Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Secrets

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Who doesn’t love a secret, especially the getting to know it;) We all grew up guarding secrets revolving around our ‘crushes’. Don’t tell me that it was otherwise for you! They are innocent and fun, for the most part. And then as we keep on moving ahead in our lives, secrets probably take on a different form and while being harmless, they maybe lose the component of innocence. Have you ever wondered what makes us keep secrets in our daily lives? This post made me curious and I looked up a few articles online, (this one was quite comprehensive https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/05/shhhhh/526581/) and now I am even more intrigued! Anyways…this post is not about serious secret keeping and so I am moving on to the fun part!

I was thinking  a bit about what to post when I  checked my phone in the morning for this week’s prompt but that got cut by the clock telling me to get school lunch ready. And then, something  strange happened. Something that can be called a stroke of serendipity. Do you believe in it?

The good man has taken up a few cleaning projects around the house recently since we seem to be running out of space, almost everywhere. This morning was the same and he found  a bag full of stuff, some of which were head scratching (for instance a tiny key on a shoe shaped key chain I have no memory of buying ever!) while some put a big smile on my face. And gave me the idea of what I could share with you.

 

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This is the same photo that is the icon on this site and was taken 10 years ago in a place that is very close to my heart. It is one of my favorite photos and makes me glad to be able to post it today. Can you tell what secret this photo holds? I would really love to hear.

Thank you Snow for this very intriguing, and at the same time a thoughtful prompt:) The Friendly Friday Photo Challenge has surely become a thing very close to my heart!

 

Thanks for stopping by and let serendipity find you!

 

 

 

A Photo a Week Challenge: Sun & Water

A beautiful topic for this week’s challenge at Nancy Merrill Photography There is something surely surreal about these two forces together and it seems we can never have enough:)

 

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A sunrise, the first I had seen after quite a few years, at Ocean City, MD

 

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This is one of my favorite photos from our trip to Florida (this one was during camping at the Everglades) about six years ago. While the sun is not on the water in this it still, for me, creates that magic.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge-Photo Edits

   Another interesting topic this week at the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge. While editing photos definitely add a wow factor, I personally try not to engage in major editing because I feel that has the power to sometimes take away  from the moment and the memory. Please note that I am speaking only for myself and I understand the  need for photos to be edited in order to highlight the story the photographer tries to tell through the pictures. I am not a photographer and hence am in no place to comment on the need! I take pictures to mostly capture moments that speak to me and while I do not have any photo editing tools at my disposal (an intentional act), I occasionally use good old  Microsoft Office and the basic editing features on my rather old iPhone for adjusting the brightness and color contrast! Maybe one day when I am able to take good pictures, I shall  give serious editing a try. For me, a novice, my fear is an incorrect edit might ruin the photo and the moment…do you feel that way ever? But I am slowly learning the tricks of editing by looking at the beautiful photos that are posted on a daily basis on the blogs that I follow and I hope I learn quickly to be able to get over my fear and give serious editing a try! For now, I am sticking with the most basic editing possible:)

For now, these are some of the before and after shots-

 

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Before

 

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After

 

 

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Before ( I was trying to take a photo that could be fit into the ‘still life’ category but there was too much light, I thought, as it was at the grocery store)

 

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After editing (I reduced the brightness to give it a little depth but was not sure if the edit made it better or not and so have not used this anywhere yet!)

 

 

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Before

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After ( Can you tell the difference though?)

 

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Before

 

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After

 

 

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Before

 

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After

 

 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all get some extra hours of sleep over the weekend!

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge- Alternative Version

   When I read Snow’s post for the weekly challenge of Friendly Friday  , John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ is what popped into my head right away. And though I was not sure what photos to post for this as I could not think about any at the moment, I surely did not want to miss out on this! And so I chose to participate.

   As Snow says ‘ It’s not necessarily a better version of things, just a different one, composed of the choices we didn’t make. And there are so many new choices we make every moment, starting right now.’ Choices are a crucial part of ‘who we are, who we choose to be’  and that’s a responsibility we shoulder everyday, without probably thinking a whole lot at all times. Choices often chart who we cross our paths with and what road that leads us down and where we find ourselves as a result of that. For instance around 2006, I chose to submit an application for the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program) on the very last date and at the very last hour, literally. I already had a job that I was happy at and was planning for my Ph.D and teaching in Japan was something I had absolutely never thought about. And guess what? I did end up getting selected, teaching,  having an unforgettable time and making a million memories during my two year stay in that beautiful country. I am not sure what the alternate version would have been (had I not applied) but I think it would not have been as wonderful . I met someone there who has become one of  my closest confidantes and while we live in different countries, she continues to be my dearest friend. And you know what else? I reconnected with Neel while in Japan (we went to the same high school and knew each other but weren’t really good friends) and over Skype calls, we fell in love with each other. A good twelve years later, here we are trying to navigate this chaotic world and figuring out how to raise responsible kids who know right from wrong and do not end up criticizing the amazing courage of the kinds like Greta Thunberg. (I was appalled to know the hundreds of hateful comments that have come her way…what is wrong with this world..i feel like screaming out at times!)

