Maulshree Gangwar: Blog https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog en-us (C) Maulshree Gangwar maulshree.gangwar@gmail.com (Maulshree Gangwar) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:08:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:08:00 GMT https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/img/s/v-12/u110358216-o880399032-50.jpg Maulshree Gangwar: Blog https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog 120 90 Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde) https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog/2017/7/tulip-festival-roozen-garde Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde)Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde) Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde)Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde) Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde)Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde) Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde)Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde) Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde)Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde) Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde)Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde) Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde)Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde)

Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde)Tulip Festival (Roozen Garde)

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maulshree.gangwar@gmail.com (Maulshree Gangwar) https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog/2017/7/tulip-festival-roozen-garde Sat, 08 Jul 2017 15:49:17 GMT
Arts to Sciences: Photo Essay https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog/2014/8/arts-to-sciences Robert Coles has stressed on the fact every now and then in his book ‘Doing Documentary Work’ that a photographer’s work reflects not only her or his perception about the subject but also the place from where the artist belongs and what s/he is feeling emotionally. The fact that surprises me is how different photographers can perceive the same subject in umpteen ways.  Another important aspect that I learnt is that it is most difficult to capture something that is personal. Until now I have been taking pictures of landscapes, happy people, fancy pens etc but I have never been able to relate to these photos.

The project ‘Arts to Sciences’ reflects who I am and where I belong most of the time, being a graduate student. It started as a change project where I wanted to show the transition of semester with the help of my study table but I noticed that even though the books and other things were moving around, there were several things like a travel map and Broadway show brochures that were always there. This struck me as something that reflects my desire to explore the city amidst all the chaos going around on the table, which also signifies the chaos in my life as the semester progresses. So, this turned into a bigger project with the idea of photographing study tables of other students to see what is consistent in their lives amidst the chaos.

As I started photographing study tables, I felt it was getting monotonous so I included the people in the pictures pretending to study. And then, I read Coles’ differentiation between Natural Scientists and Social Scientists. He says "...careers usually made in the social sciences as a consequence of one's willingness and capacity to move from the specific instance to the more general, the conceptual." and "... we hear of science, a systematic ordering of knowledge presumably based on the softing and sorting of information..." (Coles, 1997) He defines natural science as being specific and orderly whereas social science as being general and mostly conceptual. Being a natural science student who made a switch to social sciences, I was able to relate to what the author was trying to convey. This further inspired me to study the tables and the workspaces like labs etc. of natural science students. I was unable to make a clear distinction but I did find that labs in the natural sciences portray order and specificity. An interesting extension to this project would be to capture the work areas of arts students who do pottery and sculpting.

The overarching aim of this project was to study these three different realms of academics: natural science, social science and arts; and be able to find subtle similarities in these loud differences. I also feel that if there was an academic scale, arts and sciences would be at opposite ends of it with social science lingering somewhere in between. 

So I started asking around to get access to an art room and a science lab. I got lucky in getting into two chemistry labs and a sculpting room. For social science, we only have work spaces so I asked around a few friends with their cubicles around campus. When I started putting the pictures together, my intention was to start with showing specificity and attention to detail in a science lab and move towards generalized work space in social science and to completely chaotic freedom in an arts room. However as I started progressing, I was unable to get three representative pictures from each to put in group of threes. So social sciences was dropped and I started putting together sculpting room and chemistry lab pictures in pairs. But it turns out that I found more similarities than differences. Here is the result of my four month long project:  

 

REFERENCES

Coles, R. (1997). Doing documentary work. New York Public Library.

 

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maulshree.gangwar@gmail.com (Maulshree Gangwar) https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog/2014/8/arts-to-sciences Thu, 14 Aug 2014 09:16:35 GMT
In Search of Pink Feathers https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog/2014/7/in-search-of-pink-feathers Having discovered the liking for photography and being a long time fan of our feathered friends, I set out with a friend to Sewri Bay in Mumbai. It is about 30 kilometers away so I woke up, packed some sandwiches and drove away even before the sunrise, to beat the vicious Mumbai traffic. Not being properly ear marked on the maps, I felt it was going to be a struggle finding the spot where thousands of Flamingos are spotted every year from October to March. The mud flats at Sewri serve as a breeding ground for these birds, but in recent years their numbers seem to be declining from a well over thousands to just a few hundreds.

Despite leaving in the wee hours of the morning we still got caught in the traffic and when we finally emerged, it was a completely new side of Mumbai that I have never seen before. We passed through unguarded railway tracks and horrifyingly huge storage godowns that reminded me of those horror movies where people are chased and killed. Even during the morning times it looked completely deserted and spooky that I did not stop my car to take a picture. The search for the Bay area seemed endless but after asking several locals and getting lost many more times, we finally made it to our destination.

