Oct 23, 2016

Memoirs of Rangoli ... (p40) - Osiyan ... underneath the stars

underneath the stars
Osiyan, Jodhpur
Rajashtan, India
February 2016

One winter night
We ran away for a while
Laughing, we hurried beneath the sky
To an obscure place to hide
That no one could find

And we drifted to another state of mind
And imagined I was yours and you were mine
As we lay upon the grass there in the dark
Underneath the stars
Young love
Underneath the stars

ah...every time i flipped the pictures of us enjoying nights under the stars in Osiyan, the song came into my hum. it was my another attempt for night photography and compared to what i had last time in grampian, this one felt better executed. i had my 35mm f2.8 zeiss, only, to shoot for the night, and yeap..i did regret for not having something wider as we didn't go far that night, other than finding space at the back of our tents.

we gathered after everyone had a quick rest, doing personal business and done with jama' prayer. it was first time for most of us, and for me it was my 2nd time, eventhough i'd been carrying the big camera since like a decade. i was never in to astrophotography or even a serious landscape photography. it took a lot of patient, time and has to be rightly executed to make your shot, not another postcard shot.

syib told us we could try to wake up in the middle of the night if we wanted to seek for milky way...but i guess, winter night in the desert meant a sweet dream for most of us. hehehe. we were outside the tents till it was almost midnight, and then packing up our stuff and went back to own tent.

it had been a long day, without i realized. i mean, we were out for mazing Jodhpur blue city until noon, then took a bus ride to Osiyan, then went for the camel ride for the sunset, and then spent the night watching the performances and finally closed it with the memo-graphing the night under the stars.


Oct 22, 2016

Memoirs of Rangoli ... (p39) - Osiyan ... night in the desert

spinning around
Osiyan, Jodhpur
Rajashtan, India
February 2016

it was winter in India. the sun-set early, hence the nightfall. by the time we arrived our camp, it was dark already, yet still early for our dinner. instead of heading towards our tent, we were led to the other side of the camp. we saw chairs being arranged, and then the sort-of fire-pit being set up to surround the place. there was a group of people in traditional costume with some of the holding the musical instrument like bongos and harmonica, sitting, while the ladies standing on the other side, doing some moves, warming up for the next event.

voila...night under the stars, in the desert, we were presented by the performances by these locals of Osiyan - singing and dancing, while waiting for the dinner. honestly, we were already surprised with the glamping treat, but with this showcase, i guess we did feel like the rich for a moment. they even served us with drinks etc. while enjoying the performances. 

the men was singing the songs in Marwari, which sounds different compared to the typical hindi that we had been listening mumbled by the locals for the past few days. obviously, none of us understand but somehow, the songs and the singing were really engaging. yeap..the lead singer voice was too good, and sounds like the udit narayan, arjit singh etc. i asked the camp staff, what was the songs were about and he told us that it was an old songs, telling the story of old Marwari folks tales and kingdom of the past, about wars, about love, about life etc.

the lady dancers? well...the belly dance was part of it..but mostly they were performing the classic indian dance that suited the songs sang.
we took a break as it was time for dinner already. why a break? well..they were scheduled to perform another hour, but then as the winter night crept in and we were easily hungry, we took a break and went for dinner. dinner was good, and we had chicken this time, as requested by us. it had been like 2-days we were on vegan mode...and the chicken curry that we had was totally a winner. ah...i forgot to snap the picture of our meals. and mind you, it was not a buffet, but was a 3 course meals if i've not mistaken. and we had gulaab jammu for desert. yummeh.

did i mention that we were the only group that occupied the camp for that night? hehe...so we were treated like a king with all the attentions being given to our group.
we went back to the group after our good meal. enjoying the last few chapters of the performance, underneath the sky. a good cup of a hot chai masala was really add the zing to our night, while watching the performance.

we asked the group to sing our theme song of the trip ' Janam Janam' and guess what, in this part of India, Arjit Singh and his latest tunes were not something common, even to the local performers like them. we even let them listen to the song in our phone, but they were unable to recognize the tune. perhaps, it was because they are used to Marwari old tunes, or perhaps, Arjit and Dilwale were not something big in Osiyan.

but they did not disappointed us, as while carrying the final few tunes, we were invited by the lady dancers to join and do the moves. and what was more interesting....they finally found something that used to our ears - Kuch Kuch Hota Hai...and that was our closing song for the night. it ended up with a singalong of us with the group. well...who couldn't carry the tune of that iconic song? hehehe.

we bid farewell to them and made our back to our tent. it was around 9pm. and Syib told us that we'd be shooting for the stars later. well...of course...something that i  was really looking forward to! with the clear sky in the desert, the opportunity should be there!


