Dusky endings.

The month of March had not even ended and the heat already made its presence felt. I travelled to the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India. I stayed at the NIFT campus, located on the outskirts of the city, to take a few lectures on written communication and to hold a colour psychology workshop with Fashion Communication students at the centre. As much as I love teaching, or rather interacting with design students, the constant travel to different centres does take a toll on my health.

The dry heat of the “Land of Kings” was a new experience for me. As a child, I would travel with my family to see my sister in the town of Pilani in northeastern Rajasthan. These trips would usually be short affairs, mostly done during the cooler parts of the year when the BITS campus is quite green so you wouldn’t feel the heat as much. But during this visit, I experienced the mercury rise. Transitioning into summer at this place was not easy. And I am not talking about the Delhi heat problem. Delhi feels like paradise when compared to the moisture-sucking air of Rajasthan. My days were mostly spent in air conditioning, and my walking path was dictated by following shaded spots on the ground. For most of the time I was there, I wrapped muslin around my face, wishing it was always drenched in cold water to soothe my burning skin. Still, there was no escape from the relentless heat once I left the shelter protecting me. The trees, the people, the animals, the birds, all life seemed to be asking for mercy from the ironically life-giving Sun.

Only when dusk arrives can you breathe a sigh of relief. The merciless sun now takes a softer tone. The colour of the evening is a tangerine dusk. The hot air becomes kinder, morphing into a slow breeze. You close your eyes and feel your body relax along with the mood of the sky. You can finally sit outside in the open and watch the sun go down as the earth swallows it up. Everything seems slightly easier and you don’t have to take refuge under the shade any more.

You see why the culture of Rajasthan, or even Gujarat for that matter, is so bright and colourful, why the folk music has so much soul. Because the sun, which usually gives life, can also take life. Take the calmness of water away from the land and you are left with a feeling of lifelessness. I tried to compensate for this life-sucking heat by wearing a cotton shirt with a vintage print and wide collar, along with white denims. The cotton made me feel lighter and the print made me feel hopeful and light. People in this culture compensate for a desaturated landscape through using saturated colours. That is why vibrant colours and eclectic prints became such an important part of the Rajasthani culture. Clothing is a reaction to surrounding environments, and also an opportunity for people to express themselves amidst a landscape that can often feel oppressive and boring.

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Photographs by Suryan Unni Joy.

Story by Sahdev Hooda.

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Kangra diaries

Traveling is like reading a book. Like being transported to a new world where unpredictability of life comes to life again. Giving us insights on the world around us at large and also what lies with in ourselves.

I have recently started teaching at different centres of National Institute of Fashion Technology. I studied fashion at NIFT, New Delhi and now teaching the same to the next generation of curious thinkers. Apart from being able to share what I have learned in past ten years of working, I thoroughly enjoy traveling to these different destinations, which I might not have visited otherwise.

Kangra is one of the places NIFT has established a centre at. The college is placed on a hill, just a small walk from the main city. This is my second trip to this place. It is nothing less than another set of beautiful memories etched in my mind. Conversations with young minds is truly an amazing experience. Their unadulterated personalities is a breath of fresh air. There is a certain sense of serenity in the college, a calm vibe with an under current of excitement of the youth.

The city is still away from being commercialised. It has its own charm. Charm of a world untouched and pleasant simplicity. It will be absolutely unfair to not mention the beautiful view one gets from the perspective of the hill top that the college is built upon. It overlooks the valley which is shielded from the other side by the breathtaking Dhauladhar range, vertically inclined, majestic in sight. You will see it here in the images I have shared out of a big pool of them. At times, after the lectures are done, I would walk with friend, who also teaches there, to the other side of the college hill and find a spot to sit at, over looking a river. The cover page image is the view from where we would usually sit. Our spot. We would sit and stare at the sun go down. An absolutely breathtaking view, right in the lap of untouched nature. The birds of prey in the sky would often distract us and hypnotise us with their seamless flow on the winds above. They are poetry in air, just like the clouds.