    I wish that the world was a bit different, a bit kinder, a bit safer. I still hope that it can be one day. There are many choices we could have made but we did not..some we probably regretted and some we celebrated. Irrespective of what we did and we did not, all those shaped us to be our current self and I hope, moving forward we are inspired to make choices that are responsible.

Sharing a very favorite photo that stands for that choice I made in 2006 that led me down an alternate path and I ended up being where and what I am today.

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A very powerful word, much stronger than its alternate.

 

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Tokyo Tower, signifying a rather significant alternate route I took!

 

 

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Taken in Minnesota near Two Harbors, we were contemplating going down these stairs as it would mean climbing them back up and near the end of our day trip, we were already quite exhausted. But I am glad we did go down these stairs as the view of  Lake Superior was remarkable. Though we could  see the lake quite well from strategic points at a higher elevation but going down, it was so different. There was serenity and a feeling of humbleness and it served as an appropriate ending to that day.

 

And since John Lennon came to my mind, here are the lyrics (in case you need them) for you to sing along!

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today (ah ah ah)
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.
Thanks for stopping by!

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge- Balconies

   I realize I write a lot about the days gone by and I wonder why that is. During the planning phase of this blog,  I was clueless for a long time about the direction I wanted it to take and while I still don’t have a niche, many of my posts involve stories from the past, sometimes woven into the theme and sometimes as the theme itself. It’s not that I live in the past or want to live in the past. I think it’s more of an attempt on my part to hold on to the wonderful memories and remember the people, while creating a path into the past for my kids through those.

    Trying to make a life in this adopted country of ours has its own excitement as well as intrinsic challenges, and trying to find a balance can sometimes be tricky. There are  things that, to be very honest, I do not miss about my country but then on the other hand, there are so many things tugging at the heartstrings that sometimes it makes me question decisions about the chosen path. But that’s what’s life is all about…you probably can’t have it all and that’s okay.

   For this week’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge I rummaged through my archive and could not find any beautiful balconies, and that made me wonder why and also gave me the idea of starting to photograph them…thanks Amanda! I looked at some of the other posts for the prompt and what a visual treat it was…as is generally the case:) But I also did not want to miss out totally and not post anything. So I am posting these two pictures that are personal and not architecturally appealing in any way, shape or form but balconies that tell stories dear to me.

 

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This is the balcony at my parent’s ‘flat’ in Kolkata, lit during ‘Diwali’ (the festival of lights). During this time of the year, which is actually a month away, one will find balconies, patios or any outdoor space in households celebrating this, lit up giving neighborhoods a wonderful cheery look. Along with fireworks that are on display everywhere and people all decked up, it surely is a night of gaiety! While I have not been home in a long time during this time, memories are galore- my favorite being the setting up the tiny candles and then going out and watching them from a distance to see if more could be fitted in!

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This is a photo of the balcony at our current apartment in New Jersey that I light up this way every Diwali (and also Christmas and New Year) to bring a slice of ‘home’ to our current home. Home is a feeling, a place of memories past and present, a feeling that calms your mind and soothes your soul. And I enjoy decking my balcony, even if it is with these simple lights during festivities and we enjoy Diwali as well as Christmas, Halloween and Holi and while I do reminisce the rustic pleasures of growing up in simpler times and under simpler circumstances, I thoroughly am enjoying this phase as well-making memories with my kids in a land far away.  While my husband and I do not try to shove ‘culture’ down our kids’ throats, we hope, with time, they will come to learn and like tales about their heritage, and find a way on their own to enjoy such festivals and embrace the differences and likeness of celebrations across all cultures and continents.

Thanks for stopping by and hope your week is going well:)

A Photo A Week Challenge: Changing Seasons

   My favorite season is here and I could not be more thrilled with this theme! While we suddenly had a summer-ish spell here in New Jersey last week,  it has started to get cooler and there is so much more color on the trees now. I took my camera out over the weekend and took some pictures that I am sharing for this week’s post by  Nancy Merrill Photography Glorious display of the reds, yellows and oranges made for a happy afternoon!

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Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!