Part I

Ajmer Shatabdi.

Two kids next to me are fighting for the window seat.

I have the aisle seat.

I put on my laptop.

Now they are fighting for the middle seat.

Part II

Ajmer Shatabdi:

They have both occupied the middle seat. Their eyes on the screen.

Starting sound.


Spreadsheet program has shown up.

Now they are again fighting for the window seat.


Shahpur Jat is a glittering ‘Urban Village’ located amidst the chaos and hustle bustle of South Delhi. ‘Urban Village’, the adjective itself sounds contrasting and from there everything you notice in the village is contrasting. From lifestyle, to colours, textures and even economic patterns.

Shahpur Jat - New Delhi

I have been there once before for a little while, when I had to meet an architect friend who also had a boutique there. The village appealed to me on my first visit itself and I left the place, promising myself that I would return soon.

I did it a few days ago with an intention to look at everything around carefully and from an Urban Design perspective.

It is right to call it an Urban Village, because there is an almost equal division in the class of the population living there.  Villagers own the properties and Urbane (Elite class) lease them for their boutiques, studios and cafes. If it gives an impression that the properties are available cheap at Shahpur Jat Village, you are wrong. A tiny boutique measuring about 30 Sq.M. would cost  somewhere around seventy thousand Indian rupees per month.

Shahpur Jat - New Delhi

Shahpur Jat - New Delhi

From the entrance to the village, it would appear that the village holds an equal importance that of the ASIAD games Village. Yes, for elite class it is an important place to own boutiques, studios and cafes and also for visitors from the same class. Shahpur Jat is a charming network of narrow and meandering lanes, which would make it difficult for cars to enter. Hence, much of it is workable and provides a marvelous opportunity to look around from human eye level.

Shahpur Jat - New Delhi

One would notice a contrasting texture of glass facades and unkempt brick fronts of houses. It doesn’t end there. Visuals continue to be a feast of contrasting elements like small grocery shops abutting a high end cafe and villagers roaming around freely on narrow paths sporting designer studios on either side.

Shahpur JatIMG_5037

Many small businesses, like tailoring shops and dyeing are distinctively visible within the same cone of vision that includes high end boutiques and showrooms.

I happen to chit chat with a local person there, who should be in his late twenties. He shared that he doesn’t really do anything for living. All his income comes from the rent that he receives from the boutique owners there. One would wonder, what value these young people with no real work to do, are adding to the society?

However, these contrasting cultures in the village have not done any harm to the harmonious life people are living. On the contrary, the contrast has led to a vibrant ‘rurban’ set up which portrays a glorious example of co-existence.

With whatever little I know about the method of doing dissertation, what I am able to make out from this exercise is that students must be exposed to the processes of research, which includes data collection and analysis. To be able to do this students must select one topic to be studied in depth and start with a ‘hypothesis’.

Hypothesis, is an essence of any dissertation. It lets you start the process in some direction. Hypothesis is based on certain assumptions and all the evidence that one may already have. Unfortunately, in many cases, students are already convinced about the hypothesis and its conclusion. So their research is more focussed on proving the hypothesis right than wrong. They consciously ignore, eliminate and avoid the path that disagrees with their hypothesis.

Hypothesis may not only end with YES or NO. There could be something neutral, mean or beyond that. PO. PO was coined by Edward De Bono, which looks beyond YES and NO. PO, lets you explore more possibilities than just YES and NO, sometimes resulting into something unimaginable.

Teachers, guides and students must explore the possibilities of PO. Not having an answer at the end, or having a mean, or having a very different answer than Hypothesis is alright.

Trafficjamdelhi.jpgTrafficjamdelhi” by NOMAD – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

This morning  I was supposed to meet an important person who holds a very high position in the Indian Government office. The discussion would have only lasted about 15-20 minutes, I am sure. Considering the traffic in Delhi in morning hours,  the time spent commuting would have been about three hours. Three hours of commuting for fifteen minutes of meeting. Waste of 150 minutes. But, the matter was important and the appointment was set.

I decided to call up the person in morning to confirm the meeting before starting from home, as many times I have experienced the last-minute cancellations specially with people from Government offices. The person on other end asked my location and the time it will take for me to reach his place. After hearing my answers, he asked me promptly “Can’t we then just discuss it over phone?” I was surprised. I never saw that coming. Seriously. Matter was equally important for him. He surely wasn’t trying to avoid meeting me. In fact the matter was more important for him than me.