Occasionally we would skip the lunch at the college canteen and go down to the ‘dhaba’ near college, which was based on the edge of these beautiful yellow fields in the valley. Mustard was flowering then, welcoming spring. The fresh orange juice, ‘aloo paranthas‘ with ‘dahi‘ were a hit with the students and us two, the only customers. After a nice small glass of chai we would go for a brief walk into the fields. Sit their in silence, giving way to the chirping of birds and ruffle of leaves in the wind. At first when you sit down, you only see the big picture. The mountains, the sky, the trees, the big birds. After some time, the life around starts to emerge in finer detail. The bees, the insects, the little birds, the sunlight on the leaves and you see the most beautiful painting in the world. The innocence of things that are wild and free. Egoless, and pure. The most blissful feeling.

Love.

Something a modern mindset can find hard to tap into.

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I will be going back there very soon. Hopefully, I will gather some more images and make another blogpost out of them. Though I love making beautiful images, I wish I could also share some of the videos I have made of the birds in the sky. I have shared some of them on my Instagram page. It is with the same name as my blog @sahdevhooda.

Photographed by iPhone 7 Plus.

Thank You Vineet for you support and also clicking some of these beautiful images.

Sahdev Hooda

Visual Treats

Blessed with the monsoons, photographing around the farm house was such a visual treat. This is my last post from my trip back home. In this post, I have collected the best of the rest.

Completely for the viewing pleasure, this post has some of my favourite captures. And you know the best part is, it is good to share pictures that I clicked myself. The Nikon D5300 is an awesome DSLR. I will upgrade to a better lens. Till then, this is what I serve to you.

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Photographed by Sahdev Hooda.

Not so Wild Life.

 

This is a collection of a few glimpses of life around the farm house. A little off the humans, it has more about the flowers and fruits and the animal life around the farm. Now that I have been living in the city for quite a few years and don’t get to take my summer vacations to the farm, I realise, I was quite fortunate to have grown up seeing crops harvest, flowers turn to fruits and berries, other flowers which only blossom for they pure spectacle . See the cows being milked and have fresh morning tea with “taaza”(fresh) milk. The list is endless. To sum it up, it made me see life that I would never seen otherwise, in harmony with nature.

Thanks to the monsoon again, everything was in its full glory.

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Photographed by me, Sahdev Hooda.

Monsoon Green.

It had been a while since I last made a trip back home. I grew up in Roorkee, Uttarakhand and my ancestral farm house is just half an hour away from the city. My grand father still lives at the farm house as he prefers to be close to nature. You will see him in one of the post that follow.

I started around 5:15 am and reached home (Roorkee) exactly at 8:08 am. The monsoon had just come in and my journey was quite pleasant, thanks to the cloudy weather. The moment I reached home I had aloo paranthas with curd, lime pickle and home made butter and demanded that we leave for the farm house without wasting any time. Mom, Dad and I spent good 2 days at farm and I carried my camera along with me. As a result I got some beautiful pictures to share.

I grew up spending my summer holidays and quite a few Diwalis on this farm house. Right from playing with cousins, riding bullocks to the fields, learning how to milk, plucking raw mangoes and eating them, riding the tractor to so many more, I have loads of memories attached to this place.

This first post is just about the few glimpses of the lush “monsoon green” that blossoms at the farm house during this wet time of the year. It is such a refreshing break from city life, every time I visit the farm house. That is why I always insist spending most of the time here and not in the city home.

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The way that leads to the mango orchards. You see the twin teaks.

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One of my ma’s plants. She is quite crazy about plants.

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The old window.

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The layers of Green.

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The line of Eucalyptus.

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The Poplar borders.

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New life.

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Country roads.

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Through the window.
Photographed by me. Sahdev Hooda

Magnetic fields festival

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Before the last year got over, I did my first trip to a music festival. Magnetic Fields Festival.