It was quiet with a few people already there with cameras trying to capture some white birds located at a distance one could barely make them out as birds. But what caught my attention first was a series of abandoned boats lying in the murky water and a tree nearby with no leaves on it.The site was appalling and I was a little disappointed because it was nothing like what I had seen in the pictures on the internet.

 

To prevent my hunger and exhaustion from accentuating my disappointment, I decided to eat something before I did anymore exploration. The sandwiches and hot coffee gave me the determination to spot the pink feathers. It was the month of January, well within the time when the Flamingos are expected to be there. 

But still there was none within the range of my camera lens. I was really disappointed and decided to return before the Mumbai traffic transformed from vicious to deadly. I fumbled for my car keys but they were not there in my pockets. Without thinking twice and with the camera still around my neck, I ran to the spot where I suspected to have dropped them. And thankfully they were there, otherwise having lost the car keys and not spotting a bird up close would have been a total setback. But as I made my way back, I saw a path to the left of the broad road flanked by sea on both the sides. It had filth strewn all over it but there were some people who made their way onto it somehow. Being curious, I followed them and signaled my friend to follow me. As I carefully made my way through the filth that had made the rocks extremely slippery, I saw some photographers pointing their cameras to behind the trees. And there they were !!! A huge flock of beautiful white birds, just waiting to be clicked ! They were not the flamingos I had come to click but definitely a great sight. I clicked a few pictures but they did not turn out to be much in focus because of the sun being in the opposite direction and the restricted range of my lens.

I took couple of shots of the birds but there were more beautiful scenes to be captured. There was a tree right in the middle of the water and a branch that looked as if it had grown right out of the sparkling water. I never imagined I could see something so beautiful in a city like Mumbai. 

 

The path was not very long and there was no scope for me to get any closer to those white birds. I have been looking for the names of birds but even after asking four bird watchers and several of my friends with interest in wildlife photography and looking over the internet, I am still unable to figure it out. To be very honest, I do not really care much now since they were neither pink nor they were flamingos.

I turned around to make my way back when I spotted a fisherman throwing net into the water. The water looked so blue almost merging with the blue sky. From that far a distance I could only capture the silhouette of the fisherman. There were some wooden stilt like structures sticking out from the water. I am not very sure about their purpose but my guess is that they are there to help ascertain the level of water. Apart from the people with their cameras, this was the only other human activity I encountered in the bay area.  

 

 

This was enough for the day and I finally asked my friend to get in the car and we drove back home which was another struggle in the Mumbai traffic. And that is when this beautiful white bird flew past us and made my day !!!

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maulshree.gangwar@gmail.com (Maulshree Gangwar) Mumbai Pink Flamingos Sewri Bay https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog/2014/7/in-search-of-pink-feathers Tue, 15 Jul 2014 09:48:48 GMT
Its About A Girl: A Slideshow https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog/2014/4/its-about-a-girl-with-music Soundtrack: 'Girl' by The Beatles
Photographs by: Maulshree Gangwar & Nitin Upadhyaya
Slideshow by: Maulshree Gangwar

 

Its About a Girl

 

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maulshree.gangwar@gmail.com (Maulshree Gangwar) https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog/2014/4/its-about-a-girl-with-music Sat, 05 Apr 2014 14:28:05 GMT
The Man at Churchgate Station https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog/2013/3/the-man-at-churchgate-station After snoozing my alarm several times, I finally manage to get out of my bed. Even my dog does not want to be disturbed at this early hour of the day. It is my first day at work and I do not want to be late. I am a teacher and I got this fancy job in a fancy school that is like miles away from my home. For those who have been in Mumbai, traveling long distances for work is not an unusual things. But for someone who has been raised in Lucknow with all the comforts at doorstep, it was going to be a big challenge because the Local Trains here are not a pretty sight. Getting a place to sit in the morning hours is next to impossible unless you can push your way in. 

So I get done with my morning ablutions, take my dog out for a walk, fix breakfast for both of us and finally leave for work. Here is when my journey finally begins. I get an auto rickshaw to the station. It takes me about ten minutes to get to the station where the train was already waiting. I get into the First Class Compartment where I find a comfortable seat near the window and mentally prepare myself to spend the next 45 minutes in that crowded train. To pass my time, I get a newspaper and start pouring through it. As I read, more and more people started getting into the compartment. Some of them were regulars who seemed like they have been traveling for ages and knew everyone around. 

One of the ladies turns to me and says, “You look new. Are you traveling for the first time in this train?”.

“Yes I just got a job near Churchgate and it is my first day to work”.

