The Guest Post Series on “My Favourite Things” has contributions by those sharing my interests in travel, books, photography, music, and on issues that I am passionate about. Though the guest posts are not always by fellow bloggers, the guest authors are always those who have interesting experiences to share.
Today’s guest author is Raghav Modi, who writes four blogs —The Traveling Ticker, Ticker Talks Film, Ticker Prints, and Ticker Talk. I admire the passion with which Raghav writes and his ability to juggle his many interests so effortlessly. I like all that he writes, but my favourite post has to be the one on a museum of pens in Birmingham. Raghav is also the founder of Movie Talk on Sunday (#MTOS), and The Sunday Book Club (#TSBC). In today’s guest post, Raghav’s three primary passions in Films, Travel and Photography converge to create unique serendipitous moments.
Ever get the feeling that you are being pulled in three different directions at the same time? I do. Every time I have a moment to spare, I feel like my interests/passions/hobbies all gang-up and pull me towards their individual selves. Films and Travel have always occupied the highest tier on my activities table. Photography was recently added to this knocking down books and food to the under-appreciated second tier. So now when the weekend rolls in I am never sure what to do, which eventually leads to me doing absolutely nothing.
But, just once in a while, something magnificent happens. Everything falls perfectly in place and I end up with a photograph, a memory, or in some cases my vivid imagination wherein all my interests amalgamate. Searching through countless photographs (thank you digital camera technology) I ended up with these few instances wherein my lust for cinema met with my passion for travel to collaborate into a unique photo.
Walking along the canals in the second city of England, Birmingham, I came across this pigeon perched comfortably on the fence. Birmingham has more canals than Venice and was an integral part in the industrial revolution with factories built by the canals as heavy goods could be transported easily using the waterways.
It didn’t occur to me at the time, but as I look at the photograph now, I can’t help but notice the blood-shot eyes which inadvertently reminds me of the classic Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds. I remember slowly moving closer to the bird, trying not to scare it away, while it stood tall not moving an inch. Now, in hindsight, I wonder, if maybe it was I who should have been scared?
Antiques fascinate me. I can’t afford anything good, but there is something about an object with a history that intrigues me. As I took this photograph of a somewhat old typewriter on board the Book Barge, a narrowboat that had been converted into a floating bookshop, I tried to focus a little on the book that was placed next to it as well, Dali & Film.
Looking at the photograph in black and white, I always think about some of cinema’s best journalistic films such as All The President’s Men and Zodiac and wonder if anything important or scandalous was every written using this typewriter?
Imagine my surprise as I came across the Blue’s Brothers Coffeeshop lingering around Amsterdam one gloomy winter afternoon.
A city that is known for its canals, its bicycles, its red-light district, Amsterdam has to be explored on foot. There are coffee shops everywhere and small independent cinema theatres hidden in even smaller lanes. As I wonder about unexpectedly coming across the Blue’s Brothers Coffeeshop, I just know that it defines the city which is equally quirky and adventurous as the characters of this classic film.
Paris, Je t’aime. This has to be one of my all time favorite photographs. A little known fact is that the photograph was taken with one of those panoramic cameras and in its original form isn’t all that great. It was once I scanned it and “worked” on it a little, it got this silhouette grainy feel to it.
This photograph always reminds me of the beautiful film Paris, Je t’aime and of the various weekend/day trips I took to Paris during my college years. The city is not necessarily the most romantic in my book, I prefer Verona in Italy more, but it does have a certain charm that is addictive… and of course who can forget Parisian women.
I hate using the word, but this photograph taken outside the Kingdom of Dreams, which happens to be a five-minute drive from my house, shouts Bollywood. With the “item numbers” becoming ever so popular, the Munnis, Sheilas, and Jalebis have become household names.
The photograph is also apt because the Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon holds one of the most vibrant theatrical performances I have ever seen and these musicals signify and honour everything that is Indian cinema. A visit to the Kingdom of Dreams is truly a fun-filled event as it also holds a huge food court, Culture Gully, that serves mouth-watering dishes from different regions of India along with small regional performances held every half hour.
My trip to Neemrana will always remain special as it was my daughter’s first ever vacation. Situated about three hours from Delhi, Neemrana gives the visitor a chance to live comfortably in a fort which has been converted into a hotel. Offering a pool with a view and SPA treatments to rejuvenate your soul, the best aspect of the property is the ambiance that has been kept to give an authentic feel. This little corner in our room was not only the perfect place to keep the mind sharp during a lazy weekend with a game of chess, but also beautiful to photograph as the light pierced through the window panes.
More importantly the setup always reminds me of the film Shatranj Ke Khiladi (The Chess Players) which is such an underrated gem featuring Indian actors.
Gone are the days when I would avoid going into theatres while I traveled around the world. Gone are the days when I regretted not having taken enough photographs upon my return from a vacation. I now have a new passion, one that makes me look for opportunities and activities where I can experience everything my heart desires, everything at once, for I am human and in the words of Mr. Mercury “I want it all, and I want it NOW”.