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Back To The Roots: A Wedding Photo Documentary Part 1

My Huffington Post article on Candid Wedding Photography in India, and the lack of wedding documentary photography has angered all the eminent wedding photographers of India. On a Facebook group of wedding photographer’s group they are saying some downright ugly things. For what its worth, when I said wedding documentary photography work is not much there, this is the kind of work I meant. Here’s how a wedding photo documentary would is like, and I maintain my position that we don’t have much of this kind of work in India. Please read on my photography website.

Sanjukta Basu | Photography

An intimate documentary style wedding photography, which not only has the wedding photos but also tells the story of the wedding, like a writer would.


The bride’s father was born in Jessore district of Bangladesh and grew up in Jalpaiguri where his father migrated during the time of India-Pakistan partition. Her mother was born in Kolkata but her ancestry on both her maternal and paternal sides goes back to Chittagong in Bangladesh. The bride and her elder sister grew up in Delhi a city they have called home for over 30 years now.

She was a Delhi girl but when it came to deciding a venue for her wedding the bride wanted to be as close to her roots as possible. It was decided that her grand father’s house in Jalpaiguri would be the wedding venue.

It was a love marriage and the bridegroom is a self made man from a small village in Bihar. Both…

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Universal Sisterhood – Breaking The ‘Woman is Woman’s Worst Enemy’ Myth

In this series of photographs I celebrate the universal sisterhood, the love and bonding between women. Stories of brotherhood is common, we have films, books and poems on them, brothers in arms et all. But women are never seen to be united in solidarity. They are individuals pitted against each other. Eg. mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law trying to control the same man or two sisters or friends eyeing the same man. I am feminist documentary photographer and I try to fill the gender gap through my work. Here I created some images we don’t usually see in popular culture. Only few images are here but I would add to this series. Please take a look on my photography website.

Sanjukta Basu | Photography

Women are genetically designed to be competitive, jealous and hate each other. We hear this myth a lot and several incidents maybe cited to prove it. But what we think is mere genes or psychology and therefore objective science do not actually exist in isolation. They are part of thousands of years of social conditioning. Being woman is a performance we are conditioned to perform, and how we behave is part of this performance.

The moment a baby is born with a vagina she’s told that she is a girl, and a girl has this one chance to make it in life, in youth grab a man and keep him, for old age, beget a son and keep him. A new born with penis are boys, and boys are told that the whole world is at their feet. Go out there and conquer, discover, explore, invent, build, destroy…the world is your canvas.

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Poem: Unwritten

Unwritten

“Our sweetest songs are those
that tell of saddest thoughts”
Our happiest stories are those
that remained unwritten.
You and I are that wonderful story,
like a movie script that never got filmed.
like that rumour going around, a clandestine affair,
a star couple that the fans rooted for, but which never happened.
We remained unwritten.

We’ve been around,
like that fragrance on a rainy day that intoxicates everybody,
but nobody knows where it comes from,
like that old melody you keep humming,
but cannot remember the exact song,
we never came around.

Yet, I imagine.
Every night when I lie on my bed, I imagine.
You may say I am a dreamer,
and you may just as well say, I am the only one.
Still, I imagine, tomorrow would be different.
Tomorrow, universe would work in mysterious ways.
The tiny buds on my flower pots would bloom,
and you’d be at my door step.

I imagine I gave you the keys to my place.
I imagine we made love and not just had sex.
I imagine my friends came over,
and you became my co-host.
I imagine there were things that held us together,
things stronger than a government seal, on a piece of paper,
I imagine love. I imagine life.

You and I as lovers, would not have worked. I know.
But it breaks my heart,
that you and I could never be the lovers that never worked.

When Old People Don’t Know They Are Old And Are Stubborn

Alright whenever mom is not around I have a lot of issues with dad. This blog has already seen evidence of that. Since last night he’s given me 10 warnings that, “Tomorrow, early morning, I would go to Sarojini Nagar Market.”

