The three directional dilemma

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 TickerTicker 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”.


33 thoughts on “The three directional dilemma

  1. What a wonderful post, Raghav, and only you could have written it. My favourite has to be the one from Neemrana and the chess board.

    I understand the dilemma part well and in my case it is travel, photography, art and books — all these pull me in different directions. I still remember those trips when all fell into place — the visit to Constable Country in England to see the places where John Constable painted or that view of the Royal Naval College from across the Thames at Greenwich or walking down Harley Street and thinking of PG Wodehouse… Such moments cannot be described. Sometimes travel, architecture and music converge for me. Like when a row of train sheds all lined up made me think of a fugue or the sight of a mix of buildings make me recall a concerto or a symphony.

    Thank you so much for this post. It gives an entirely new perspective to multiple interests and passions.


    1. Thank you Sudha. It’s really funny that had you not mentioned the guest post that linked films and travel I might never have thought of it, but I enjoyed going through the photos. In all honesty there are probably 4-6 more photos that would fit in the context but I guess I had to draw a line somewhere. Thank you so much for a wonderful opportunity.


  2. You have worked out a fascinating solution to your dilemma. Great how the amalgamation of your hobbies allows you to revel in all of your passions at the same time. My dilemma though is a bit deeper, or mundane, if you’d have it. I lack both time and money which often means I agonize for days, even months, damn it: even years, before I purchase the next gear on credit.

    If you don’t curse me and as they say, in my humble opinion, do pick up a few books on photography. At the risk of sounding patronising, I’d like to suggest Bryna Peterson and David DuChemin. And in case you don’t have it already, go get a DSLR.. Now the last, but not the least, I expect to be forgiven.


    1. Thank you. I’m not sure if you meant the photogrpahs are not up-to-the-mark but they were taken by different cameras over the years. Some of them are in fact more than a decade old. I do have a DSLR now, but for me personally I enjoy learning photography on my own and feel that after knowing the very basics I really don’t want to study books considering the fact that it is after all a hobby.


  3. Beautiful pictures. Yes, I too have this feeling of pulled in three different directions. Sometimes it a bane to have so many hobbies. 🙂 I am thankful at times that I do not fear a lonely day devoid of any humans because I can squeeze so much into those 24 hours.
    A DSLR is what I want right now.


    1. I love free days… And while I get pulled in all directions I do eventually end up doing something, even if it’s catching up on my journals 🙂 thanks


  4. Thankfully or Unthankfully I cant make up my mind at the moment , I dont get time to do any hobby let alone three..

    Life has become so busy with so much happening. Those are some beautiful pictures and you mentioned my city Birmingham too, are you in Birmingham.

    and the blood shot eyes do remind of Birds and the typewriters of Zodiac , I have not seen all the presidents men


    1. Birmingham is sort of a second home for me and my summers are spent there. All the President’s Men is a must see and covers Watergate. Thanks and maybe next time I’m in B’ham we meet up. Cheers!


  5. Ah! Beautifully expressed dilemma of multiple tastes! Now I keep meeting people who haven’t a clue what to do with their time after retirement. Better our sort of dilemma than theirs, I’d say 🙂


  6. Beautiful photographs Raghav! The Neemrana hotel room is lovely – you have managed to capture the lovely pink glow of sunlight streaming through the window. I am glad you have found a new passion in photography. While, I love photography, I have not got down to spending sufficient time pursuing this hobby. I do have an old Canon DSLR – no live view, but hardly get to use it.
    Thanks to Umashankar for suggesting Bryna Peterson and David DuChemin.


    1. Thank you very much Neena. Just recently I actually took photos of strangers, a big first for me, so yeah it’s keeping me busy… or rather adding to my dilemma 🙂


  7. Beautiful perspective, Raghav! Its amazing how the intermingling of all our hobbies can come together to create a whole new dimension and alter our outlook towards things. Loved the typewriter picture the most, it certainly has an intriguing charm to it.


  8. An unexpected sight at the turn of the road; a different perspective revealed while looking through the lens…the world can throw in surprises or revealations at the most unexpected moments. Enjoyed your post. And I agree with Sudhagee, the capture of a corner at Neemrana has a quaint charm.


  9. What a unique idea of combining various hobbies and coming up with a lovely a post! Only two of the best creative minds could have come up with this 🙂 I loved the Neemrana picture and could immediately conjure up the scenes between the Shatranj ke khiladi. Sanjeev Kumar was my favourite actor of the times. Though I have not seen Birds, I could imagine the movie from the picture. The eyes — well, I would have been afraid when I saw it, not in hindsight like you 😀


    1. Thank you. About the eyes, I was too focused on taking the picture by moving towards the bird that I didn’t even realize how bloodshot the eyes were. It was only must later and that’s when I felt a chill in my spine.


  10. In the first scroll, I gaped at the beautiful photographs … in the second scroll, I read the post and absolutely loved it ! Such a beautiful post ! 🙂


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