Monday, January 18, 2010

RIP Dennis Stock!

@ Dennis Stock/ Magnum Photos

Another legendary photojournalist who shot some iconic images especially of Hollywood passed away last week. Dennis Stock shot into spotlight by winning a Life magazine photo contest, and was brought into Magnum photo collective by Robert Capa.

If you look at this Time magazine gallery Life photographer Dennis Stock please check the picture of Audrey Hepburn, and also quickly click on my previous post on Bob Willoughby and see his picture of Hepburn. I had an uncanny feeling that both these legends shot the actress on the same day, at the same location, and at the same time. Do you feel so?

Also read this obituary on Stock. Magnum photos also have a wonderful multimedia gallery on a broader range of Stock’s work, in his words on Magnum in motion

Haiti Earthquake

I didn't know anything about Haiti and its history till I saw this Time magazine photogallery. Discovered by Christopher Columbus in the 15th century, Haiti was a Spanish Colony, and then a French colony till its independence in 1804. Even after its independence it took 186 years for the country to shed its despotic rulers, and hold a truly free and fair election! The earthquake is the third natural disaster haiti has faced in last six years... It's bloody through out. Check Haiti’s History of Misery

Time's gallery of exclusive pictures from Haiti has such graphic content that I decided not to post it here.

The pictures took me back to Jan 26, 2001 when Bhuj shook with a 7.6 Richter tremblor. I was then working with, and travelled there with the Outlook team of Punit Paranjpe and Manu Joseph from Mumbai, and Prashant Panjiar and Ranjit Bhushan from Delhi. I, Punit, and Ranjit stayed back in Ahmedabad, while Prashant and Manu travelled almost 250 odd km to Bhuj. I went to Bhuj two days later. The civil hospital in Bhuj looked exactly like the Presidential palace in Haiti - absolutely flat. Nearby villages like Bhachau, and Anjar were flattened completely. Everything in sight was flat.

It was a great dance of life and death. There was a young boy trapped in Anjar who kept his nerves for nearly 48 hours while rescuers tried to cut the concrete debris around him. He was eventually taken out alive, but lost either one or both his legs. Miracle stories of babies taken out alive after days, and rescued pregnant women delivering normal babies...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Some more poems


First light on the kitchen table
Breakfast for one. Beer and wine.
Feline eyes kiss fallen tart.

Lunch is a conceit of three. My cat,
Your snapshot and me. Secret rum
In mint tea. Invalidation of the sun.

Last light comes to sup. Dinner is a feat
In rectitude. Water and whiskey.
Campaign of shadows. No despair.

A sliver of music around the ankles
In a dream’s corridor.
Endless retreat of inaccessible feet.

© 1994, C. P. Surendran
From: Gemini II

At the Family Court

The lift wouldn’t work.
So they walked up
Four flights
Of stairs and passed
On the fourth landing
Two toilets, one marked,
For Judges Only, and one,
For Others. They used
The first though.
But no one charged
Them with contempt of court.
Later, they sat in the hail
With some 20 others,
People come together
To be separated.
The four fans in the hall
Big as windmills
Breezed past
Their several lives.
Late in the noon
An attendant
Called out their names
And led them into a hall
Where the judge
They met in the toilet said
They were no longer
Man and wife.

© 1999, C. P. Surendran
From: Posthumous Poems

Come, Let Us Build A Night
Come, let us build a night
On the marble edifice of silence
let us swathe ourselves in the sheets of darkness,
and ignite the twin candles of our bodies . . .
When dew arrives on tiptoe,
let it not discern even the whisper of our breaths
In the silken fragrance of mist,
entwined let us lie, like fragrance itself —
Draped in the earthy aroma of our bodies, Let us, like spirits, rustle forever . . .

© 2002, Gulzar

From: Raat Pashmine Ki

© Translation: 2008, Salim Arif

My apologies, Sona
My Apologies, Sona.
Journeying through the terrain of my verse
in these rains, inconvenienced you
Unseasonal are the monsoons here.
The alleyways of my poetry are frequently damp.
Water gathers often in the ditches.
If you trip and fall here,
you run the risk of spraining a foot.
My apologies, however . . .
You were inconvenienced
because the light in my verse is somewhat dim.
The stones at my threshold
are imperceptible, as you pass.
I have often cracked a toenail against them
As for the streetlamp at the crossroads,
it has remained unlit for aeons
You were inconvenienced.
My apologies, my heartfelt apologies.

© 2007, Gulzar

© Translation: Salim Arif

These poems are sourced from Poetry International Web website. You can read a selection of poems from contemporary Indian poets. They have also something wonderful. They have reproduced the original poem in the original language along with the English translation. Those who can read Urdu will perhaps enjoy reading the Gulzar's originals in Urdu. You could also read Mallika Amar Sheikh's Venus or Namdeo Dhasal's Kamathipura in the Marathi original.