Its the new year and I am yet to set my objectives for the photographic year. I need to set my objectives, even if I am my own boss and I need review my own performance. Just so that I keep focusing where I need to. In fact, I even missed a short term objective of covering an event due to prolonged illness – something that is otherwise unacceptable in the overall picture. The adage is true – over indulgence cannot lead to anything good! I need to remember that! I learnt that the hard way and I missed out on one of the best photo opportunities of the year – Chennai Sangamam – a folk and cultural extravaganza for four days that takes place all over the city(including Elliotts beach which i talk about below) and is free! As someone who is stepping out on her own and trying to carve a niche, I figure a little discipline in routine can go a long way.
Then again, this is India – opportunities abound. It never ceases to be the “festive season” in India. Last week was Pongal, the harvest festival of the south. Four days of reverence to the sun god, workers, cows that help plough the land and feed the people and most of all giving away everything that is old. My Pongal weekend was rather subdued because of the aforementioned sickness…..none the less the week leading up to it was eventful ending with family and festivities. I did pick up the courage to go to the beach to shoot the Chennai Sangamam event but found myself unable to handle the crowd and claustrophobia when combined with the strength of a weeks worth of buttermilk and tender coconut. The jostling was not for me, not on that day!
Elliotts beach is a landmark in Chennai , atleast it used to be! It was one of the venues for Chennai Sangamam events. I grew up in this neighborhood all my life and have seen this beach go from deserted to dirty over years of abuse. Beaches in India aren’t meant for swimming essentially, they are just another place for people to relax and meet up. It has its own food culture – fried fish, pattani sundal and mullagai bajji! Please google those terms if you are looking for an explanation. The sad part is that the beach now looks like this and this is just 1/20th of the entire picture! Its a glorified parade ground that is filthy – i had to crop out a crow feasting on a dead rat!
The week was filled with some good food like the fish and chips below and the homemade vadai that mom made. I love my mom’s vadai and she knows my love for extra onions in them – they are crisp, tasty and she salts them just right every time – definitely one of her best dishes. It HAS to be had HOT! It is truly one of those things that doesn’t have an equivalent at all! Come on – its fried food – you know its good when its fried!