In this heat, he wants to venture out, go to Sarojini from Dwarka, changing two buses for some work he can easily do on a weekday after office hours, maybe by adjusting a few hours here and there. He would never taken an auto (three-wheeler). He has NEVER taken an auto or cab in his entire life for himself alone. Can anybody beat that? If I or my sister put an objection to his plans, he gets annoyed that we are interfering in his business.

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Acceptance Validation and Appreciation – 3 Things We Seek on Social Media

Note: Dt 18 June 2016 – If you landed here via Huffington Post, then chances are you have already read this article. I suggest you follow the Life Updates category to browse all latest blog on this experimental series. Otherwise, generally feel free to browse my ten years of writing Category or Year wise available on the side bar. Thanks.


About 12 years ago, in the month of December 2004, I learned about something called Blogging from a Hindustan Times Brunch article. Within hours of reading the article I had my first blog, This Is My Truth on rediffblogs.com.

It changed my life. Change is a small world, it was a rebirth, I reinvented myself with blogging, I uncovered aspects of my life that I didn’t know exist and made me the person I am today.

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Vogue empower

Vogue Empower My Choice: What the criticism actually did to feminism

Update dt 5-Apr-2015: This blog has gone viral, reaching a total of 2.20 lac people through Facebook, over 70,000 page views and over 10,000 Shares. I’ve been blogging for 10 years, and this week all records broke when it received 32,541 page views on a single day. That’s 22 page views every minute. Thank you everybody who shared this post and made it a viral. Special mention of film maker Anurag Kashyap and actor Atul Kulkarni both shared the link on their Facebook pages.

The Vogue Empower video titled ‘My Choice’ featuring Deepika Padukone and 99 other women, from different walks of life, has already taken way too much space than it deserved. And yet, I feel the need to defend it. Allow me to explain why. Continue reading

Alone and alive (Final Chapter of Book of Romance-Part 1)

This blog is back in action with its original content, feelings and emotions from the bottom of my heart, bare truth for the world to read. I spent all of 2010 worrying over the fact that everybody who knew me in real life, all the friends, the family members, colleagues, read my blog too often and so I couldn’t share everything that I wanted to share without inhibitions.

But of late I have started to notice that the readership of this blog is again impersonal, the audience is made up of faceless strangers like it was when I first started blogging 6 years back. Once again, like old times, when I come to this blog at the end of each day to share my thoughts and feelings, I feel there’s no one else around, at least no one that I personally know, its just me and my blog here. I feel alone again, safe and alive.

So here it goes. Reporting live from my heart…

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Delhi Bloggers Meet with BBC World Radio May’2006

This event took place exactly 4 years ago, in May’2006 when I had completed one year of blog. By sheer work of fate BBC World had reached out to me to talk about the use of internet amongst Indian youth. Back then there was no social media, blogging was the only cool thing. I organized a Delhi Bloggers Meet for BBC. Below is the account of how I felt after the event was over. I am just republishing it today with some typo fixes.

The team with me in the center

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Launch of Samyukta Media: My small step in a big world

Update:

Samyukta Media is alive and kicking, please visit website for more updates www.samyuktamedia.com

So it has been about 3 months that I have quit and an update is much needed on how has life been without a job. Life has been good, more importantly,  it has been exactly the way I planned. Sometimes I get worried when everything goes according to the plan, a voice echoes constantly in my head saying, “Something have got to go wrong somewhere.”

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The search, the chase and the soulmate

I don’t know if its a coincidence or not but I happen to write whenever it pours unexpectedly and beautifully in the National Capital. And these writings always come in mind while I am coming home from work. In 2005, I used to work in Nehru Place, I thought of this post while sitting in the auto. In 2006 I was stuck in a bus stop, unable to find any bus or auto to my home in Dwarka, the rain was so beautiful I took some impromptu photos.

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Kunte v. Dutt: Indian Bloggers’ waged a war against their favourite enemy

A war has been waged by the Indian Blogsphere against NDTV Journalist Ms. Barkha Dutt.

