My perception of Mumbai has always been of a city which is fast paced with warm but crazy people. This was my third quick visit to this city, second one in this year and the views are just confirmed.
This visit started as a joke that Rrivu cracked. My close friends know that I am a huge admirer of Anoushka Shankar and Bickram Ghosh. Anoushka Shankar is here in India to promote her latest album “Home”, which is a tribute to her father Pandit Ravi Shankar who is often regarded as the father of World Music. He made sitar and the Indian classical music truly international, collaborating with The Beatles, performing and winning hearts across the globe.
He had won five Grammy awards in his lifetime, including the Life time achievement award. Two of them being in the year 2012 where he was nominated along with his daughter Anoushka in the same category. This was the first time in history, some thing of this sort happened. He breathed his last on December 12, 2012 and was not able to receive the awards. His daughters Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones had received the awards.
I got introduced to Indian music at quite a younger age. My college friend – Supratik Chatterjee, taught me the basics of the Indian classical music. It is from then that I started listening to the classics. He is a tabla player and that has been the most of my exposure. While photographing him, I learnt the various nuances the musicians share and signal while performing. I could easily connect to the fusion created by Bickram Ghosh, Anoushka Shankar. Soumik Datta is not as popular but I like this compositions as well. Of the elderly lot, I like Ustad Amjad Ali Khan sab.
After having completed my college, I learnt Rabindrasangeet for a year and a half. Later I learnt Indian classical music for around a year under Sounak Chattopadhyay. After that my schedules and my health did not really allow me to pursue this.
Let me introduce a few characters here. Rrivu is a friend for the last few months. I met him a year ago during #HokKolorob student protests at the Jadavpur University. He works with me in Kolkata Bloggers. Arundhati is a friend for the last three years. I got introduced to her by Surya. She works in the Hindusthan Times Mumbai. Somehow Rrivu, although younger to her, is her uncle by blood relation.
I was in the office, biting my nails, tense about something when I took the joke a bit too seriously and within moments booked the tickets to Mumbai. Arundhati had a quick chat with her boss and arranged for my passes to photograph Anoushka Shankar and perhaps interview her. One quick chat with Pavel and I knew I could put up at his place. Pavel da is primarily an online friend for the last ten years. He was a journalism enthusiast who is now a doctor. We met a few times earlier because his maternal home is near to my place and his sister happened to join my college to pursue her masters. We share good memories of really poor jokes which he never gets tired of, sharing.
During any solo travel, I meet at least one interesting traveller. I very young athletic boy came up to my berth and asked me whether my phone is working. That marked the beginning of a very interesting conversation. He is an Indian Sindhi who is raised in Australia, did his bachelors there, worked for a few years and later served the army. Now at 23, he is travelling the world for around a year. Like any other traveller, he is also very interesting. Argumentative, cordial, friendly yet stern.
The moment we reached Mumbai, I met an old acquaintance Sabarish. The three of us went to the Gateway of India to watch the sunrise!
It is where I found out that I can do this:
..and I went to make many such videos. Not sure if I look stupid there. We walked the entire length till CST seeing, googling, asking about various buildings we came across. Specially the Parsi ones. I bid them adieu and boarded the train to Bhandup.
Nothing much interesting happened in between till the point in time Arundhati took me to Prithvi Theatre. This place is colourful, full of young people, energetic and interesting! The very acclaimed youth theatre festival “Thespo” is happening there right now. It is possibly pulling all the interested and interesting young people across the nation there. I really loved the ambience there.
It was for the second time I watched Anoushka Shankar perform and the first time, I photographed her. It was ecstatic. She brings with her a certain kind of magic which is inexplicable. She came in and greeted in her trademark way, exactly the way her father did.
It was the third year completion of Pandit ji’s death and this concert was dedicated to him. Anoushka played three ragas composed by him. The first being “Raga Jogeshwari”, which is an integral part of her newest album “Home” and the third being “Pancham se gara”. Her album “Home” is nominated for the Grammy this time. This is her fifth Grammy nomination.
This reluctant photographer was active after a long time, jumping across places soon realising that he isn’t as fit as a fawn. Thigh muscle cramps, wrist cramps killed it. Shooting a concert at 105mm focal length when you are used to 11-16 feels very annoyingly different. However one photograph got printed in HTCafe, the following day.
Next was Arundhati’s birthday party after midnight where I was slightly ragged by her friends. Later I believe we struck the right chord together. I tried different cocktails there and then more cocktails the following day. The weirder the name, the better were the chances of being selected. “Kala Kauwa” has green chillis in it. If I ever get into lifestyle blogging, I know what I might want to specialise in.
Pavel da took me to different places around Bhandup and Powai. I don’t know why I felt like a Dejavu. I think I saw the exact place in my dreams. However in my dreams I had met an accident. Here I managed to get back safe. Juhi joined us when we were at the R City Mall.
Let me introduce Juhi. This is for the first time I met her. Last year when I had sued the advertisement company for having used my photograph illegally in a Government advertisement, she volunteered to fight the case pro bono. We talked a lot. Call it over enthusiasm or effect of alcohol, you should never engage yourself in a debate with lawyers. When she was screaming at the top of the voice, “What the fuck was Mamata Banerjee doing when …?” “Whatt he fuck was Modi doing when…?” “Rahul Gandhi is Pappu!”. Pavel da is a closeted left front supporter. Abhishek da is a self declared Modi Bhakt. Juhi, if I have understood her properly, is anti-every-politician-on-earth. Urban Tadhka of R City Mall saw a slice of Oly Pub with drunk people. I got verbally bashed left right and center for being anti-RSS.
A quick verdict on Lava Pixel V2: If your budget is rupees ten thousand and camera is a priority, then this is the camera you should buy. Be informed that although the phone comes with in built application that asks you to minimise battery usage when the battery falls below 20% and further below 15%, the battery life is shorter than that is promised. That’s just fine because my previous phones did not offer anything better. The phone heats up but that has happened only twice in the last two months.
The photographs are clean and crisp. I’ve photographed using this phone and in my blog posts and the social media updates, have mentioned this. So far, my friends have given positive reviews about the quality of the photographs. The wide angle, the front flash are boons. This has relatively fast auto-focus and makes life easy. The body is light and fits very comfortably in my hands.
There are features which might not be of much use. Example: The bokeh effect looks very artificial and can not replace the effect f/1.4 creates. The “Wide Selfie” mode is not required. We could just rotate the phone and click photographs. Having said all of these, if we need to compare this phone with any other phone in this price range, I might actually prefer to buy a Lava Pixel V2.
Please be informed, this phone was given to me for reviewing by Lava. Lava Pixel V2 was launched in Mumbai on September 7th 2015.
If you like the photographs and the really short Mumbai experience, so share this with your friends. If you have any questions, please drop it in the comment box. I would love to answer them or edit my blog post accordingly. God bless.