Saudade

When I return

will I yearn

for that which you said

I’ll never feel again

Will I long

for the pauses

between each breath

the lanes between each junction

Will I desire

the sound of sunshine

the scent of the city

the touch of your warmth

Will I want

what you said we could have

what we could have been

what we were not

but should be

Will I want me

if I return

and be

another me?

Lipstick red

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best Free-Entry International Photography Contests

(and 6 paid entry ones where the fees is less than 20$ or 1000 Rs.)

Free Entry:

  1. Sony World Photography Contest
  2. Nikon International Photo Contest
  3. Olympus Global Open Photo Contest
  4. NTU International Photography Awards
  5. Istanbul Photo Awards
  6. Alexia Foundation Grants
  7. Cortona On the Move Photo Contest
  8. Smithsonian Photo Awards
  9. Leica Oskar Barnack Award
  10. Comedy Wildlife Photo Contest
  11. Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards

Paid (relatively cheap) Entry Fees:

  1. Gomma Grant
  2. National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
  3. Pictures of the Year International Photo Contest
  4. Kuala Lumpur Photo Awards
  5. Travel Photographer of the Year Awards
  6. Big Picture, Natural World Photography Contest
P_20170520_194657
Street art, Berlin

Cheers to Babylon

We’ll meet again one day

in Babylon, it’s not far away

I’ll lay out my armour

you’ll leave your armchair

We’ll sing tales of old

We’ll find out in time

Mozart’s unfinished requiem

You’ll play Lacrimosa

and I’ll call you Barbarossa

We’ll look for St. Clementine

is he still on his tea and croissants?

We’ll sing of Galileo

and reminisce Ronnie Dio

Do you think he feels hollow

Despite them chanting

Eppur Si Muove

And when you’ve found love

And I’ve found life

we’ll send each other postcards

written in the dark

in the shadows of a theater

while Lubitsch paints a story

and we find we’re turning thirty

We’ll raise our pens in silence

Cheers to Babylon.

 

Art?

I went to see the only Biennale in India yeserday, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. I’m writing this now while my memory is still fresh and my neurons are still reeling from whatever hit them. I had gone in 2012 for the same event, which was the first ever one of its kind in India. That had been more pleasing than this although I’m not sure whether that’s because we were a little exhausted from the journey yesterday to begin with. The only questions that still baffles me are: What qualifies as art? And who defines it?

Some of the exhibits were amazing. You could see the sweat, blood and tears, the sheer passion, perseverance and deliberate thought that went into making them. But those existed as only a handful. Most, frankly, were disappointing. Or maybe that’s just me. But here are a few of those that upon observation, did nothing to impress me and upon reading the description, left me more in love with whoever wrote it than the artist himself.

A giant sphere, about 3m in diameter, made of concrete and housed in a room. It tapered to a smaller area on the other side of the entrance to the room, so it looked like a giant concrete egg. The description was beautifully worded. I understood none of it, at least not in relation to the ‘sculpture’ I was staring at. The workers we hire have built several concrete structures for us. I’m sure they’d be done with a giant egg in no time. Give them a guy who’s good with words to craft an artsy essay about the egg and they’d be living as rich a life as the artist behind this. But then again, who appreciates those who make things that we can put to practical use anyway? Builders are not artists, right?

An enormous flat slab of rock placed in a hole. That was the underside of a crater. The artist wanted to show what the underside of a crater looks like. Because..someone cares?

A ‘light box’ experiment. This won the prize for most creepy artwork ever, if you can call it that. Life-size pictures of dead bodies in various garb, before they began decomposing, illuminated in light boxes, hung on the walls. At least this one made me think; what in the world made the artist want to hang pictures of dead blokes? But what  a genius. A 5-second crazy thought process leading to a disturbing idea, a few days of work and to label it art, well, it sells. He’s probably laughing it off at some beach in Mauritius with his buddies who are more alive than his subjects.

Some nude (very badly drawn) doodles. For some inexplicable reason, the art and wannabe-artsy community have always prized nudity. Ugly dicks and saggy breasts. In that case, a nude picture of my grandparents should suffice as ‘expressionism’, should it not?

