The Red Chill Car

It is my favorite photo from the month of July 2015. This beautiful and immaculately maintained original Fiat 500 was standing outside Merci, a magnificent store in Paris. I absolutely love this photo. It feels timeless, except if you look closely there is a phone in the hands of one girls sitting on the stairs outside the store. Made with Leica MP and Leica f/2 35 mm Leica lens. There are more of my favorite July 2015 photos are here on Storehouse!

The Paris I love 

The Paris I love is the one I have all for myself – when everyone is asleep, comfortable in their beds. I don’t know where I am going. I don’t want to know where I am going and why – I want my feet and my mind to wander. To see what happens!

I went for a long walk one morning – almost seven miles. I stopped. I started. I walked. I ambled. I took a few photos. Mostly I was happy to be alone. It was so quiet – no people, no tourists, no cafes. Absolutely nothing but the sounds of a city yawning and waking up. I could hear the flutter of a pigeon’s wing as it took flight. I could hear the raven with a sore throat.

The lapping of the gentle waves of the Seine entered my senses – I could hear them as well as I could see them. I could hear myself breathe. It was all loud and as clear as the ringtone of an iPhone ringing in one of the apartments hidden behind the slats covering windows and a million stories behind them.

The cool air of the morning, long before it turns into a day full of heat and dust. I started in Place Des Vosges, the iconic square in Le Marais and walked to Ile St. Louis. I saw an early morning fashion shoot. I took a photo or two and then ambled all the way across. I got lost in the Latin Quarter. I ended up roaming more of Paris I hadn’t seen.

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I came across two young girls listening to reggae music and dancing in the plaza across from a church. I couldn’t tell if they were still waiting to go home from the clubs or if this was what they did early in the morning. I paused for a minute – watch them being careless and carefree – trying to remember the times when such abandon was still something I wore on my sleeve.

It was a scene I would remember for a long time – not because it was a great photo, but it was a moment to remember. I took a few photos — they didn’t really capture what the mind saw. I shuffled, sweaty, with my feet hurting after all the walking. I saw the Polytechnique and the university. I walked through some neighborhoods where homeless slept with abandon, as some workers made their way out of the apartments. Going to work perhaps

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Somethere on the Left Bank a farmer’s market slowly started to take shape. I see all the fruit and vegetable vendors set up their stalls. In the light of the morning you can see all the colors of Paris— its history, its present and perhaps its uncomfortable future.

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I kept walking till I couldn’t walk anymore. I called an Uber and came back to my room.

And as I sat, cooling off under the slow moving fan, I was calmer. Silence has that effect on me. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to interact. I don’t want email or Twitter or Facebook. I want to walk alone in alleys, streets and boulevards of the mind – walking away from the last and thinking perhaps what is and what could be.

Paris, July 2nd, 2015

A Pair of Chukka Boots in Every Color

I am a big fan of Chukka Boots and believe that every guy should own at least one pair. The best part of Chukka’s is that they come in suede which in turn is offered in many colors. I own a pair of basic brown Alden chukkas, but this season there is an explosion of color. I found these dazzling and colorful array on display when I visited Crockett & Jones store in Paris. Also, there are more photos from my visit to C &J store in Paris. Don’t worry, you won’t have to charge up your credit cards just yet — C&J don’t sell these fine looking shoes in US and restrict to their stores in France.

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Paris, till we meet again!

I am not the one for vacations. Instead, I like to take two-or-three day trips to clear out the cobwebs of the mind and change up the scenery, just so I recalibrate my world view. And that is why I surprised myself when I took a whole week off. I even left all my computing devices back at home — with the exception of my iPhone, of course — and went to Paris. And boy, did I need that break. 

Paris is one of my favorite cities, even though I don’t speak a single word of French. I love it because I can enjoy the silence that comes with not knowing the language. I love it because I can get lost, and find history at every street corner. I love it because it teaches me a lesson: the weight of one’s past can define one’s future. I love it because I can visit all the artisans who toil away, making beautiful things at a pace that is anathema to our give-it-to-me-now society. I love it because of the food. But most importantly, I love it because I don’t have to talk. Just see, just hear and just be. 

Today, I went back to work, feeling rested and in much better spirits. I caught up with my colleagues, read all the news, mulled on a few blog post ideas and finally got a decent cup of coffee. Paris, I will see you soon. Life, it is good to be back. 

PS: Here are some of the left over photos from my visit to Paris. Enjoy! 

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