December 17, 2015

#ExplorerSeries : To the Zoo

When was the last time you felt like a little kid and went to the zoo? For no apparent reason. Just. My family has a long standing love affair with the Zoo. My uncle, whom I call Nandusa, is a lover of zoo trips. On hardly a minute's notice, he will assemble the people in the house, hop into the car, pick up chips and chocolates on the way and head to the zoo. 

Hyderabad's Nehru Zoological park spreads over an area of over 350 acres and houses scores of different species of animals. My earliest memory of the zoo is of my dad driving a beat Maruti Omni and me and my cousin crammed in the back of the car with the door of the trunk propped open. We packed picnics and lunched out in the zoo park, right next to the lake or the model dinosaurs in the prehistoric park. After, we played with the frisbee and even enjoyed a couple of games of badminton hardly ever getting to beat my mum who was a local champ at the time. Even today, those Sundays spent at the zoo make for a happier time than a feverish trip to the overcrowded mall in the present. Simpler times were indeed the happier times.

And that is why, Nandusa loves to go to the zoo and loves to take us along. To be aware of a simpler happier time, when having fun was a shared lunch with the fake T-Rex. But we haven't been to the zoo in a while now. Our last trip was a couple of years ago and it was him, his brat of a daughter Suhana and myself with the camera. With half the family back home nursing our matriarch back to health, I decided to carry my camera along on the trip to document the trip as the father-daughter explored the zoo. This is also Suhana's first trip to the zoo after she grabbed the concept of animals and learnt to recognise them correctly. 

The following series of photographs are nowhere related to the zoo, it is a photostory of a father playing guide to his awed daughter. 

This is the first of the many posts that will subsequently follow in the #ExplorerSeries 
Would love to hear feedback.

November 25, 2015

Breathe, Intolerants. Breathe.

This is not a rant about how people are going ballistic over other people who say that India is transforming into an intolerant state. What is happening all across the news channels, facebook, whatsapp and twitter is a show of intolerance at a much deeper level. Life has come quite the full circle for us citizens. And because internet has a permanent memory, one cannot speak or post anything without the fear of scrutiny of their past activity on social media with a fine tooth comb. The most outrageous part is that you do not even have to be a celebrity to be put to criticism. Internet trolls can get you for what you are. Online harassment and shaming is far more deep rooted to be discussed loosely here, but this is where it begins - the word of the year - Intolerance

Spare me the honour of being a leftist or a rightist or an elitist or an exorcist for posting this at a time when the social media is going bonkers over Aamir Khan. I got no feelings for the man, like I got no reaction for Anupam Kher being pro-Modi. Let me correct that, I have a reaction alright, but it is not facebook-worthy. Every single time, a 'celebrity' has a brain-fart, I want to be able to just shrug over their lack of common sense, hurl an abuse or two and go back to doing whatever unproductive procrastinating I was doing prior to that. 

Don't get me wrong, I do care about my country. I watched all the Satyameva Jayate episodes, I know the problems India is facing. More recently I have made myself aware to the many more problems courtesy of On Air with AIB. I know for a fact that if I had to deal with these said problems, I will have to get my face off of that smartphone and look around, talk to people and stuff and work maybe. 

The point is : Not everything needs to be posted on facebook. An occasional jibe, fine, understandable. But Facebook is not twitter where you post daily updates about who you think is a prize-a**

You also do not have to tweet about every little thing that happens across the country, unless you are a stand-up comic. I harbour a bias towards them, for they make twitter tolerable. And unless you are a Kardashian whose opinions people don't really take seriously, quit harbouring angst, hatred and disgust on social media platforms. You may be starting a chain of reactions that will poison many a ears. 

If you have a strong reaction, sit around the dinner table with your family and discuss it to get more perspectives to it. And when you have an informed opinion, more factual and resilient, be my guest and post it on your wall. Try and stop being offensive in communal/religious/political ways, we have enough goons trying to ruin day-to-day with things these. Spread kindness and virtue and some good humour. Lord knows we all have forgotten to laugh.

If you are doing this trolling madness for that notifications tab to blip continuously, please share pictures. Of your wife, your baby, your weekend escapades to Khandala or your new iphone. Guaranteed likes. That should keep you happy and content.

The point of interacting with your friends and acquaintances on the social media was primarily to be 'social' without the hassle of meeting up with them daily. To basically keep in touch. Don't be that person who has a troll-ish retort to every morning to a news headline. We have enough creeps all over the internet, don't be one of them.

I am probably sounding preachy right about now, so I will stop.  


