As is the custom, the first week of this challenge is to do a ‘self-portrait’. I’ve done a couple of these over the years but I always manage to hold a bit back. This is a favourite challenge of mine as it really makes me think about ‘who I am’ and try to represent this in one image.
Most people who now me would say that I’m a bubbly person, full of life – happy, optimistic, easy going, friendly… all those ‘sunshiny’ qualities. However, I do have a dark side that I tend to capture in self-portraits. It’s not pessimistic but it is a deep, contemplative side that embraces a darkness that might be troubling to some.
This year, I’m willing to crash through barriers and just discover who I am… Consider every image I take a ‘self-portrait’ in some way or another. Happy 2016 all!!!
Today you are both celebrating the fact that you have a child who made it to 30 years. I’m celebrating the fact that you made it 30 years into parenthood without killing your mischievous offspring. *hahah* For that I thank you dearly as I’m thrilled to be alive, to meet this milestone. I know you love me and are proud of me and all that good stuff. I also know that there were trying times when I was a less than disciplined child. Let’s celebrate the fact that all three of us made it this far in life together!!!
Most people would do a birthday post with their achievements so far in life and maybe some resolutions for the next couple years. I think the distance from home has put me in a ‘reflective’ mood this year. I don’t want to look to the future; I want to look at my past – relive some of the things that have made me who I am today.
You might not realise it but there are many things I’d like to remind you of right now. Let’s call this a trip down memory lane from my point of view:
Mom, I remember quite a few times you would chase me to give me some ‘good lashes.’ Come on, Mom! Why would anyone refer to a spanking as ‘good’??? I don’t see what was so ‘good’ about those! Therefore, I ran away, even when you called me. *smirks* I probably deserved quite a lot of those. Okay! I probably deserved all as you never raised you hand at me unless I was really horrid. However, let’s look at the good side of those ‘spanking chases’: (1) I helped to keep you fit Mom, and, (2) I learned to hide my mischief more efficiently, thus, you were less stressed out and forced to discipline me! Win-win.
I remember the time Dad forgot me at school when I was in Form 2. I still don’t know what happened that day. I remember sitting under that tree in the school yard and waiting and waiting and still no Dad. Finally, at about 5pm (he’d normally get me at 3:30pm and take me to the office) I called him only to find out that he was almost home – at the head of the street. I think he broke a few speed limits that day because in a matter of 10 minutes he was there for me. Mom, we never told you this then cause I got bribed with the promise of ice-cream but I’m happily sharing this now as I don’t think he ever did fulfill that bargain. *evil grin*
Yes, I shared a few ‘bad memories’ first. They make me laugh when I think of them. In addition, as I grew older, the ‘parent training’ of you two became easier and you stopped spanking me and forgetting me. I think we turned out okay…
Now, for some of the good memories:
Mom, do you remember holding my hand and taking me to nursery school? This should have taken us a maximum of 10 minutes walking but it invariably turned into about half hour. The reason was because I needed to say ‘good morning’ to everyone I saw on the way and would also strike up conversations with the old ladies in the street. You taught me early in life to be polite to people and to enjoy the simple things in life.
Dad, do you remember the time when you were at home with me when I was in Prep A? You would help me to get dressed for school and we were both challenged with the task of combing my hair! Then you would take me to school; you were the only Dad among all the mothers – I was very proud about this. Every afternoon I’d stand up in class and peep through the window and you would be there under the tree outside the compound waiting to take me home. That taught me the security of having a family.
Mom, I remember you carrying me down this long road to a clinic when I was very sick. I used to wonder if that road would ever end and I’d feel myself slipping away from you because I was always so tired and you would instinctively hold me tighter to prevent me from falling. The sun was always hot and you had to juggle an umbrella and a sick child, yet you never dropped me. Dad, I remember that the only thing I really wanted to eat besides mashed potatoes when I was sick was noodle soup. Mom didn’t know how to prepare it at that point in time so you bought the packets and would cook it for me when you came home from work. There were times I wasn’t totally conscious but whenever I opened my eyes either one of you or both of you would be there. I also remember a kitten – all over black with a white star on his neck and green eyes. I’m not sure now if he was real or a figment of my imagination as he disappeared when I got well. Was he real? Anyways, these things taught me that true love from a parent is a joy that is felt and comes from small things in life – a hug, a smile, time spent with each other.
I remember that I failed math (miserably) when I changed schools. I was so devastated that I cried and cried and cried. Dad, you spent that Christmas vacation teaching me arithmetic so that I won’t fail again. Then, once we’ve conquered that challenge, you taught me advanced algebra so I’ll feel good about myself. This empowered me to keep on trying even when I failed.
There was this period of time when I would go to Modo’s after school because you were attending afternoon classes in order to enter CPCE, Mom. Even when you fulfilled the ‘traditional’ roles of a woman (mother and wife) you pursued your dreams. The joy I would feel when I stood on that side step and saw you coming up the road was surreal. We’d walk home hand in hand and talk about our days – well mostly me as I was and still can be a talkative person. It taught me to follow my dreams, never give up!
I remember the first time I saw Bringle – my first dog ever! He was a cute little grey mongrel with a cold black nose and a curled tail and I fell in love with him on sight! Neither of you told me I was getting a dog but simply said that there was something downstairs for me after I heard the gate open and close. He was quite possibly the BEST PRESENT EVER! Following Bringle, the adoption of random strays over the years taught me compassion and provided a foundation to nurture my love of animals.
