Monthly Archives: April 2010

Down down they go

Going down the escalator at the Liverpool Street tube station. London

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Not something always seen!

Coming home after work this evening I really wanted to take some photograph to go home and work on tonight, not that I don’t have other work piled up and so many books screaming to be read – but I had this vicious urge to capture something.

Walking by Shoreditch and Hoxton in London, I am privy to all kinds of graffiti art and occasional instances where vandalism has actually manifested itself rather intrinsically into some kind of befuddling piece of artwork. I have seen most of these pubs and graffiti walls day in and day out and they have become such a cliché that there is nothing alluring in them anymore – graffiti was not what I was looking for tonight.

But, walking by a pub I saw a man in a shirt walking up and down talking to his phone, he was far off and his shirt was nothing special – until I saw the obviously accidental colour coordination between his shirt and the wall nearby, he was walking nowhere near the wall and hence the significance I saw in this simple shirt was fast diminishing. Until he began to walk near it, I followed him in several directions at the possible risk of getting beaten up trying to get the best possibly shot and this is what it resulted in.

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Shy

My cousin as a three or four year old. Quite the drama queen, just like her mother.

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On Nationalism and things at home.

I read Arundathi Roy’s book The Ordinary person’s Guide to Empire some time ago, quite recently I came across the book again and a particular paragraph I read stuck me rather strongly.

“An anti national is a person who is against her (or his) own nation and, by inference, is pro some other one. But it isn’t necessary to be anti national to be deeply suspicious of all nationalism, to be anti nationalism. Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of coloured cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead. When independent, thinking people (and here I don’t include the corporate media) begin to rally under flags, when writers, painters, musicians, film-makers suspend their judgement and blindly yoke their art to the service of the nation, it’s time for all of us to sit up and worry. In India we saw it happen soon after the nuclear tests in 1998 and during the Kargil War against Pakistan in 1999. In the US we saw it during the Gulf War and we see it now, during the War against terror. That blizzard of made-in-China American flags.”

I do respect Arundathi Roy for some of her writings, but I am not the most ardent fan of her works. But in this paragraph I think we as Sri Lankans have points to ponder.

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Sunflowers among the Terraces.

Wild sunflowers in an almost derelict residential site, Scotswood Newcastle upon Tyne.

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Rhythmic Diaspora Exposed!

Those who have been on Kottu long enough to remember the first  would see the title and smirk, “ha ha blogstitute” with fingers wagging in proportion to their stretched out tongue.  Well, this is an exposure of a different kind.

This blog is only about photographs, and photographs only that which I had taken and with my camera, and any accompanying text usually is a piece of gibberish that compliments the photograph.

But for the first time in the several year history of this photoblog, it will host a blog post sans a photograph taken by myself.

I have met several Sri Lankans through online social networking sites (other than facebook of course), the first was Chamina who I met on flickr, and to this date she is a very good friend of mine and we don’t miss the opportunity to meet for a bite somewhere in London over a productive session mostly consisting of juicy Sri Lankan political gossip on a whole plethora of different dimensions, and just life in general.

Relatively recently I got to meet pseudorandom, again a very nice person I am truly glad to have met albeit a bit too much of a fan of Cheryl Cole, particularly if she was wearing something purple .

I have a lot of people who were friends first before they became bloggers, but clearly there is a difference between meeting new people who become good friends via blogging, and getting to know that an old friend is a blogger.

The rest of the bunch I got to know via twitter, but sadly I have not got an opportunity to go to Sri Lanka since twitter got ever so rampant about mid last year to meet these ‘tweeps’ in person, though I do have a vague idea how these people look like. Inshaallah I will be coming home before this September and meeting some of these people is definitely on my to do list.

This other person I had the utmost pleasure of meeting is Rhythmic Diaspora, of course there is a lot of vociferous intellectual jargon hovering about the air suggesting that in fact he should be called ‘Rhythmic Transnational’, on a purely scholarly sense it may be correct to call him Rhythmic Transnational – but who cares, Diaspora is what we are used to in day to day conversations  and besides, if that was to happen he will share the same acronym used for Rotten Tomatoes, now we all don’t want that do we ? So Diaspora it is.

As RD has already said here, I went to this film screening he invited me to. I had seen the film before, so quite sincerely I went to meet the great Diaspora himself since many of my friends have spoken highly of him.

He was on my facebook at the time, but for a young architect – my rather photographic memory failed me when it came to remembering how he looked like, as if to suggest that RD is some elevated person who when poked in the shoulder your finger will meet icy cold air. So rather pensively I walked in, followed by as RD has described them my couple of glamorous groupies. To my surprise, there were a lot of people of all hues and saturations, and this resulted in my mind becoming rather benumbed, with the groupies monitoring my every step like vultures gazing at a fat carcass I had to act swiftly, and to make it worse no one was wearing name tags. And then, after a few seconds that felt like eternity, the wheels began to spin, just as it would to anyone subjected to such scrutinous pressure. With a slight sense of apprehension albeit with conviction, I began to look for someone wearing a ‘Superdry’ label and the groupies nodded in familiar awe, not because they knew what I was doing but clearly they knew I was up to something.

And Lo and Behold! There was RD dressed in smart casuals with the unmistakable and now talismanic superdry label adorning his shirt.

Thus began the first of our many encounters.

I have met him twice after that and I must confess, devoid of any semblance of sarcasm that it is genuinely a pleasure to have met RD.

I don’t mean to hack what many people who have met him already know, or reinforce what people who speak like they have met him already endorse – but RD is an absolutely nice person to spend some time with. Given the fact that I am much younger than the still young RD (no..really), I feel that I am under no pressure to make an unconscious effort to assert myself, like one may generally tend to do when in the company of peers – but rather I can chill out and just be a ‘podiyen’ and bask in the atmosphere knowing there is someone with greater experience and maturity to handle things.

I am honestly thrilled that I got to meet someone of the calibre of RD, someone who understands things in depth and someone who would rightly know the most appropriate way to handle things. For a drummer, he is incredibly soft spoken and is polite to the most meticulous nuance of his voice. There is a sense of comfort and nonchalence  when he speaks, and I hope I have enough liberty to say that having met him just so many times I am not in unease in conversing with him.

Enough sugar there to make a diabetic whince, eh?

With due respect to the fact that RD has been blogging for a couple of years more than I have and anything of the ‘pants wearing side’ has never surfaced, I am certain that not many people will be able to expose any juicy gossip, except perhaps C if she reads this post.

So until then, everything‘s superdry!

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The Pear, the grains and the Shadow

Solitary pear on my desk. Taken in one of the many all nighters I spent in the library, such meaningless things are usually what helps us studnet types to fight the gloomy monotony that enshrouds us when we work to a deadline.

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