In black and white
Amidst an onslaught of digital technology, pockets of passionate hobbyists and professional photographers are clinging to depleting global stocks of film. They chant in unison: 'it's the quality of the grain, the magic of the chemistry, and we cannot let it die'. Although most digital cameras come with an option for black and white photography, afficionados say only film does justice to the medium. Here's how you can get started on this quaint, nearly-forgotten art form that's recorded so much of our culture and history.
Choosing a camera
Any old camera, perhaps one lying unused in your attic, will do the trick. In fact, the older the camera, the better. Alternatively, head to a camera repair shop or auction house and scout for rare beauties in working condition or shop online at jjmehta.com, a forum for used camera equipment. For those looking to buy new ones, Nikon's entry-level film SLR FM10 and the professional-level film SLR FM3 A are good options.
Buying black and white film isn't as easy as it used to be. That's a clear case of demand determining supply and price. Still, a handful of camera dealers across the country stock film. Head to Chandni Chowk in Delhi, Wallajah Road in Chennai, Metro Gali in Kolkata or Bazaar Gate Street in Mumbai for good quality film.
Developing the roll
Most developers have replaced their dark rooms with digital studios. However there are a few reputed developers still dabbling in the medium. These include Kolkata's Bikash Bose Studio in Triangular Park, Mumbai's Idea Lab in Prabhadevi and Delhi's Siddharth Photographix in Jangpura.
The printing process
Since traditional photographic paper is ever rarer than film in India, you may have to give your purist instincts a rest. A good, cost-effective option is to scan and digitally print your work. Once you develop the film roll, you could either order a contract print from a developer or have the roll scanned to preview it on your computer. A high-resolution scan from a negative can be blown up to any size.
Trend in town
Hong Kong-based lomography.com offers retro film cameras such as the Sprocket Rocket with an ultra-wide panorama lens and the Horizon Pro with a swivelling lens for sharp optics.
A beginner's guide to polo
Ace polo player, Arjuna Awardee and CEO of Equisport Management, Major Adhiraj Singh talks about the game of kings, one he calls his first love.
Since riding is a pre-requisite, it is essential to know the basics of riding posture and balance. Ideally, beginners should practice on trained ponies - under guidance - until they're ready to participate in matches. This also acquaints them with 'stick and ball' and covers the basics of using a polo mallet while riding.
Thoroughbred horses are usually the fastest and afford maximum mobility on the field. They can be procured from race courses once they have completed their racing careers at the age of five or six. In India, thoroughbreds imported from Argentina and New Zealand are common and are a good choice. The most sought after is the Argentine polo pony. Owing to their jumpy temperament and tendency to kick, Arab and European warmbloods are best avoided.
In order to protect yourself during a fall, it is important to strap on wellfitted breeches, knee-length riding boots, snug-fitting helmets and knee pads. Most polo clubs provide their own gear and those practicing independently can source equipment from the Army Polo and Riding Club in Delhi or contact equisport.com.
Playing the field
Polo is a fast paced game. The key is anticipation: the ability to foresee the actions of your teammates and opponents. Teams usually huddle-up before each match and coordinate a tactical play. Each player should maintain his or her position on the field, throughout the game. This not only helps you mark your man but is also the key to getting ahead and, ultimately, winning the game.
Yoga: Mastering the art of restful awareness
Sushant Pandey, head of yoga at Ananda Spa in the Himalayas, takes us through a 10-15-minute-long yogic exercise which enhances self awareness and leaves you refreshed. Posture Lie down on your back with feet a feet apart, palms facing upwards and your head, neck and spine in one line. Gently close eyes and minimise movements until you're still.
Body Scan Mentally relax each part, from facial and eye muscles; then gradually soften the neck and shoulders, lower back, abdomen, thighs calves and toes. Repeat this and imagine each part being relaxed. Body-floor contact Experience the contact of your body with the floor. Start with the back of your head, shoulder blades, lower back, thighs, calves and heels. Repeat the process.
Breath awareness Observe the movement of breath in your abdominal region and sense the natural expansion and relaxation of the muscles. Continue free breathing for two-three minutes and keep count of each breath backwards from 21 to one as it moves in and out of the body.
Gently stretch each part and return.
THE CLASSIC MARGARITA
International mixologist David Dennis visited the country recently to introduce Indians to Jose Cuervo, a Mexican tequila. We asked him to mix a classic margarita, in true Mexican style. Here's what followed.
30 ml Jose Cuervo Especial Gold; Juice of one whole sweet lime;
15 ml of Agave nectar or sugar syrup (one part sugar and one part water)
Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with coarse salt on the rim of the glass and place a wedge of lime for garnish. Add flavour using mango or pineapple puree, coconut milk or watermelon juice.
The golden rule
Tequila tends to explode on the palate and can cause a burning sensation. That's why you usually find it served with lime and salt to cut down on the discomfort. Unfortuately, this prevents you from experiencing the true flavour of the drink. Try freezing the bottle overnight or throw in multiple ice cubes. This cools down the sharp alcohol and makes it easier to drink.
Read in speed
Mumbai-based clinical psychologist and relationship expert Seema Hingorrany offers tips on speed reading...
Even though light music is believed to help channelise your attention, reading without any distractions, in complete silence and solitude, will help free up your mind so it can focus on absorbing the text.
..Before you begin reading, skim through the contents, preface, introduction and the back of the book. This will organise your thoughts about the book, stimulate curiosity and help you decide what you're really looking for from the text.
..Mouthing the words slows down your reading enormously. Try reading in the mind. This ensures your thoughts don't run astray and you end up concentrating better.
..Read each sentence as a whole. This will give perspective and help you analyse the text better. Also, pay attention to punctuation marks because they break down sentences into manageable and meaningful portios.
..Use your finger to trace the sentence you're reading. This determines your pace and also makes your reading rhythmic.
..Always use a bookmark. This helps you steer clear of regression (re-reading the material). It can even help you recall what you had read previously before continuing.
Quick tips on GPS navigation
Adigitised source for driving directions and maps, GPS (Global Positioning System) devices, are proving indispensable to drivers. Make the most of digital navigation:
Positioning The navigator should be placed so that it doesn't block your view but is still easy to see without moving your eyes off the road. An ideal position is just above the stereo console, so it's visible from the corner of your eye.
Check the route Before you set out, enter the destination and route. You can also activate voice-navigation to stay on track through the journey.
Regular update To keep up-todate on new roads, constructions, blockages and changing signs, regularly update the GPS's software via the manufacterer's website or CD.