I fell asleep quite early last evening, and not surprisingly. I woke up at an ungodly hour. And that’s when I found out the sad news. Lata Mangeshkar, the Nightingale of India, has died. While most in the west are familiar with the classical genius of late Pandit Ravi Shankar, for Indians of rank & file, she was the voice of the nation.

“Music is my life and God. My prayer is music — it is like a father and mother to me,” she noted in her book.  

Her songs, through decades, have been the soundtrack of a nation. Along with now late male singers like Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi & Mukesh, she created emotional mile markers in life’s journey for one and all. Her passing brings down the curtain on a more innocent time in Indian society. 

As an immigrant, most of my life has been against the faint strains of her melodious voice. Even today, her songs bring tears and smiles. Whenever I feel nostalgic and reflective, I put on some of her classics — and there are many. Thanks to modern technology, we will always have Lata’s voice to cherish and enjoy for eternity.

“Happiness is for sharing with the world, and sorrow is for keeping to yourself,” Mangeshkar once noted. What a great way to live your life. 

Obituaries: New York TimesBBC 

February 6, 2022. San Francisco

Over the last two days, I have been talking to old friends and family members, and no matter how you put it, the situation is grim. Except for my parents, the virus has impacted many extended family members. A couple of friends have lost family members. The stories I have heard, including shortage of resources and crematorium problems, bring tears to the eyes. 

Whether you read in the papers or hear over the social networks, this is an enormous tragedy. The scale of devastation is never going to be understood because the government is busy playing games with numbers. I mean, instead of being focused on solutions, you have powers that be spending energy on getting social media platforms such as Twitter to take down tweets.

In my long experience, playing or fudging the numbers is not a sign of a healthy democracy. No matter how you look at it, this is a failure of foresight. Short-termism is a disease not just for stock markets and can be an Achilles heel for countries too.

I keep saying this again and again — lies cost lives

April 25, 2021, San Francisco.

“…absolutely devastating, and doesn’t feel like our country is doing everything it possibly can to help.” Scott Belsky

Also: Can US do more to help India in its term of crisis?

The Cameras I used on my Ladakh Adventure

  • iPhone XS Max.
  • Leica M-A with a Leica f2/50mm Summicron.
  • Nikon D850 along with Nikon f 2.8 24-70 and Nikon 2.8 70-200 lenses.

I had initially planned to bring along a Leica TL2 with an f1.4/50mm (equivalent) Summilux, but somehow that didn’t work out, and at the very last minute, I decided to rent a Nikon kit from a camera rental operation in Bangalore. Continue reading “The Cameras I used on my Ladakh Adventure”