Recap: Certain Mr. Kunte wrote this blog post against Barkha Dutt. Note, I said against Barkha Dutt as a whole, not just on her reporting style. He called her an ‘idiot.’ Soon he followed it with a public apology and withdrawal. The language of the withdrawal post was very legal so Indian blogshpere went ahead and assumed (may be rightly) that Ms. Dutt might have threatened him with legal consequences.

A huge uproar followed, on blogs, twitter, suddenly Kunte was a famous victim of coercion from Mainstream media, blogger’s favorite enemy, invoking large amount of sympathy. Facebook groups are being floated in his support, ‘we support Kunte’ kinda virtual slogans are being raised, there are talks of comic strips being made on the incident to malign Ms. Dutt’s image even more. Somebody even said something about a candle light vigil. In no time we have another blogging martyr first being one Mr. Sabnis.

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An Interview with Jasmine Shah of Jaago Re!

Jasmine Shah

Starting from today I am introducing an Interview section on my blog. One interview every month. Starting with Jasmine Shah, the Campaign Coordinator of the Janaagraha and Tata Tea initiative, Jaago Re! One Billion Vote campaign.  I took this interview for Mutiny and is first published in Mutiny’s January Edition.

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Mutiny Print edition

It is official. Mutiny, the thought terminus of India which was till now restricted to the world wide web is officially a national publication. Refined, refurbished and printed it is now up for grabs.

You can now hold the ‘Mutiny’ in your hand, read it while sipping your morning coffee or on the commute, or while waiting for your date to arrive. Let’s admit, there is a different feel altogether to be in print. What more you might just win an iPhone3G (16GB) with your subscription. (Terms and Conditions apply)

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Dating Etiquette Act, 2005

Dating Etiquette Act, 2005

An Act to codify the legislator’s ideas regarding the term called dating and to clear the stupid clichéd meaning given to the concept by the Indian middle class

Chapter – I – Preliminary Continue reading

The World As I Knew It Has Ended

Perhaps there will be a new world or there won’t, time will tell. As of now it is the end of the world I knew and lived in for last decade.

My friendship with S came to an end today. Earlier this month, she had taken a strange dislike for me and I couldn’t make sense of some of the things she said or did but I decided to keep quiet about it. That silence has been interpreted by her in ways unknown to me, all I know is that she has officially ended it. S had been the anchor of my life for the last ten years. She is the glue that kept me together with human contact, fun, happiness, in a world that is so alien to me that I cannot relate to it. Although we know each other since school days, starting from 2006 when her life went through some disturbances and she reached out to me for support, we came closer. Since then years after years, she has pulled me inside a circle of normalcy every time I have felt like losing my mind, every time I felt everything is lost in my life. Years after years, she’s is the only person who brought me thoughtful gifts from all the places she traveled, and these are not just some items she picked up. If there’s anybody who gives a thought to what kind of person Sanju is and then buys an appropriate gift, that’s her. Nobody is better in bringing you a special gift or throwing a surprise party on your birthday and making you feel special. Losing her is an irreparable loss. I am a loner, always has been. She was the only reason I had any kind of friends in life, although those people first came together through something I started but as I kept alienating people from my life, she picked them up and nurtured them. And then she pulled me into that world of friends where there was good people, laughter and fun. Along with her, I lose that world too. Without her, I am lonely and miserable.

I will also not say a word about how, why and what happened. Either to her or to the world. Those things never help, all it does is bring out more skeletons from the closets, nobody ever believes that they are wrong, so they just go back to their memories and bring out more and more ugly things to justify themselves. I will give my story she will give hers and the break up will happen even after a lot of back and forth argument and bickering. Breakups always happen, you cannot prevent them.

If this is my loss alone, and if this is my doing alone, then I should suffer for it. I should be punished. I would love her always but I don’t deserve to be with her. And if it is not, then she’ll turn around one day. I will wait for that day.

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Flickr Photo Walk Delhi – Macro Texture

Article on the Flickr Photowalk coordinated by me in Delhi. I was the only one who actually did the walk and thoroughly enjoyed. The theme was macro texture photography. In this article, I explained what macro texture is and have shared some of the images I have taken. Pls read on my photography website.

