The last time I did a #WhatsUpNaina blog post was in September 2014! I usually do these posts when I’m not working on features for clients ( I have two stories that I am waiting to publish currently but go-ahead from the client is taking two weeks more than anticipated ) and if I’m not in the mood for traveling and just want to be home ( which means no new material for stories ) and if I’m more keen to just travel within NCR and meet some of my close friends who are traveling through the city or then I’m spending time with family. There are mobile phone photographs that store snippets of my day sometimes. The following is a timeline from the 1st of December till the 10th of December.
The boy is back after four months at sea, which means I’m in no mood to do any work. So I’m hanging out at home, cuddling in bed, or if we’re feeling adventurous and there aren’t 25,000 weddings slated for one day in Delhi, we step out with friends. NCR’s pollution levels are being talked about at homes and offices and on Twitter and without a face mask, I’m not particularly keen to step out. My evening / day 10,000 step walks have come to a grinding halt. Anyway, we went to Hauz Khas Village, first to a place that’s known for metal music gigs ( but we ran away from there within minutes because the place looked dead except for half-a-dozen bearded boys in the very cigarette-smoke-filled balcony ). We ended up going to Social, where we ordered drinks and food and I also must’ve requested the waiter to close the balcony door that patrons would leave open behind them. Since I quit smoking, I can’t imagine wanting even a wisp of passive smoke in my nostrils and balcony / porch areas of most restaurants seem to cater to the smoking hordes. It was awful. And the two young girls who incredulously sauntered into the non-smoking restaurant area from the balcony, still pulling smoke from their lit cigarettes – continuing to argue with the waiter who was politely asking them in urgent tones to “Please go back out and wither finish the cigarettes or kindly stub them here now in this ash tray I’m holding.” They argued with the poor chap till I almost got up and went to his rescue. I didn’t of course, I would’ve been rude if I’d spoken a single word. I was angry.
This is Hot Shoddy. It’s supposed to be hot brandy with citrus and spice infusions but to my tongue it tasted like sugary alcohol with too much orange essence. Yikes. I still had two glasses because I was bored. They didn’t have the pork main dish their menu listed and brought in a substitute pork appetizer, which was pig lard covered in batter. I’ll still go back to Social, if someone holds a gun to my head. A visit to Hauz Khas Village is a waste of time these days. The way men in alleys and doorways literally pounced on my very white female friend with shouts of, “Madam come here!” was extremely disconcerting. Not to mention the cigarette smoke a man walking past her blew into her face after presenting her with a smirk. What the actual fuck is going on in Delhi? I don’t want to live here anymore.
I did a book “review” in one of my videos on my Youtube Channel recently. It was for Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan’s Before And Then After. On The Naina Redhu Experience, I have mostly been talking about the blogging industry in India and how I work and my photography work etc. But there isn’t much to explain always unless someone needs a specific question answered and I prefer to keep the consistency of episodes to be published at 0900 hours each Wednesday AND I read and listen to a lot of books. So I thought I’d read a few pages from Meenakshi’s book because it was the newest book I’d finished reading. I enjoyed doing that video and now I’m thinking of doing more books. One of which might be the one in the photograph below. What They Didn’t Teach You In Photo School by Demetrius Fordham. It’s a good book. Something I wish I’d had when I started my photography career more than a decade ago.
We went and photographed the 60th edition of my #CoverUp series for the newly announced HTC One A9 smart phone. I really like HTC phones and had read rave reviews about the A9 and wrote to HTC India’s Pr to send me a device. It takes great photographs! My tow main areas of concerns, if you’re planning to get this phone, are that the battery life is not good enough – I need to charge the phone at least twice a day and sometimes even thrice a day. I am a power user – I use the phone to record hyperlapse, slow motion and regular videos, I use it to photograph selfies, panoramas, HDR images and even RAW photos and then edit them on VSCO and Instagram and of course, I live online so there’s multiple apps always open : Twitter, Instagram, Chrome, GMail, etc. Another thing that bugs me on this phone is that when I take a selfie using the front-facing camera, the camera seems to focus on the stuff that’s far behind me whereas my face itself is not in focus. You can rarely tell the difference if you’re looking at tiny web-resolution images on your phone’s screen but if you’re a professional photographer like me, it’ll hurt your eyes and then your head. Oh well. Apart from this I’ve tried to find fault with the phone but have failed. I use it extensively and charge it twice a day.
December has already been a month owned by gadgets. Motorola sent over their Moto360 2nd Generation smart watch for me to play around with. I was apprehensive to even accept the watch at first because I don’t see what possible I could have for them but I went ahead and got it delivered because I did have to try one before I could deliver an overall verdict on smart watches. I’ve used the watch for about ten days and I’m hooked. I’ve worn the watch along with my Fitbit Charge HR to compare how they both measure my steps and so far, the Moto360 has been off only by about 200 steps less than what the Fitbit Charge HR shows me. I can live with that. The Moto360 also looks much nicer than the black strap plain looks of the Fitbit – both have their uses depending on what clothes you’re wearing. I like the simplicity of the Fitibit – it is complements pretty much any ensemble. But if you want to try a bit of bling, the Moto360 is available in many customizable bezels and straps. I really wanted to try the pink leather strap and the rose gold bezel but I had no choice in that matter and they sent me this steel band version. I would’ve jumped with joy at this version five years ago but not anymore. Too clunky.