October 9, 2015

My Garba Garb and Social Awkwardness

Navratri is just around the corner and my facebook timeline is full of pre-events and people planning in advance. Falguni Pathak was in town just last week and it pretty much kick started the whole Dandiya/Garba fever. Irrespective of the community one belongs to or where they are from, Dandiya craze catches on. 

I, on the other hand, am not a very Dandiya friendly person. It sure involves one of my passions - Dancing. But it also brings to fore my social awkward behaviour around strangers in a dance-type setting. This is the same reason, 'Going to a Nightclub' is not on my bucket list. I'll clarify a few things here. I am a very social person generally. I will not be joking if I said I am a very happy smiling person around acquaintances and strangers even. And crowds make me jubilant. As long as it is an audience. I am somewhat of a performer, you see. If it is me on the stage, dancing, facing an huge audience then you will find no person happier than me. But dancing with scores of people you do not know gives me the creeps. So my Navratri nights are pretty much spent at home, playing dress-up with my little cousin. Social awkwardness does not get in the way of me getting all decked up! 

Sharing a few picture of my FAVOURITE lehenga which my Papa bought for me as a gift in 2011. The Lehenga is from Jodhpur and what I love about it is that it is a crazy colourful rendition of me on fabric. And the Gheraa (flare) of the lehenga makes it a perfect wear for a dance performance related occasion. 

No matter what your fashion weeks say about pastels and nudes, bright colour is the way to go if you are going Navratri shopping this weekend.


September 19, 2015

Our Imperfect Perfections

I turn 27 tomorrow and I have a confession to make. I am an imperfect human. 

I am not a great looker and my sense of style is perhaps misplaced. I am not an exemplary cook nor am I a prominent name in the profession of my choice. If I were to decide the course of my life, I would fail miserably at it for I know not where my heart really lies. One day I want to be a master homemaker and the other, I want to be the most successful person there can ever be. I define the word fickle and push it a new level each day. But it is okay. It is okay that I look at the timelines of all the 1000 friends I have on facebook and think about how perfect their lives are on paper. It is completely fine, that some days I choose someone else's life as a comparison scale for what I should live like. I am only human. And I am vain as most humans can get. Sometimes less, sometimes more. We have all been there. Our virtual realities overpower the sense of our real selves, and no matter how many clickbait websites tell you that 'facebook infused depression' is a disease, trust me it is not. It is in our nature to be jealous, to be happy and sad, all at once when a friend gets engaged or promoted. We have been gifted the ability to feel, and to feel a hundred emotions at once. Then why create a pathological parallel universe and bracket yourself as abnormal, when our reactions are as habitual as breathing and sleeping.

But we are not all a whirlwind of crazy. We are loving and silent and loyal. We are practical and dreamy and loud and very accommodating. Sometimes, all at once! I know I am. A single personality trait hardly ever defines me and I have gotten it checked, it's not a psychological condition. My heart and the head are always in a tussle and there is never a clear winner. There can never be a winner for what is right for the heart need not necessarily coincide with what the head wants. And that's just about fine. Because if everything could be figured out in no time at all without us putting a decent amount of effort into it, failure and wisdom would be redundant. Wouldn't they?

We are a mixed bag of imperfections and that is what separates us from the rest, that is what motivates us to be unique. In every way, we are unique. Paradoxically, we are one. 
In our imperfect perfections, we are all one.


August 27, 2015

My First Professional Assignment

First Shoot EVER!!!!

Coming soon! Baby announcement photograph :)

September 21, 2012
It was the day right after my birthday that my cousin talked me into doing her pregnancy shoot. And maybe I was feeling overly confident of my skills as a photographer, I said yes! I was officially treading down the path towards trying to be a professional photographer and earn my living through it. That day, I was scanning Pinterest and Flickr like there was no tomorrow, looking for photo inspirations. There were plenty and I felt belittled each time I came across a professional's photo shoot albums. I was basically a self-taught photographer with a fancy DSLR and a kit lens. And then there was the cousin who had put her faith in me, I could not let her down.

I chose my home for the shoot because I loved shooting in natural and available light and I knew the lighting in my house at the back of my hand. So I decided to use that to my advantage. We chose mid-afternoon as the perfect time when the light would be the brightest and she would have no morning sickness as she was in the 8th month of pregnancy (Note: More than photographing a child, shooting a pregnant woman in her third trimester is the most challenging. Her health should be the primary concern and the photographer should never attempt a shot at a place they are not familiar with)

And then, we began...! 
A few of the photographs from my first creative photo shoot.
One of the 'gender of the baby' announcement pictures. It's a boy! 