Oct 20, 2016

Memoirs of Rangoli ... (p38) - Osiyan ... the desert safari

Osiyan Desert, Jodhpur
Rajashtan, India
February 2016

upon departing, i was informed that we'd be experiencing the desert safari in Pushkar. obviously, i was really looking forward to visit this part of India as i heard a lot about the place, especially its annual camel fair that happened in November. i've seen a lot of photography works made about this region, and if i've not mistaken one of the national award winners of Sony photo award few years back, was about the camel mahout of Pushkar.

we were briefed that our desert safari in Pushkar would be a very basic experience. there'd be no glamping etc. and we could opt to sleep underneath the stars or in the basic tent. we even told that there'd be no toilet and we had to get ready for our nature's call in own way. of course, knowing that, nobody was in mood to have a big meal for our lunch as we were back from visiting the blue city of Jodhpur.

but we were then updated by Syib that, we didn't have to worry as our desert safari tour would have a proper toilet facilities etc. that had put a lot of relief on most of us faces, as knowing that answering nature's call would not be a major problem now. it was only whether we could survive sleeping in the tent, in the middle of the desert.

we checked out from our hotel in Jodhpur, and then hired the auto-rickshaw to bring our all of our luggages to the bus that waited for us at the main street of the city. once settled unloading all the stuff, we left the city of Jodhpur and heading to Osiyan, where we'd be experiencing the desert safari thing.

the journey took a while and most of happened to be in our own rem throughout the journey. the bumpy road woke us up as we were approaching Osiyan and we could see the dry land on both sides of the road. the bus made a turn, and we could see sand dunes at few part of the land, while riding. Osiyan apparently is famous with this desert safari tourism, and it is actually an oasis of the famous Thar desert that occupy most of the part of western Rajashtan. we could see a lot of signages of desert safari camps as we were ridin towards our destination.

Osian (Osiyan) is an ancient town located in the Jodhpur District of Rajasthan state in western India. It is an oasis in the Thar Desert, and has been known as the "Khajuraho of Rajasthan" for its temples. The town is a panchayat village[1] and the headquarters for Osian tehsil. It lies 69 km (43 mi) by road north of the district headquarters at Jodhpur, on a diversion off the main Jodhpur – Bikaner Highway.
the bus made a turn and i saw a big sign of Safari Camp Osiyan. syib suddenly stood up and made an announcement with a big smile. it was a surprise for us! as apparently we'd be experiencing what i could quote as a luxury glamping in the middle of the desert.

we were greeted by the camp staff, and then were given a welcoming drink and hot towel to freshen up ourselves. the bags were taken by the staff to the tents that was nicely set up and arranged at one side of the camp. as we entered our tent...voila! it was like staying in a hotel room as the room was complete with comfy beds, bedside table etc. and also a proper toilet with shower etc. the only thing that was not there was the tv! and the air conditioning.
we were told that our camel ride to the sand dune to watch the sunset would be around 5pm. so we had ample time to get ourselves a good rest. most of us, continued to be in our rem cycle.i had a quick nap, then stayed awake until the we were called to gather at the camp entrance. we saw the camels and the mahouts already waiting for us.

so it began! the camel ride to the sand dune.

it was the first time for most of us, and obviously, we were in between of excitement and fear. the difficult part of camel ride was to balance yourself as the camel stand up, and vice versa. without a proper control, you could easily get yourself thrown away.
it was fun 20 minutes ride, and we then finally arrived at the sand dune part of the camp. well...as Osiyan is part of the oasis of the Thar desert, the sand dune apparently is not a dominant part of the land. the one that we went was small, and obviously for me, the size is comparable to the arid part of the pantai klebang of melaka. but then, a camera trick would do and make it looked like you are on a big desert.
still, the fact didn't spoil our mood or expectation etc. we were off the camel, and then started to memo-graph the mahouts and camels with sand dunes as the background etc. until it was time for sunset.
there was another group of tourists, came from other camp/resort nearby that spent the time at the same sand dune, waiting for the sunset too. well...we were greeted by them and then conversation struck to fill in the time while waiting for the sunset.

