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ThroughMyEyes
By: Rajiv Chopra

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Monday, 6-Nov-2006 13:03 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Forbidden City. Part 1 of the series

A Collision. The Past.The Present. The Future
Flicking A Coke?
The Old in the Old City
View all 9 photos...
I'd like to say that all of you asked for this. At least, I think you did. You did, you did. You did ask for a long series on the Forbidden City and, you're getting it, by golly!!

This bit of writing will be short. I had written a lot and, I did not realise that I had lost the internet connection so, I lost everything I wrote. I am lazy, folks!!

Why do I call the first picture a collision? The Forbidden City represents the past of the country. The commercial posters represent the material present and, the young kid represents the future. Think about it. For centuries, the Palace was forbidden to the people of the land. Today, they tumble in ant out of it with gay abandon. With the Cultural Revolution, there was a clean break from the past and today, there is a mad rush to become rich. This is the present. Else, you would never have such posters in the home of the emperors. Where will the young kid take China? Will the meeting of the past, the present and the future be a collision or, will they blend seamlessly to create a new soul for the country. It is a magnificent country. And, so far it has managed the path to material wealth well.

But, as many have said - we are but a collection of memories. And, of the collective subconscious. We may try to forget the past but, the past will always be with us. We can manage the past or, be managed by it.

Enough yackety-yak for one evening, I suppose. I am now off to watch the next episode of "Becker"!!!


Wednesday, 25-Oct-2006 01:16 Email | Share | | Bookmark
LiJiang - Where It All Began Again

Young Dude With His Baby
A Nice Little Garden
On The Way To The Gorge
View all 8 photos...
Okay, I am into a lot of plagiarism these days. I plagiarised the titles of the last two entries from songs. This one, from the WWE or, WWF as it used to be called. Despite my great philosophical meandering, I am a great fan of the WWE wrestler called The Undertaker. So now you know my deep, dark secret!! Anyway, I think he is great. Superb athlete. Superb persona. And, I love the Dark Side. Whether it is the dark side of the moon, the mind or, the world! Anyway, the gentleman took a short career break and, when he returned, at one of those PPV events, to his dark side persona, the event had the sub-title - "It All Begins Again". So now you know the source of this title. I will try and be more original next time.

So, what began again in Lijiang? For me, photography. I had practically given up photography, from 1987 onwards, except for some sporadic photography in Varanasi, on a road trip in Rajasthan and, in the Marwar region of Rajasthan. I resumed in 2003. I took these B&W shots. At that time, I had not yet found my current processing lab so, I gave it to a lab and, the lab messed up the negatives and, the prints.

Lijiang is a hilly area. Near the Li River (so, Li Jian) and, the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Also, home to the Naxi minority. They have an old town, which is picturesque. A few, radiating, water channels, with restaurants on the banks. They have a town centre. It also has a new town, which has no personality. The old town has personality. In the evenings, the old and young folk gather in the town square, form a circle and, dance. On one occassion, they were dancing to the sounds of the flute, played by a falconer. I was invited to dance as well. Warm hearted people, loving life.

And, we also went to a concert. The group is full of old men. Average age - 75 years. They have instruments that are over 100 years old. The group, from a few families, have played together, through the generations, for over 400 years. They play court music from the Song and Tang Dynasties.

It is beautiful. By the way, Lijiang is on the way to the Shangri-La.......


Tuesday, 10-Oct-2006 08:30 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Down a misty highway

The Misty Highway
This entry of mine is probably a little more optimistic than the last one. But, no less uncertain. I have started down a new road and, I don't know where the road will lead. The one thing that I am certain about, is that while the road will be misty for a while and, while the direction may be unclear for a while, it will start to bend towards a better direction.

For now, like a misty highway (which, is why I chose this shot), the road is unclear. However, as many before me have said, it is in the journey that you find yourself. Like the birds who set off on the journey to find the hoopoe. I am referring to "The Conference of the Birds", a superb book written by Farad ud-din Attar.

In many old sects and tribes, when you join a secret society or, pass into a new phase of life, you have to undergo an initiation ceremony. Your old life is symbolically ended and, you are reborn. Like moulting. I guess that the same process will apply to me over the next few months, where I will gradually shed the skin of my old life and, put on the skin of my new life. But, for a while, I will stand "naked" on the misty highway. Metaphorically, of course!!!

I originally wanted to title this entry "Highway In The Wind", which is the name of a superb song by Arlo Guthrie. Lovely music and, brilliant music.

It ends, somewhat like this:
" I must be going now,
I'm losing time my friend
........
Down that highway in the wind".

Down the misty highway I will walk and, seek my fortune in the wind.......


Sunday, 1-Oct-2006 02:33 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Blowing In The Wind

In The NeiMenggu Grassland
In the NeiMenggu Desert
In Qinghai
The title and, some of the thoughts in this entry is inspired partly by the events of the last few weeks and, partly by the immortal Bob Dylan. No Aqualung this time around!

Today is the first day of a new direction in my life. I am not sure where this new road is going to lead me, frankly. Whether it is a minor detour or, whether it is the start of a completely new direction. The answers to these questions are yet unknown to me and are, as far as I am concerned, blowing in the wind.

The events of the last few weeks have been quite cataclysmic, insofar as I am concerned. I have witnessed the wost of leadership. I have witnessed the best of leadership. The people who have displayed the worst possible form of leadership are people whom, thankfully, I shall have very little to do with in the future. I will feel the effects of their vile and small minded actions, for some time and, their actions have caused a sudden change in the direction of my life.

The people, from whom I have witnessed the best of leadership, are people with whom I shall be associated in the future. They have been superb.

I have also witnessed great friendship in the last few weeks and, these are actions that I shall never forget.

I have aso witnessed the love of my team and, this has been of of my great emotional strengths in the last few weeks. I love my team and, I will always look back on my time with them with the best of memories.

And, I have also witnessed the love of my family. So, for anyone who says that the values of friendship and family are dead should think again.

It is really the great support that I have got from my friends, my family and my team that have helped me to move on and, not to sink into bitterness. I can look forward to the road ahead with confidence and optimism.

My mind would like to go back to some of the great spaces that I have travelled to in the last few months. I have trevelled to the grasslands and deserts in Inner Mongolia and, to the western province of Qinghai. The flags that you see are the flags that have great significance to the people of Tibet and Inner Mongolia. They have been around for hundreds of years, waving in the blowing wind.

I believe that these flags, blowing in the great open spaces, speak of infinity, of eternity and, of the eternal spirit of nature in which the true Gods live. I believe they speak of the spirit of mankind and, they speak of the connection between the human spirit and, the spirit of nature. It is when we lose this connection that we stoop to vile acts. It is when we relive this connection that we discover our greatness.

The flags have been blowing in the wind for centuries and, they will blow in the wind, as long as the spirit of mankind is alive.


Wednesday, 27-Sep-2006 03:58 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Will Definitely Be Back Soon

Hiya all, I have been away for a long time. Life has been crazy, involving a lot of changes. Some changes have been imposed upon me and, I asked for some further changes. The changes that were imposed were extremely unpleasant and, the changes that I asked for, are much better. Net, net these changes mean a change in my career path and, a definite re-location, within China, over the next few months. Maybe, I should work towards setting up a photography related business, you know. Anyway, I may be a bit irregular in the next few months but, I will definitely make a philosophical update in the next few weeks.
Cheers!


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