Our home is a home because it is a place where those in need can find shelter – there is always a meal to be had and friendly advice. This was proven time and again when family and friends would visit. I have these images in my head of you two hanging out with my friends – even when said friends came to see ME. The guys would go sit and chat with Dad for a few minutes or watch television. Mom would hang out with us in the living room after work on the occasions she came home to an ‘invasion’. This wasn’t restricted to the physical location but the many times Mom would cook us dinner (little rotis with curry and tea) and Dad would transport them to the university when we wanted to stay late for one reason or another.
Dad you taught me to play cricket – even when you didn’t initially approve of me pursuing a sport when I had studies. You instructed me on how to keep a good line and deliver a ball, how to catch and how to bat. I never was and never will be a great cricketer but I was good enough to captain the girls’ team at QC for three years and was even awarded the School Colours Medal. This support extended to other hobbies as well and I’m happy you encouraged me to pursue my dreams, also.
Mom, every time I was on stage for a prize giving ceremony or for a graduation, I would instinctively look for you in the crowd. I don’t know if you know this but it’s true. Both Dad and you contributed to my education in many ways. But I remember you first because I remember doing homework or assignments and meals would miraculously appear next to me. I’d eat and the empty plates and cups would disappear. You did magic! You taught me to write – not my nursery school teacher. You are my first teacher and considering where I am now, you have a lot to be proud of Teacher Pan!
There are so many more memories, great memories, that I can share; but there isn’t enough time or space for me to write them down. You two have always been the foundation of my life and no matter what I chose, even if you thought I could have made a better choice, you supported me. Every success I’ve had in life is because of you and I’ll never forget it. You made home a place where I feel safe. You made me the woman I am today – confident, kind and giving. The best lessons in life came not from my classrooms but from you two and I thank you for them.
I love you two. Knowing you return this love makes me strong enough to conquer the world! Happy 30 years of parenthood to you!!!
2015 – Project 52 / 52Frames / A Picture a Week Challenge
Week 38 – My Personality
One of the worst things ever is to ask me to talk about myself. I have a lot of information to share but for some reason, quite ironic really, I can’t get the meaning across. This week’s challenge was interesting indeed as we were asked to take one picture that gives an idea of our personalities – without featuring people as an extra challenge. To me, there are so many complex aspects of my personality, thus, this was not easy.
I remember a conversation with a then PhD student in 2009. We were on the roof of my hostel in the evening time and as the sun set and twilight turned to night we were having an interesting discussion. It was based on the question, “WHO am I?” Every attempt we made to define who we were placed us in some box that society has created. In the end we realised that to say nothing would be the best way to describe ourselves as the possibilities are endless and we don’t place restrictions on ourselves. Up to this day, I still can’t answer that question yet I have a much deeper understanding after that conversation.
Coming back to this photography project of mine, in the end, I thought this image from a recent road trip summed it up enough. Why? SOME of the reasons why I chose this image are briefly stated below:
2015 – Project 52 / 52Frames / A Picture a Week Challenge
I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year / 2015. I hope that this year brings joy and happiness to you and yours and that you face every challenge and emerge victorious in one way or another.
This year, I’ve joined 52Frames for my “Project 52 Challenge”. I’ll still be taking pictures and uploading one a week, like in 2014 and 2013. However, the difference is that I’ll be going with a theme each week, along with the other photographers with 52Frames.
Week 01, 2015 – Selfie
The theme for Week 01 was ‘self-portrait’ and the extra credit challenge was to ‘tell your story’. At first I was just going for the self portrait but then I wasn’t getting what I wanted as I felt something was missing. Then, on the first day of 2015, my friends and I were taking some group pictures in Coorg, Karnataka, India when I realized what I needed to add to the picture.
In my opinion, a self-portrait should give you an idea of who the individual is. It shouldn’t only focus on the features of a person with great lighting and other well used, photographic techniques but tell you more. A self-portrait should give you insight into the individual. I’m not sure if you’ll get my story by looking at the image but this is my self-portrait:
Why do I like this image? In such a wide shot, it’s easy to loose the person but I don’t think that happened with me. I think it kind of highlights me more due to the tones of the trees and plants against my clothing. Basically I like the colours – a happy accident.
What is my story? I’m not sure what story you took away after looking at the image but the idea behind it was to say “I’m prepared for what lays ahead, both from man and from nature.” I think it fits as 2015 will be a challenging year for me. I may be a bit pensive and thoughtful (hands on hips) at times but I’m also strong in my reserve to see the year through (feet firmly planted). However, I’m also flexible with whatever comes and comfortable enough to deal with the challenges (open hair and sneakers). I’m ready for 2015!
How did I get this shot? I wasn’t thinking about the self-portrait on this morning so I didn’t have my remote or a tripod. All I had were two friends to assist me. I asked Archana stand where I am so that I can set the focus and composition. Following this, I gave the camera to Sumedha to hold as I ran to that position and posed as the timer count down from 10 seconds. It took two tries but I got what I wanted.
Here’s to a start to “Project 52” the third time and a year where I can stand steady and face the challenges ahead!