guy : ah..where are you guys from?
us : we are from malaysia. what about you?
guy : we are from ISRAEL.

muahaha. some of us that was asking, suddenly stunned with the answer and became clueless to respond. i heard their conversation, and just chuckled to know that it went silent for a while when the guy told us that. hehehe. but then it was about time to go. we bid farewell to the group and the rode the camel back to our camp.


Oct 18, 2016

Memoir of Rangoli ... (p37) - interlude ... Jodhpur Blue City part 4

Blue City of Jodhpur
Rajashtan, India
February 2016

it was almost 11am, if i've not mistaken. the plan was to get back to the hotel and packed up as we'd be leaving for our next destination by 1pm. we were walking towards the other end of the blue city while suddenly being approached by  friendly local lady. a single mother if i've not mistaken, and she spoke to us about the possible attractions within the blue city itself like where we could go and see th locals in traditional costumes, where to buy stuff etc. she was offering her services to do mendhi, the traditional Indian henna painting to the ladies at a good price. two of them decided to have their hand painted with artwork of henna by the lady.

while waiting for the work done, we waited for a while outside of the house, and wandering around. our voices must caught the little boy attention, and he was curious to know what was the commotion. he didn't go far, rather than taking a peek and then stared at us for a while, before went back into the house.

it took about 15 minutes for the ladies to have the mendhi done. the local lady then offered to take us to visit part of the old city where we could see and photograph the locals in their traditional costumes etc. , but we had to decline as it was getting late. we bid farewell to her, and then walked down from through the alley to the main street.luckily, there was a lot of auto-rickshaw waiting for customers. after a quick negotiation and agreed with the price, we then rode back to our hotel with the auto-rickshaw. once arrived, we went to our hotel room and then packed up our stuff to check out from the room.

before we left the hotel, we had our lunch as we were told that it'd be long journey to our next destination ...

Osiyan..the desert safari!

Oct 15, 2016

Memoirs of Rangoli ... (p36) - story of faith ... Jodhpur Blue City part 3

Blue City of Jodhpur,
Rajashtan, India
February 2016

the blue city, or the old city of Jodhpur is mainly a residential area. other than small shop houses that selling day to day groceries, and some street vendor, i only spot one or two sign posts that would direct you to houses that being turned into guest houses by the locals. so what would you see as you wander just a typical daily life of people of Jodhpur. as i mentioned, other than the 2 japanese tourists with their big cameras, we were the only group that playing tourists, wandering at every possible alleys of the place and broke the silence with our non-sense jokes and laughs. (oh...yeap..travelling with rarecation, at one point, everybody dah masuk air dah..tak betul).

the group stopped for a while in front of the small shop house and i saw these two old ladies, perhaps one of the is the owner of the place. i had no intention to buy anything, but since my spot was exactly facing them, i greeted them with namaste and a smile. it caught their attention.

auntie : you speak hindi?
me : no auntie (while performing the head bobble thingy)
auntie: are you student?
me : yes (without hesitation...as i believe it was hard to explain other than that)
auntie: film student? photography student?
me : photography, auntie...
auntie: ah...lot of film and photography student came here. film especially.
me: chuckled..and nodded to agree.
auntie: are you muslim? ( while trying to point to the ladies of the group as they were wearing the head-scarf)
me: yes auntie, we are muslim.
auntie: sunni? or shia'?
me: sunni, auntie..(and i smiled)
auntie : ooh...sunni...very strict (with her head bobble and looking back at another auntie inside the shop...and she did the same, so of agree)

i just smiled as it was a non-muslims interpretation towards the religion.  i didn't contest as for unknown, rather than explaining and contesting, it is better to give the right perspective, that Islam is only one.

i asked their permission to take their pictures and they agreed. they were happy to see their faces on my screen...and i quoted  ' front page, auntie!'...hehe..they just chuckled.
we left them after a while and continued wandering around the blue city of Jodhpur.