Photographs against interesting backgrounds

One of my all-time favourites. With all the plush soft toys and baby stuff.

The Mum, The Dad and the baby booties!

The fun parents photograph

I used a variety of properties for the shoot, but more on the essentials for a maternity shoot in another post. 
Till then, happy shooting! 

Clouds and the Endless Sky

Clouds are one of my favourite things to photograph on any day. Especially the sunset. The orange hues, the burning red, the calm and cool blue tones and the disturbed rainy grey blacks. Silhouettes and Panoramas, everything looks other worldly set against an expansive sky. Here are few of the pictures I clicked over the last few months, spread across the various seasons and solstices, some from my phone and some from the camera. Irrespective of the medium, these images will transport you.


Each one of these pictures spell out a moment etched in my head for life. Hope this resonates that.

Photostories By D - Work and Collaborations


Newborn, Children and Toddler Photography
Maternity and Pregnancy Photography
Couple Portrait Photography
Personal Portfolios
Pre-Wedding Photography
Candid Event Photography


The Shimmer Tales - Photographer and Style support

361 Degrees - Product Photography

7 times you piss off your Photographer!

We photographers are a crazy brunch. And we are also super chill. But when it comes to the nuances of our craft and the people ruining our vibe, we flip the switch and become raging monsters. As clients or friends, these might be the things you did to piss off that photographer friend but were unaware that you did.
Next time around, be warned.

1) Adding filters to the photographs that have already been processed for them by their photographer.

2) Using that free app on your phone to 'Photoshop' a body part, thus aesthetically ruining the whole photograph.

3) Making small talk about RAW images and not knowing what RAW actually is.

We know you have read a lot of blogs about Photography on Pinterest and you consider yourself a pro when it comes to camera talk. But God knows I have not gotten a correct answer about the difference between JPEG and RAW from these 'enthusiasts'.

4) "Dude, you charge so much! It's just clicking pictures!"

This is true for most part. Yes, our primary goal is to click pictures. But that's just not it, is it. We have to get all the details right, make sure we haven't missed a crucial detail or moment or an angle in a shot. Then we spend hours to make sure the colour, composition and the feel of the final photograph is as we visualised it for you, the client. We use expensive equipment, state-of-the-art accessories, travel and other logistic expenses. Please, go ahead and do the math!

5) "Bro! Come to the party. Camera math bhoolna!"


6) Cropping the Photographer's watermark out while sharing the picture on social media.

If the Photographer superimposes their watermark on the picture, then there's no way out. But I have seen a number of clients just conveniently cropping the watermark from the corners of the photograph while sharing it on their facebook and twitter. You think it's no big deal. We think not!

7) "Photoshop that!"

Them, countless photoshop requests.

That is all I have from my end, let me know if there is something in particular that has annoyed you beyond reason. I am sure this post needs a sequel.

Until next time, Cheers! 


August 18, 2015

The Phone Call

To me, there is something very empowering about making a call and striking a conversation. It is an exhilarating experience on occasions when the person on the other end is an old dear friend or they are someone you just randomly happened to phone the first time because of some work. I have had many a delightful conversations in the past and I have consistently noticed that a phone call ranging from normal/average to happy have significant mood altering results on me. All of them, positive.

So here is my pattern. Once every couple of months, I dedicate an entire evening calling estranged friends and people I have lost touch with. It is not a pattern or a fixed list of people, these are the people I am randomly missing that day. And when I call, apprehension-free, I am triggering a mood alteration sequence in all those people I am talking to. That gives me a lot of power (and responsibility) and makes this an exciting task. In this entire process, I am also reconnecting with myself from the past and those people I talk to. In simple words if I am happy, then the person I am calling sort of gets infected by my happy bug and alters their mood, even if it is just for a brief period. 

Not just me, I think once in a while everyone should rise above WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter and call them peeps whose voice you probably would have forgotten because you have been hitting as many Vevo channels on Youtube as can be possible. Flex your fingers, pick up the phone and make that call. And when you call, remember these things:

  • Do not be apologetic. You may be calling after ages but you are the one calling right now. You win! The only exceptions to this rule are your parents. Call them, call them now. And apologise for being such a slob and not calling them everyday.
  • Slang is your friend, if it is your bud or your sibling on the other side of the call. Discretion is advised, however.
  • Immediately disconnect when the conversation has steered to a place where ",,,and, what else?" was spoken out loud for the third time. Marks of a conversation that has gone redundant and is not fun anymore. Think twice about calling this person again the next time.
  • For once, DON'T worry about the bill.
  • Reminisce about the past. Plan future tasks to take up together. Discuss the present.
  • Building on the previous point, never discuss the weather for more than a 20 seconds. 
  • Don't be egotistical. It is afterall just a phone call. Don't compare notes about who called whom last, serves no purpose.
  • Walk. Might as well get some exercise while you are at it. 
  • Write down all your important phone numbers in a planner or a telephone book. You have no idea how amazing it feels to flip through the pages of a phonebook and locate a number to dial it.
There there! Wasn't that easy?
Go on ahead, make that phonecall and start the happy mood chain reaction. When you hear the other person smile through the conversation, it will be worth it! 