She just nodded and looked away. I realized later that I was sitting in her regular place. The place she might have been sitting on for ages and I like a total stranger ripped her off something that belonged to her. Anyways I just continued reading my paper. After the Safety Instructions were announced in the three different languages: Hindi, Marathi and English, the train finally started moving halting at nine stations before it reached Churchgate. It was not at all a pleasant experience for I had not anticipated the crowd. Even though I was sitting, the compartment was so crowded that there were ladies standing right in front of me blocking the little air I was getting from the fan. Nevertheless, I tried to keep myself distracted by looking out of the window and all I could see was people sitting near the tracks for discarding their waste.

The scene at the Churchgate Station was again lot of people running to reach their destinations. There were shops under the subway where one can get anything from a lottery ticket to a vada pav. Towards the end of the subway, there was a line of beggars sitting on the stairs that led to the main road overlooking Eros Cinema. They were the same category of beggars, who I never give money to.

As a child, I learnt in one of the Moral Science classes that beggary should never be promoted. Giving money to beggars only motivates them to continue begging their entire lives and never find work. And then, there was this other incident when a beggar approached my father to ask for money. He was a young and healthy gentleman maybe in his late 20s. Instead of giving him money, my father offered him a job that would pay him well. Just the idea of having to work gave him jitters and he completely vanished from our sight.

So I particularly have no sympathy for people who ‘decide’ to beg. But at the end of the queue, there was one person who did not fall in my category. He had swollen legs, so swollen that it made me wonder the amount of effort he might have put in just walking or sliding to that busy corner. He reminded me of an illustration of a man with the same swollen limbs I had seen in my Biology textbook during High School years. The disease is called ‘Elephantiasis’. Back in those days I used to avoid the page with that picture because I could not stand seeing it. And today there was a full-grown man infested with the deadly parasite sitting there with crutches by his side and I just walk past him barely noticing him. Of all the things that were to become part of my daily journey, I never though that he was going to be one of them, Everyday I would see him and think about taking a few pennies from my wallet and dropping them into his bowl like others but then I would stop and think if a few pennies were actually going to be of any help to him. This thought continued to perturb me for the next few months so finally, one day I decided I would drop in a few pennies and see how it felt.

I got down from the train, took a few coins from my bag and started walking towards his usual spot. My mind was brewing different thoughts like 'maybe I could buy something for him to eat too' or 'just hand him the money and give him a smile', but when I reached there he was not to be seen around. I was a little disappointed but I kept the money back in my bag and went ahead for work hoping I would see him the next. He was not there the next day and the day after that and after that too. Many days passed by without him being there. I had started believing that the disease might have taken its toll on him.

The vacations started and there was no visiting the station for about a month. It was a regular day again and I was back with my routine. I got off from the train started moving towards the subway and over to the exit. And there I saw what looked like the man who I have been looking for. He sat there with his solemn look waiting for someone to drop a few coins in his bowl or offer him something to eat. Now this definitely seemed like another opportunity for me to do something I have been really wanting to. I hurriedly went through my wallet and fetched out all the coins I had, went to him and dropped into his bowl and waited for me to feel content by my act. But the next thing that happened was "NOTHING'. I did not feel anything by having helped him that way. I made it a part of my routine to give him either some cash or buy a vada pav for him. After a few days I realized it was doing him no permanent good. That petty cash was not going to help him get treated. So I decided to help him in a way that would make his life.

This time I went to work and did not forget about him. Instead I was determined to find someone who would be able to help me find him a long-term help. After days of browsing and talking to different people from NGOs, I finally found one who agreed to provide him financial assistance for his treatment. In the meantime, I continued buying a pav for him everyday.

By now he started recognizing me. He would give me smile while seeing me approach him. Today I smiled back at him in a way that meant more than just a vada pav.

I approached him and broke out the news to him “ There is an NGO who has agreed to help you get treatment for the disease. They will take care of the expenses even during the recovery. Would you be willing to talk to them?”

I waited patiently to see some reaction from him but there he sat with a blank expression on his face. I was there for the next five minutes but having received no response, I felt that maybe he needed to think over it for sometime or discuss with his family. I went ahead to my work where spent the entire day worrying about what his response was going to be.

And the next day when I moved towards his usual spot, I was filled with determination to make his life better. But he was not there. A week passed by like this but to no avail. I even contacted the NGO to find out if they had come and taken him for treatment but no luck there either. It has almost been a year now and I am still wondering if I have actually made his life ‘better’.

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maulshree.gangwar@gmail.com (Maulshree Gangwar) Churchgate Station Mumbai Local Vada pav https://www.maulshreegangwar.com/blog/2013/3/the-man-at-churchgate-station Thu, 07 Mar 2013 04:08:59 GMT