All posts by Sukanya Ramanujan

Multi-lingual professional with varied interests such as reading, travelling, music and photography.

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle: Geisha Doll

This week’s photo challenge theme was just perfect. When I came back from Japan, one of the souvenirs that I picked up for home was a spectacular Geisha doll. Unfortunately my limited financial constraints meant that I could only pick up a doll that was made in China but I still love her because she is just so beautiful. Ever since I got back I wanted to take a few photographs of the doll and post it on my blog. But of course this was one of those things that I kept putting off for ever. Until they conveniently came up with a theme that forced me to get up, get the doll, my camera and start clicking. The challenge asks us to post a photo gallery of a stationary object from every angle and post three of the best photos- I couldn’t restrict myself to three so here’s the whole batch (well almost!). I photographed the doll indoors at a place where there was a small pool of sunlight- I like an extra dash of sunlight in my photos when I can make the subject(s) look a bit ethereal. (You can click on the individual photo for a bigger version).

What do you think? Which one is your favourite?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today Was a Good Day

Of late the only posts I seem to be uploading on my blog are those of the weekly photo challenges. It’s not because of any lack of interest in writing but more because I’ve been caught up with something that leaves me with very little time and energy to work on the blog.

This week’s photo challenge requires us to post a Mesh Gallery ( a new kind of photo album generating software-ish) around the theme of a good day. I’m not sure if I want to sign up to a new service that I may or may not use so I decided to upload a regular wordpress gallery around the theme.

And what about the theme? Well I decided to post a few images from last Thursday. I spent that day with Leonie Norrington, a writer from Australia who writes books for children. Leonie and I visited a few schools and bookstores in Bangalore interacting with children. I don’t know who enjoyed themselves more- the kids or me.

You can visit the following link to learn more about Leonie Norrington: http://www.leonienorrington.com/

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Leonie Norrington reading out from her book “Look See Look at Me”
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Parents and Children at the reading session at Lightroom bookstore
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A collage of Leonie’s works created by students of Brigade School, JP Nagar
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Leonie Norrington reading out from her book Crocodile Jack
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Children of National Public School in rapt attention 
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Interacting with the children

The Cats of Cappadocia

You can read the previous post in this series here.

At the hotel where we were staying in Goreme, Cappadocia it first looked like dogs had the run of the place. I’m not against dogs but let’s just say that cats rule my heart so I was very happy to see that cats turned up whenever the dogs weren’t around. And just like the magnificent landscapes of Cappadocia, the cats were also extremely amazing to look at and observe.

The most graceful cat I've ever seen in my life. After executing a lithe leap between two neighbouring buildings (in response to persistent requests for attention from me) she came and settled down just at the spot beyond where my hands could reach her.
The most graceful cat I’ve ever seen in my life. After executing a lithe leap between two neighbouring buildings (in response to persistent requests for attention from me) she came and settled down just at the spot beyond where my hands could reach her.
The Sweetest Cat I've seen- this one came and stood right next to me although it couldn't completely relax because of the dogs. I hope you're well my kitty sweet!
The Sweetest Cat I’ve seen- this one came and stood right next to me and then on my lap although it couldn’t completely relax because of the dogs. I hope you’re well my kitty sweet!
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Me and the Cat- Enjoying an intimate moment

Like stray cats everywhere in the world I’m sure most of these cats also had a tough time managing out there in the big bad world. However from what I had seen in Turkey I knew that there were some good samaritans who shared and cared for at least some of these darlings. May they all be blessed (especially the good samaritans!)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath you Feet: Walking through Clermont Ferrand

This week’s challenge asks people to “document the world beneath your feet”

I immediately remembered my visit to Clermont Ferrand in France where the streets had little medallions encrusted in them. During my visit I recognised that the medallions represented the famous citizens of the city: Vercingetorix, Pope Urban II, Blaise Pascal and Comtesse G (Countess Brayere) who vested Montferrand with the power to become a city (in the 12th century) and yes there were originally two towns Clermont and Montferrand that got combined. Anyway the point is that until I started reading up on Clermont today I didn’t realise that these medallions actually indicate walking paths- for tours around the city. Proves you learn something new everyday.

The Comtesse G medallions in the old part of Montferrand
The Comtesse G medallions in the old part of Montferrand
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Pope Urban II
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Vercingetorix the Gaullish Chieftain who gave the Romans a run for their money
Blaise Pascal- the famous mathematicians was born in Clermont Ferrand
Blaise Pascal- the famous mathematicians was born in Clermont Ferrand

Remembering Hiroshima

Tomorrow is the 6th of August. 70 years ago the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima in Japan. The explosion and its aftereffects caused the deaths of more than a hundred thousand people. Looking at the cityscape of Hiroshima today, you would be hard pressed to believe that Hiroshima suffered such a terrible tragedy in its past. It is an amazing illustration of resilience and spirit. I was watching a BBC newsclip yesterday morning which said that the city had restored tram services partially within 3 days of the atomic bomb explosion. 3 days- 72 hours! How does somebody do that when you have just had close to 70,000 people who have died and when you have an almost equal number who are close to death’s door? Maybe hardship made the people even more stronger, even more determined to get back what was once lost.

The Genbaku Dome or the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima
The Genbaku Dome or the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima

My friend and I had an opportunity to visit the Genbaku Dome or the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima earlier this year. The building- originally the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall- was almost directly under the location where the bomb exploded and hence the strong concrete walls were able to withstand the vertical blast waves. Everybody in the building died instantly but the building itself survived in a skeletal form.

How the building looked originally. Source:
How the building looked originally. Source: “Hiromuseum” by http://www.kinouya.com/intro.htm. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hiromuseum.jpg#/media/File:Hiromuseum.jpg

This building is now called the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and is a UNESCO Heritage site. I felt a bit odd to tell the taxi driver that we wanted to go to the Genbaku dome- it is not your usual tourist destination of course. It is a place where you need to meditate and reflect. When discussing how different places in the world cope with disaster differently (that is how Hiroshima had bounced back from an appalling tragedy whereas some other cities and countries still totter decades after a disaster) my friend mentioned that grief was like a gas and the more space you give to it, the more it will expand and take everything up. You couldn’t really compare the grief of one person or culture to another. I thought that was a really interesting point of view.

There are still old people in Hiroshima and the surrounding areas who are battling with local authorities over reparations on damage caused by the explosion. How can one truly assess all the damage that was caused by these bombs? How can one truly assess the damage of any tragedy? I guess that’s a question we will never be able to answer.

A memorial with the Dome in the background
A memorial with the Dome in the background

Incidentally there had originally been a lot of opposing views about whether the Dome needed to be taken down or preserved. It was finally decided to preserve this building as an everlasting symbol of remembrance of the horrors of an atomic bomb. When we visited, teams were carrying out routine maintenance studies on the building and hence the scaffolding.