'Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink in the wild air"
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most of my childhood was spent outdoors.
Or at least that is how I remember it now. I was a kid who yearned to be out of the house whenever possible.
I would wait for summer to play cricket all day long under the blazing hot sun. I would wait for the monsoons, to inhale the divine smell that parched soil gives out after the first rains, and later, to joyously cycle in rain and over the rainwater collected in the puddles by the roadside. And then, for the winters to see how long I could keep going to school without wearing a sweater and for the joy that you get in huddling over small fires on the way to school.
Bliss for me was being outdoors, under the open skies.
However, life soon took over.
I went to do my mechanical engineering – spending four glorious years having a lot of fun and learning precious little of academic value – and followed that up with a post graduation in management.
The standard corporate life followed. New sectors and new organizations tempted me with their challenges and long work hours became as normal for me as being outdoors used to be. I managed P&L of businesses, ran operations and, in between, also entered the exciting world of start ups, when I joined my wife’s venture and ran it with her till we got acquired. Along the way, I also became a Certified Coach and did my Hogan’s certification.
It was pure chance that rekindled my passion for the outdoors.
I was on an official trip to Beijing, when a few office colleagues planned a visit to the Great Wall for a good friend and I. It was not to the standard, sanitized part of the Wall that most tourists throng to, but to a wonderfully desolate part where the Wall stretched out in all its glory, twisting and turning, broken down in parts, whole in others. We walked for a few hours through this beautiful place and by the time we finished our hike, I was clear.
I needed to get back outdoors again.
Over the next few years, I hit the outdoor adventure circuit. I did the Annapurna Base Camp trek, the arduous Auden’s Col trek that many list amongst the toughest treks in India, and, of course, the most memorable one of them all – a two week expedition to Arunachal Pradesh in the North East part of India, for whitewater rafting down the mighty, tempestuous, Brahmaputra.
Trekking, in a way, kindled the desire for being fit and that led me to explore the world of long distance running and over the next few years, I did a couple of full marathons and quite a number of half marathons.
I would always have a point and shoot for my trips and I was enjoying taking pics and wanted to learn more about photography. That took my down a thoroughly fascinating rabbit hole and soon I was hooked to wildlife photography and was busy planning and doing trips to places which I had never thought I will be going to.
I have gone down small rivers, crouching under the overhanging branches at Pantanal, in Brazil, while looking for jaguars. I have stood under the open blue skies in Masai Mara watching a huge herd of incredibly nervous wildebeest crossing the Mara river during the Great Migration and followed cheetahs hunting topis, anxious about the outcome. I have stood shivering in sub zero temperatures at Drass in Kargil looking for the Himalayan brown bear and walked up the hills in North Darjeeling bordering Nepal to photograph the shy creature, the Red Panda is.
All these were places and experiences that definitely weren’t in my plans a decade back. My passion for photography and the deep urge to see new places has led me to these places.
I am certain that I will continue to travel. That, in my pursuit of wildlife photography and desire to explore new cultures and traditions, I will go to extremely interesting, remote places, and get exposed to vastly different cultures and ways of living.
I want to share my experiences.
I want to share the same sense of awe and wonder that I feel when I am out in the middle of nature. I want to capture interactions, moments in the wild, which would help people understand better the behavior of the animals, the dynamics, and also, the balance of nature that exists. I want to share an intimate feel of the places I go to, to give a sense of the beauty and an idea of the culture that exists there.
I am fortunate to be able to travel, can I give you a glimpse into a part of nature that might fascinate you ?
I will occasionally digress and also talk about photography related topics – share some behind the scene stories, share my views on some of the photography / wildlife books that I read.
If all this interests you, do sign up for my posts “ Escape into the wild’
I would love to engage with you and hear from you, your thoughts.
Thank you !