pulling one to open and the other to close. Of course in the new houses people build the windows at a much lower level.


February was a very happening month and I came by several exciting things. The first was this high-tech looking panel which was not actually high-tech. This was a mobile phone charging station in a far off village. It has about 100 sockets which can be used to charge as many phones at a time. People  travel to this charging place from several miles to get their phone charged. An exciting innovation for me.


I saw the roads getting coloured red during this communist party protest against the central government rally. The power of politics and the power of the common people was clearly at display as they brought everything at a halt only letting an army barricade to pass by (as their duty to the nation was paramount). The highlight was me encountering a small time local party leader who gave me a long lecture on Marx and Engels which did make some sense (power of marxism). As I went around taking picture the participants often posed for me and asked me what newspaper I came from. At one such instance when I had now answer, a leader said,"Oh! you are going to put the pictures on Facebook" (the power of capitalism).


I am not sure if I was able to wash all my sins away (and put some credit for the future in my account) but this first visit to the great Kumbh mela was certainly one of the highlights of my life. Taking a dip in the holy sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the Saraswati was worth experiencing. The gathered crowd, the various rituals being followed, people from various caste and classes merging into their own sangam, were all worthy of the hype that they get. One could clearly distinguish between the the Ganges which was muddy in colour and the Yamuna which was dark in colour, at the sangam.


March was about wrapping up the fieldwork. Having covered 5,533.25 Km over the last 9 months, the bike was tiered and so was I. It was time to wrap the village stage and move to Delhi. The kilometres covered during the field work had so many different emotions attached to them. Fear, sadness, excitement, delight are only some of them. 


April was about flying back to the UK, an exciting prospect in itself. This was the second time I was flying into Heathrow, a scary prospect in itself. Thankfully everything went smoothly. I did not take any pictures at Heathrow like the last time when I had for the first time landed on the British soil. Technically it was concrete. It wan't until I had firmly settled myself into my college that I touched any soil. 


May was a time to find new in the old and old in the new. Seeing London (very briefly) for the first time and visiting the beach (more like the coast) for the first time. 


More boundaries broken during June. I got a free 5 day trip to Wales which is an incredible (and incredibly wet) place. Hills, lakes, youth hostels, nature walks, hydro power station under the hill, sustainable living cabins, what more could you ask for.


July's excitement came from the Durham Brass festival which played great music to celebrate by birthday. Several bands, different instruments, varied styles, all for my birthday. I was touched.


August was about visiting London (properly) for the first time. By now I has already been to London two times. Although this is when I actually saw it. Big ben wasn't as big as I had imagined. The Westminster was grander than I had thought. The London eye seemed to be a waste of time (avoided it). The protest against the probable war on Siriya and it taking over the Trafalgar square is not something that every tourist gets to see. From the black taxies to the red busses, it was London all the way.


Technically this was also London. But a visit to the Baker Street and a childhood wish fulfilled is certainly something worth a mention. A fan of Sherlock Holmes gets filled with excitement with just the name, Baker Street. It houses a Holmes museum which I could not get into due to the long queue in front. So, I ended up taking a tube from the historic Baker Street station.

September and October

It was the thesis. 


Lumiere retured to Durham in November. It is always an exciting time when people come to Durham. One would never see as many people in Durham as one sees during the lumiere. It was subdued compared to last time. The management could certainly have been better (take it from someone who waited 40 mins to get into the market square). It was great however to see the university get involved with two great displays at the Science site.


December was about visiting Edinburgh for the Christmas market. The rain which lashed on all day certainly dampened the spirits but not completely. The market was very good although didn't not seem to have the variety that I saw in 2011. 

It seems that the whole world is changing and becoming boring in some parts and exciting in the others. Time to discover the more exciting parts. Time to move on.

Well, what can I say? I am quite ready for another adventure (Bilbo Baggins)..... 


  1. great photography and great writing..........

  2. Enjoyed this post and seeing the year through your experiences : )
    Great point on not touching British 'soil' till you reached your college. So true!

    Happy new year Ankit, may it bring you all new adventures!