It was a last minute plan and I decided to go with a friend(Rishabh) and Priyanka, who is now a friend too. We took my car and I was happy to be behind the wheel yet again. We followed the GPS and went a little off into the smaller towns on the way, but without too much hassle, thanks to the company I had, we talked, laughed and sliding through time we reached our destination. It was a six hour long scenic drive. Rajasthan has some beautiful sights and views to offer during your ride. The festival was hosted in the Alsisar Palace and the desert adjoining it. We reached in the evening around 8 and headed straight to the tents to check-in. There were rooms available in the Palace for booking prior which are royally luxurious but I was quite happy with the bedouin tents as well. It was impeccably organised right from the valet to the rightly numbered lanes and tents.

I was quite excited to be there as a blogger and I was looking forward to things right from the start. While walking through the sand towards our tent, we could hear the music playing in the palace already. The neat tents, the printed fabric walls posted on sticks, little bon fires and a good vibe from the festival crowd was setting the festival mood. We quickly put our luggage and got fresh to get out.

My favourite thing in the tent was the spacious restroom with hot running water. The desert is extremely cold in the night, so I had heard and I found no exaggeration there.

We were warned by Ruhi(magnetic team) so we came prepared to brave the cold and party. We walked from the tent area(desert) to the Palace exchanging smiles and following the sound of music. A small walk, good enough to give you a clear picture of the cold.

The palace was lit all around, it looked magnificent in all its heritage and beauty. I imagined the sets of a Bhansali film walking around. The romance of an Indian Palace is spellbinding and a music festival inside one is like a dream.

Quick bite at the food court and we were ready to begin the groovy business.

There were three different party areas in the palace. I loved the idea of party shifting from one spot to another after an act got over. There was the courtyard where the first night we danced non-stop for almost 3 hours. Five stars to the festival for the backdrop visualisations. They were completely mind blowing.

The second area was the lawn which had a bigger and broader stage for the performance and the visualisations played right behind the artists. That was my favourite party spot.

The music went on till morning but we crashed around 3:30 am.

The next day we got up early with sun toasting the fabric of our tent, giving the beautifully dispersed light inside. We lay in the sun right outside our tent. Rishabh played the guitar and me and Priyanka just chilled and lazed since we lacked the talent to add to his tunes.

There were more such parties outside other tents as I think others too wanted a piece of that sun basking. Even though the music began early, we were preparing ourselves for the evening. When its dark and faces are not so easy to recognise.

Later we roamed around the festival area and the palace in the day time. Met friends, made friends, ate food, clicked pictures, admired some beautiful people, made some conversations about life and such.

The evening started my party with RATATAT and I really enjoyed this act. I am already following them on Soundcloud. This night was quite crazy as we partied non-stop till morning. I missed the dungeon party. which was in the dungeon of the palace. True to its name, the dungeon was a torture chamber before, though I heard the party there was anything but a torture. Damn it! I still wish I could have caught up with that.

The spirit of a music festival can be seen in everyone and everything. The second morning was the same. Bright and colourful. The cold had started to tick me off a little as there was no internal heating in the tents but I tried to make up for that in the daytime with the sun toasting everything in the desert.

My third day favourite act was HVOB. Live vocals and drums and mixing. The girl has a beautiful enchanting voice. No wonder they are called ‘Her Voice Over Boys’. The party went on from one spot to another with everyone fixing their drinks in breaks at the bar and refuelling for the next act. Towards the morning time, BLOT took over and I think  they had everyone dancing to their groovy tunes. It’s a shame that I had never heard them play before as I stay in Delhi but I am glad I did at the festival and they are quite good with their music.

The festival passed by so fast and the morning was here. We had to leave. I am thankful that I was blessed with awesome company of Rishabh and Priyanka. Priyanka was a great support even for the blogpost. She even clicked some pictures that you see above. I also met quite a few people who are doing something similar as me. Left their well set corporate jobs and chase their dreams or some who are contemplating doing so. There was a certain like-mindedness in the crowd. Everyone wore a smile. Everyone seemed ecstatic and partied hard. I had a great time and given a chance to cover Magnetic again as a blogger, i would love to.

For now, I plan to travel more as the more you venture out, the more enriched you are as a person.

“we travel not to escape life, but for life to escape us.”_Anonymous