August 10, 2015

My Father, my Hero!

Photographing Papa was no task because my camera loved him. His friendly face and joyful charisma made for the best pictures ever. He is my hero and my friend.
Here are some of my favourite pictures of Him:

My favourite man in the world, Papa

Mum Dad, I know love through them.


My Hero! 

Love means these two! Playful and crazy! Maa Paa <3 font="">

Papa's signature smile. He is the most charming man I know

Papa and his late mother

August 9, 2015

Your DNA speaks Skin and here is how!

by Disha Bhandari 

"You can get your skin treated and pampered with therapies and treatments that are personally designed keeping your DNA and genetic makeup in mind".
Sounds like something a female researcher would say to the popular cheerleader in a B-rated Sci-Fi movie. Now that is one movie I am never going to watch. But for what you just read in the beginning of the post, it is in fact not as unreal as Kylie Jenner's lips.

I was at the VLCC centre at Banjara Hills, Hyderabad last week for a bloggers' meet. Time for a little background story here:
So VLCC or Vandana Luthra Curls and Curves is a wellness company widely recognised both nationally and internationally. They are well known for their effective weight loss management programs and therapeutic approach to beauty treatments. Our meet was scheduled at the centre one afternoon and we got to discuss their newest breakthrough in the field of wellness and beauty heralded by the sweet Dr.Yasmin. Oh hey, there's us! 

@ the VLCC Bloggers' Meet
Coming back to this amazing new skin treatment we talked about, it is this! 

The basis of this revolutionary program launched by VLCC is the uniqueness of everyone's DNA. In the simplest terms, it is common knowledge that every human being has a DNA makeup that is unique to him. Like fingerprints, no two DNA sets are the same. The DNA carries information about your body in the minutest detail. It is this nature of the DNA that forms the basis of VLCC's DNA based Skin Care and Anti Aging program. 

And this is how it is done:
A simple yet comprehensive DNA test is done at the centre. The report takes about a week to get ready. This report has information in detail from your DNA which is tested for Collagen Degeneration, Sun Damage and Pigmentation, Skin Sensitivity and Inflammation, Production of Anti-oxidants, Skin Hydration status and Glycation (Damage from Sugar). The team of experts at VLCC then suggest a very personalised treatment for you based on the report. While 30% of skin damage is due to your surroundings and environment, 70% of a person's skin problems can be attributed to DNA mutations or anomalies. These can be corrected in a very scientific way through this approach. The experts suggest a treatment which is a combination of face packs, salon treatments, procedures and efficient dietary and lifestyle consultation. There is also a comprehensive consultation offered after the completion of the treatment that will guide you to retaining the results. VLCC also houses a whole range of beauty products that can help you for result retention in the future. One such product I loved is the Dermaheal Eye Filler Mask. You have got to try one! 

I also volunteered to give a sample of my DNA from my buccal cavity for testing. The team would get in touch with me in a week with the results. I am excited for the consultation! I will let you know how that goes when it does in another post.

The good peeps at the centre gave us a tour of the centre. Before that day, I predominantly recognised VLCC as a weight loss and wellness centre but I stood corrected when I took the tour. There are a host of other services offered at the VLCC centre which imbibes their mantra of holistic wellness such as a Wellness Exercise centre, Ayurveda, Yoga and Physiotherapy run with the guidance of Shilpa Shetty and a Beauty Salon.

The Yoga and Physiotherapy room

State of the art Beauty Salon

You may have heard about the DNA SLIM programs by VLCC which works on the same principle as above. Rush to your nearest VLCC centre for a DNA consultation for treatment for the skin or slimming. This is by far the most scientific approach to skincare and slimming that I have ever come across. 

If you have any questions, post them in the comments, or tweet them to me.

And if you are not following me on Instagram yet, here I am : @TheChinki_

Also, I regret not having taken my camera along! Next time, you will not be disappointed!

Until next time,