Random shapes on paper made with newspaper cutouts and framed. As an ensemble, it exuded an air of antiquity. Upon closer inspection, each one looked like the work of a second grader. Another mastermind at work here. Give your girlfriend’s elementary class kids an art and craft project, a lot of glue and cheap newspapers to set their minds and little fingers loose on, and voila, you have art handed to you. Age them with coffee stains and lacquer, frame them, hang them all on a wall and make your writer-friend come up with a long, snotty description that leaves people feeling like it’s their fault for not understanding how this is a masterpiece.

A few dusty tiles on a concrete floor with some corners of the tiles painted in white or blue. It was meant to be a play on light. A white screen with a lamp shining on it. Because observing how light falls in the comfort of your house on your furniture and clean tiles is not artistic enough, obviously.

Another light experiment. This time, dozens of glass light bulbs hung in a room with a black background. At least put in some effort for crying out loud!

There were lots more in the same wavelength but I’ve named the ones that really put me off. It was, as are most modern art exhibitions, a collection of the works of eccentric and eternally high folk who, for lack of a better term and because they do not behave like madmen in social settings, society decided to label as ‘artists’. For all I know, we’re all artists in our own right. I remember reading a news article about a 4 year old somewhere in America who threw paint at a canvas and it earned her millions from an art collector.That, when there are millions of children who could actually paint much better than her, starving in various corners of the world. It left me indignant for a long time but I guess that’s when it started dawning on me that the world’s full of crazy people. And it’s they who define what ‘art’ means and it’s a definition that I disagree with.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the light bulbs. All the works I mentioned look substantially better when seen through a camera held at a specific angle and with an attempt at good photoshopping thrown in.

And these are a few of my favourite things

This post involves a lot of spiraling thoughts and some good stuff I stumbled upon which you might already know about. You’ve been warned.

I found a Vanda Miss Joaquim in the garden (a type of orchid, the national flower of Singapore), and decided to paint it in my LBB (Little Black Book), but I couldn’t find a paintbrush thin enough so I ended up using a skewer stick. Stick painting is surprisingly calming, more so than with paintbrushes.


I recently found Cassandra Calin‘s work and I’m in love. She is by far the best comic strip artist I’ve seen. Unlike your normal comic strips where the characters are exaggerated and fictional, hers are real and the strips are about real life problems so it really resonates with people.

Russia Today is my new go-to news source. They’re no-bullshit, no-censor, and they call out the biased view that most Western newspapers show. For example, the alleged “hacking” of the U.S. elections by Russia was shown on the RT news channel with a line saying “It’s always nice when there’s someone to blame,” which honestly gave me a good laugh. On a side note, I think that is one of the most sensationalized piece of fake news which publications that I used to have some sort of respect for (like The Guardian) have endorsed, and it’s completely killed any faith I have in such news sources. I am not a Putin fan but I agreed with him when he said that the United States is not some sort of Banana Republic that they can let their election results get hacked; they’re one of the most, if not the most, powerful countries on earth with their intelligence agencies spying on almost the entire world. Is it not an insult to themselves when they say that they let their system be hacked? Apparently, they just can’t digest the fact that their people voted for Trump. A huge majority. Judging by the number of Trump-supporter interviews I read before the election, it sounded like a pretty close call no matter what the left-leaning media spewed out to make it sound like Clinton was going to win.

On a lighter note, just found out that I’ve been awarded the DAAD-WISE scholarship and will be going to Germany in the summer for a research internship. Oh joy! I’ve been trying to find German bands to listen to (suggestions?) and brush up on my knowledge of their culture and etiquette. I know it’s a long time away, almost 6 months, but I’ve already started thinking of what to go shopping for. My spending habits need to be restrained. And this is coming from the author of the Consumerism article.

And here’s a Merry Christmas! Around this time each year, my mother tends to contemplate her Catholicism and call up a few of her relatives mostly to see if they’re still alive. After which she gets sick of them again for another year and decides to eat cake. This time, I’m going to try baking one. Cocoa powder here tastes like carbon so I thought I’d just melt chocolate bars into the cake dough. Hopefully it works out. Here’s a little doodle to spread some cheer

Hidden Dragon

You mask your scent with perfumes, your face with makeup, your body with clothes.
You mask your strength with guns, your beliefs with religion, your ego with jargon.
You mask your love with doubt, your relationships with milestones, your children with fear.
I stand naked and proud yet you call me the stealthy one, crouching tiger, but who are you, hidden dragon?