Sanjukta Basu | Photography

When there was nothing, there was Flickr. Launched in 2004, Flickr is like a social media dinosaur, no wait, dinosaurs have extinct as have so many other social networks launched around that time, but Flickr has come a long way. I actually quite despise Instagram and Pinterest for taking the limelight  away from Flickr as the supreme photo sharing platform. Flickr has evolved and shaped itself as per the need of the hour and has since become a favourite among professional photographers  who seek some real meaning in sharing their work. They want to be inspired from each others work, give and take constructive feedback, collaboration opportunities, assignments, and more importantly they want to challenge themselves.

This article is about one such challenge. The group, Flickr Photo Walk gives weekly / monthly photography tasks and assignments to its  members. This week, they called for a worldwide photo walk on 9th or 10th July on…

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The Rock Crawling Out of The Slumber

My MA exams got over on 17th June, since then I have been just lazing around at home doing nothing. I cook, eat, watch TV/Films, read, write. But these are not doing anything are they? I don’t have  a job, I don’t earn anything so I don’t do anything.

Dad went to Dehradun to be with my sister a day after my exam was over. He came back this Sunday, 3rd July. So basically, I was home alone for two full weeks. Every time this happens I plan to party hard, wild and naughty but I am all talk and no action. I called none and no one called me. My best friend and another friend was also traveling. A week later our maid went to her village to get her daughter temporarily married off. Around the same time my cell phone died and the laptop’s key board and cooling fan went bonkers.

I was forced to go off line, off people. A self imposed solitary confinement. I had my books, bought a few new ones (I would have taken a photo of the new books and posted here but my smart phone is resting in peace), films, and Hugh Laurie…House, Jeeves and Wooster, Bit of Fry and Laurie…I just keep moving from one marathon to another.

At one point those days I felt like asking Simon and Garfunkel what happened to the Rock? Just how long did the rock manage to survive with books and poetry inside its fortress without love and friendship? I mean you know, they wrote that song in 1965 which surely must have been based upon how they felt back then, but can anybody really survive like a rock or an island? Did anybody?

 

This song is my anthem. They wrote everything I feel and there’s nothing more to be said about my life. Rock is exactly how I feel.

I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.

Don’t talk of love,
But I’ve heard the words before;
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.

I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

Except, this rock needs to make a living. So its time to crawl out of my comfortable fortress and go out their and do something. Quitting a full time 9 to 5 job was sexy but I have been struggling since then to find someone who would pay me to do the things I like to do. Travel, photograph and write. I don’t need anybody to tell me how immensely talented I am in these three things and how much my writing and photography influences and impacts people. Yet, what is it that I am missing I don’t know.

On that note, remember what Paulo Coelho said, If you want something deeply enough, the whole universe conspires to get it for you. Yeah right, this is one of the biggest bull crap he wrote. Nobody gives a damn about what you fucking want. Your wants are your bloody problem. If you want something deeply enough, go and get it. Snatch, borrow, steal – do something to get it. But since these are probably illegal, so wait for it. Wait for the right time, opportunity. If you still can’t get it, let it go at some point. Some people wait forever for something which is also fine, but please, do not delude yourself into thinking universe is conspiring to help you. And lastly, do not pray or hope. Both are bull crap.

So what I want deeply is to do a lot of travel and photography. Over the next few months I have plans to do a photo documentary on Women Leaders of Community Radio in India, a trip to Nepal to collect some stories, some more SWBT travels. These are self funded work and they won’t get me any money immediately but let’s see how far I can survive on my savings. After that, I would be like that surfing board which gave up on its dream and took up a day job as an ironing board.

Going to Mumbai next week on Monday, doing a Flickr Photo Walk this Saturday, and what next?

a bit of fry and laurie poster

The Connection Between Hugh Laurie and Larry King

The talk show host having an air of subtle arrogance, a smug smile on his face, interviewing his guest without enough background research and a habit of cutting the guests sentences abruptly jumping to another question…These were some of the sexy features introduced to the genre of talk shows by the legendary Larry King. His show Larry King Live started in 1985 and ran till 2010 on CNN. Continue reading