He continued, “You can later send me an email on whatever we have discussed. I will look into the matter.”

I agreed happily. We talked for about 10 minutes on the matter, and the meeting was over.

Now, if only we could do justice to the technology around us, we will save many man hours every day that can be put to better use. Surely, we will also be helping environment a lot.We have phones, Skype, emails and more where meetings could happen. We will be causing lesser traffic jams, and frustration thus health problems.

My recent visit to Lotus Temple in Delhi wasn’t very exciting for some reasons. One, the premises have very odd timings, 9:00 Hrs. to 19:00 Hrs. In Morning by the time it opens, the natural light isn’t any more suitable for photography, and in evening it is too early to get good silhouettes. Another reason is high turnout of tourists on weekends, you need to be too patient with each one of them. Someone or other keeps coming into the frame.

Nevertheless, Out of about 100 odd clicks, I managed to get few silhouettes, worth sharing here. The other temple that you see in pictures below is ISKON Temple, as viewed from Lotus Temple.

Lotus Temple, ISKON Temple  Lotus Temple, ISKON Temple

मैं चाहता हूँ की हम तुम मिलें कहीं, युहीं अचानक,
किसी सफ़र में, सिनेमा घर में या रेस्तोरां में
कोई बात न हो, न सलाम दुआ,
फिर लौट जायें, खो जायें भीड़ भाड़ में ,
मैं चाहता हूँ, कोई पुराना हिसाब हो , जो  बचा रहे,
जो मुझे याद रहे, जो तुम्हें याद रहे
मैं चाहता हूँ की हम तुम मिलें कहीं, युहीं अचानक,
राह चलते, उत्सव  या फिर किसी बाज़ार में,
उस हिसाब की बात करें, और किसी निर्णय पर न पहुंचे कोई नया हिसाब शुरू हो, फिर किसी दिन मिलने की आड़ में

मैं चाहता हूँ हम तुम मिलते रहें , हिसाब चलते रहें ..

The inspiration of this poetry is embedded below:


Exercise at Nehru park - Rajesh Advani

“Bodybuilding is much like any other sport. To be successful, you must dedicate yourself 100% to your training, diet and mental approach. “-Arnold Schwarzenegger

Exercise at Nehru park - Rajesh Advani

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.” – Oprah Winfrey

Exercise at Nehru park - Rajesh Advani

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”  ~Edward Stanley

Exercise at Nehru park - Rajesh Advani

“A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.”  ~Joan Welsh

Exercise at Nehru park - Rajesh Advani

“The best six doctors anywhere,

And no one can deny it,

Are sunshine, water, rest, and air,

Exercise and diet.

These six will gladly you attend,

If only you are willing,

Your mind they’ll ease,

Your will they’ll mend,

And charge you not a shilling.”

~ Wayne Fields

Here are some quick and easy steps to become a photographer:

1) Buy a DSLR camera (as expensive as you, I mean your parents can afford).

2) Get some pictures of yourself clicked with the camera. Ensure, minimum 50% space for your camera in the picture.

3) Set it as your DP (Display Picture) on all social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and reactivate your account on Orkut (yes, it still exists).

4) Update and include “Photographer” in your bio everywhere, even on LinkedIn. There random people recommend you for random skills.

5) Spend some time creating your signature, which will go on all photographs your camera clicks.. err..YOU click..spend more time rather (than actually clicking photographs).

6) Create a page on Facebook. It is free. Yay!

7) Shamelessly invite (force, make it compulsory, beg)  all your friends to ‘Like’ your page. Do not worry, there is no ‘Dislike’ button yet.

8) Promote your post. It is cheap as low as INR 280.00..get likes from thousands of people..

That’s all..there is no 9th and 10th step.

And, there you are.. a famous photographer..


Winters are one season we eagerly look forward to every year. ‘We’ includes all of us in the family, my close and distant friends and I am sure many many Delhiites. If you thought winters were over this year, you were wrong. Bing Weather App says it was 6 Deg. Cel. at around 8: 30 a.m. today. Also, we woke up to a lovely foggy weather outside where visibility was very low. Trees, lamp posts, people, vehicles every thing was only partially visible. Stylish and colourful woolens, ginger tea, hot steaming street food, shopping in crowded bazaars, everything is lovely about the winters in Delhi.

I feel blessed and lucky to be in Delhi in this weather.

Some pictures: