Bodhgaya │ Patna
Gear: Sony A77 Mark II, Samsung Galaxy M30
January can be summed up in two words, happiness and contentment. We had not seen the chilly winters of north India for a long time, so this was our chance. We also started something new this month – learning to drive a car, which meant waking up much earlier than what my body would have preferred in this lazy winter.
Naldehra │ Chandigarh
Bangalore │ Mahabalipuram │ Pondicherry
Gear: Sony A77 Mark II and Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
February was a month of lots of fun and travel. Starting from Naldehra where we celebrated our first wedding anniversary and witnessed live snowfall to Bangalore from where we made our first ever road trip together (to Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry). It was also quite a playful month with two lovely kids in the house, lots of house parties and good food. Spending some quality time in Bangalore helped me build good bonding with Sonam’s sister and brother-in-law, whom I had met very briefly on earlier occasions.
Ratnagiri │ Malvan │ Vengurla
Gear: Lumix GH5, GoPro 7, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
As we were alone in Mumbai, we decided to celebrate Holi at a beach resort this time. I secretly planned a trip for Sonam that covered the best beaches of Maharashtra, starting from Ratnagiri to Vengurla, which is quite close to Goa. The month also marks the beginning of my informal collaboration with Lumix Mumbai for gears and lenses.
April – July
The next few months were filled with extreme grief and emotional trauma. We lost an irreplaceable part of ourselves when our father left this world due to Covid without a goodbye. When someone you love dies unexpectedly, you don’t lose them that one day; you lose them every day in bits and pieces indefinitely. You gather their memories trying to live with the parts of them left behind or seeing them often in your dreams, guiding a path or just speaking to your subconscious mind. And just when you think you have overcome the pain, you see another missing part of them, overwhelming you with the hard feeling that they are gone, forever, never to come back, but only stay in your memories. “In peace, may you leave the shore. In love, may you find the next. .” – The 100
The only silver lining in these dark clouds of gloom was, I could finally get my dream camera Lumix S1 towards the end of May which was due for delivery at my will ever since April. The delivery was deliberately delayed given the situation we were in.
Being in Patna for the last few months, I decided to celebrate Raksha Bandhan with my sister in Kolkata this time. Other than the happiness of being together with my parents and sibling again, there was nothing eventful about my month-long stay in Kolkata as I was mostly under the draconian lockdown and Covid protocols imposed by my sister as a preventive measure. I could head out only for the second jab and a one-off trip to Science City and Princep Ghat. The good part is, my family still managed to celebrate my birthday with fab decor, lovely cakes and a few memorable gifts, despite the self-imposed lockdown.
I also used these times to complete some interesting online courses on modern art, and photography offered by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Michigan State University through Coursera. What I learned from these courses are summed up in some of my earlier blog posts featured here.
October was the month, we could finally spend a few days in my hometown, Katihar. Finally, I felt like being at home and living in the open, close to nature and my roots. Having your own house comes with few great perks you would be able to appreciate only when you have lived in Bombay apartments and a fast paced city most of your life.
Gear: Lumix S1, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Given our great loss this year, we decided not to celebrate Diwali this time. After we came to Mumbai, we spent the next couple of days tidying things up and booking our first ever car which we had planned to buy around a year back. We used the following weekend to make a small trip to Wai covering Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. We spent the rest of the month learning to drive a car from a local driving school. Finally, on 19 of the month, it was the delivery day of our first ever car – a dream come true. The icing on the cake was Sanjay-Nimisha’s (my law school friends) stay at our home before they left India.
I also attended a friend’s wedding in Corbett this month and got a chance to cover some beautiful moments of his big day. It was a great refresher on my photography skills, given the last time I had covered a friend’s wedding, was in 2018.
Mandu │ Jabalpur │ Varanasi
Darjeeling │ Kalimpong
Gear: Lumix S1, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
With a brand new car and skilful driver by our side, we decided to do something we had never done before. We made a crazy plan to go to Patna by our car, covering the most interesting locations on our way in four days. After we reached Patna, I made an impromptu plan to extend this road trip to the far end of the Indian map to get a fresh glimpse of the eastern Himalayas in Darjeeling. By the time I came back to Patna again, our car had already covered a distance of more than 2500 Km and I had finally learnt some driving as a reward for my relentless efforts.