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Photoshop magic..

During the function for my dad on mom  last week, I had to be performing a lot of things.. which meant my stint with the camera was done.. 

I usually don't trust others with pictures for events.. and definitely don't trust others with my camera.. however on recent trips, have been handing my camera to my baby cousin (who is not a baby anymore) and teaching her how to hold steady, focus and shoot with the 5D mark ii and she has a really good eye for composition.. told her to keep clicking and leave the rest to me to photoshop..

She did me proud.. We did hire professionals for the event but they are working on the photos. We should have great pictures in a week or two.

Saw this one pic where San has her cute dimply smile and I really wanted to make a portrait out of it.. (Credit to my cousin for cracking the right joke at the right time!).. 

The background.. I needed some recently shot greenery.. and the photo from Amethyst gave me an idea..

So here is 2+2=6..

The original..

the background from a group photo..

and the end result..

Have been lost in photoshop for a long time.. work calls tomorrow. My cold is almost bearable.. have been doing yoga everyday during the break and resting and working on photoshop as a good distraction.

Also my wife is back from India and that alone is a big relief.. my girls know how to press my buttons and get anything they want and sometimes I don't know if I am authorized to authorize things.. good that the big boss is back in the approval loop.

Ta ta for now..


After a 10 year wait...

There used to be a large apple tree in our backyard when we moved into this house 13+ years ago. It was one of the big draws for us to get the house.. then we went through construction and the construction workers cleaned up their paint brushes under the tree, peed near it and before we know it, we lost the tree to some disease..

It took me some time to get over having to cut it to the roots so the disease wouldn't spread to other trees. Shortly after that I planted another apple tree. It never grew tall and its top branches were always breaking with the weight of squirrels and there were 5 mini stunted apples a few years ago.. we were also going through a drought.

We are having more flowers this year..

and we have apples on the tree. After almost 10 years, we are seeing apples in bunches!

This made my day..

Was searching old blog posts to find a picture of the apple tree.. we used to have a beautiful backyard.. not that the current setup is not pretty, but things change over time and it is a part of life. That old tree must have been 30+ years old at least to have that girth and height. 

At least we have planted new trees and hope they will be around for some time..


Another then and now post..

My parents.. at their wedding.. photoshopped this from an old torn pic from their wedding album.. Haven't figured out how to colorize it yet..

This one was taken ~20 years ago..

was in grad school at the time.. my sister gave me a large copy of this photo on this trip which I promptly digitized.

This was taken last Thursday.. did try to copy over the background from the 20 year photo to match.. don't even know why I spent a good 20 minutes trying to learn how to do that on photoshop... but it will come in handy sometime in the future!

They are not into saving sweaters... still as long as I am around, they will have pictures and blog posts to see how they are aging gracefully! 


Great grandma visits and binge eating..

On our 5 day India trip, we managed to visit all great grandparents, thanks to some efficient auto rickshaws..

my maternal grandma is 90+ and her mind is very active. She is unable ot walk and she no longer asks me "when will my time come". she has been asking me that since my grandpa passed away almost 10 years ago. She has come to realize that no one knows.. and is now reading books to pass her time. She blessed us with all her heart!

San's grandparents are also pushing 90 and they are doing okay given their age. Walkers, hearing aids, etc. A slow methodical life and an approach of taking it one day at a time. Some lessons for San and me there.. Grandpa told me that till a few years ago he was doing yoga regularly including Nauli but now he is not able to. He is still active given his age and is a role model for all of us.

The best part was that they were the couple honored during my fathers sadhabhishgam as part of the "dhambati pooja" and given I was doing the pooja in proxy for my dad who could not bend down, it was a great honor! Will write a separate post on the function and what we did as part of it.. 

Then there was the eating in three places..

We went to watch Toy Story movie at the mall in 3D.. it has been some time since I saw anything in 3D given the massive headaches I get for days after watching any 3D movie.. but the kids wanted to go together somewhere and an Air conditioned theater was a good idea! After the movie the kids decided based on reviews that the best place that would accomodate everyones menu requests was Haven Sampoorna right near Phoenix mall in Velachery. It was an interesting place. I got my butter naan and side dishes and the kids who wanted pasta, got their pasta.. food was good. service was good. ambience was funny.. 

 Here is PIchchai Sundar with Sundar PIchchai... (kid you not, this was the photo right behind my chair)

you have no idea how many jokes I have to put up with ever since this guy became Google CEO. We are both the same age, went to similar schools and the same IIT coaching class in Chennai, think he also studied metallurgy, went to work for semi conductor companies ... I stayed in Semi and am traveling back and forth to Asia.. he moved to software and management..and probably has a lot of things going for him that I simply don't have or want.. but the jokes, they keep on coming.. So it was only fitting that I ended up below that photo! 

The sceond place we ate was Amethyst.. again nice ambience, relatively quiet and excellent food.. we went for evening coffee/ tea with San's cousin and brother's family who also happened to be visiting and ended up eating a lot of stuff..

The last place we went to was in Matsya in Adayar.. on a previous trip we had gone to another Matsya branch.. this was closer to where we stayed. It was also a nice place (we didnt take pictures). It was raining in Chennai that evening and we were all not our best when we got there. The funny thing with Ola/ Auto etc. is that they drop you off at the location but on the opposite side of the street and there is no way to cross over for a good kilometer either way! So we walked around a flyover for 25 minutes to get to the place. The dinner was great though. They had an amazing variety of dosas and cricket matches playing on 4 different TV's.. so I got to watch cricket and eat dosas.. 

That was pretty much all the activities we did outside of the function. 

Still waiting for photos from the function itself...

Missing San's maternal grandma who passed away recently as I write this post. We would always make a visit to see her as well. She passed away three months ago. 

Great grandparents are precious.. the way things are going, not a lot of kids get to see their great grandparents! 


Ancestor feeding.. 

One thing I always look forward to in Chennai is feeding the crows before we start eating. It is not enough to put the food out on the ledge.. you call out to them and wait to see them eat and then you eat.

The crows are considered as the spirit of our ancestors.. or so they tell me. Given my ancestors were all vegetarian and these crows aren't I would not take it literally. It is a beautiful concept though.. keep the scavenger birds around you well fed.. 

All said and done, I am happy we are still feeding crows. 

you can hear a bunch of kids talking in an American accent in the background.. this custom is definitely lost in our family after the current generation.

There are a lot of traditions. If we go into why they were setup and adapt them to today, there is no problem in accepting the simplicity of it or beauty of it. The issue is taking it literally and going all or nothing on these customs. 

There were lots of philosophical debates on customs, traditions in 48 hours spent in last trip than all previous trips put together. We kept it short and sweet. These discussions never end well for anyone. 

The crows are dwindling given the hot weather and water scarcity. Based on my limited sampling that is the conclusion. Not sure if the bird statisticians concur. Hope these crows migrate to another area and where they do, they find people who treat them as their ancestors and feed them every morning. 

They are on time, every time!