If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’re probably already privy to the amount of corn I’ve been eating this month. Corn on the cob or bhutta roasted directly over a gas flame or then loose kernels like these, lightly cooked in butter and salt and Dominos Pizza oregano with a dash of lime. So bloody convenient to have services like Grofers and iSayOrganic deliver groceries directly at my doorstep. I like having both options because ISayOrganic doesn’t have all fresh produce that’s organic and very often they’re out of stock and then some options that are only available on iSayOrganic are never possible on Grofers. ( For the sake of clarification, Grofers does not specialize in organic fresh produce, iSayOrganic does. Grofers is a delivery service whereas iSayOrganic has their own warehouse where they source produce directly from farmers that have been inspected. ) So yeah, lots of corn. Also lots of fresh chilled coconut water each morning.
At a client photo shoot below. Can’t divulge more photographs yet but I was photographing behind the scenes for Swarovski’s latest collaboration with designer Manish Arora. I will also be photographing behind the scenes and some of the runway at the runway show that will be taking place on the 12th of December at the French Ambassador’s residence in New Delhi.
At the same client shoot, that’s my friend Jatin Tulsiani who specializes in behind the scenes motion photography. His video skills are really great and I love working with him and his crew.
A close friend of mine was in town, on her way to Bombay after having spent some weeks in Norway and Croatia. After discussing where we’d like to hang out and unanimously deciding that Perch at Khan Market was nice but just not worth the kind of money it charges, we also unanimously decided to have lunch at Latitude, which is right above GoodEarth. We both enjoy going to Latitude. The service is nice and the food is lovely. We ended up getting lunch AND dinner at Latitude. One of my favourite things to eat there is the New Zealand Lamb. The mashed potato left much to be desired this time around but the meat it self was lovely.
Lots of cups of awesome hot Americano and the changed interiors inside the restaurant left me with the urge to take photographs of everything. I’m also addicted to Instagram’s Boomerang app and keep figuring out new ways to create those snippets. Exponential amounts of fun can be had by using just the gadgets in my pockets. It’s an awesome time to be alive!
Conversation overflowed. My friend had to run a quick errand and during that time I hopped over to Kama Ayurveda to sniff out their new things. There weren’t any new additions to their line for the festive season but they did have a new box that you could customize and gift, which is nice. Better than the usual pre-packaged gift boxes that brands have.
Since it is a smart watch, it can have a new face each day if you so choose! There are many variations to choose from but this one, Fiore, is the prettiest of them all! With a flick of my wrist I can bring on the bloom of colours.
Gifts. Not always well thought out by brands when being sent out in hordes I think. I got these ear rings – while cheaply made but still lovely to look at from a distance – wearing these and hugging someone could mean possible death by puncturing the aorta. I binned them instantly after I’d Tweeted about them and then someone suggested these are more suitable on a cork board rather than on a lady’s ears. I fished them out of the dustbin and they now pin two magazine pages on two of my three cork boards. Not bad. I’ve been looking for interesting pins for my boards and haven’t come across any!
Nitin Kartikeya, who owns the lovely Kartikeya India label sent me a stunning jacket as a gift. I’d photographed and blogged his runway show at the Amazon India Fashion Week Spring Summer 2016 and he said he wanted to send me something for doing that. It is such a lovely, delicate piece of work! I can’t wait to wear it and include it in one of my #CoverUp editions soon! Thank you so much for the thoughtful gift Nitin, I love it.
Sitaphal / Custard Apple / Shareefa. I love this fruit. I hate how it turns into a piece of wood if I keep it long enough, trying to eat it later, when the season’s almost past. I hate how I have to eat the skin off each seed individually. I hate how much I love this fruit!
Dad was featured on the cover of the Fauji India magazine. It is a photograph I shot of him when we’d visited 13 Kumaon’s RezangLa Memorial at Chushul to pay our respects. There’s some more photographs in the magazine that I’d shot at the same trip.
Our usual #DateNight that happens on Mondays, happened on Tuesday this time and it was more #DateDay. It was a fun day. Lunch at Johnny Rockets when a kid walked up to me as I was stuffing my face with food and told me he really liked my videos. All I could do was stare dumbly at him. I get people walking up to me when I’m walking around / loitering but this was a first – while I was eating. I was confused and totally dazzled. He told me his name is Karan before he left. He apologized for disturbing my meal. I continued to stare dumbly. I’m sorry Karan, I could’ve been nicer – I could’ve said something instead of chewing and smiling! Who knows, maybe there will be a next time.
Some next level Christmas installations taking place at Select City Walk! You should check out the Christmas Tree they’re building outside – it’s humongous!
Fosters Beer on tap and I tried a “Skinny Burger”, which is the burger patty without the bread. It was dry and bland sadly. Apparently the sauces are only added when there’s a bun to hold all those juices. Meh. Service at Johnny Rockets is always great.
We watched Bridge of Spies at PVR Gold at Select City Walk. I was stunned when I walked into PVR Gold. It was fabulous! I’m used to the shitty Ebony at TGIP in Noida, which incidentally costs more than PVR Gold and the latter was a revelation in service and quality. The seats were in excellent condition even if the control buttons were slightly worn out, there were bottles of water and juice and an a la carte menu if you wanted to order something to eat. Service was quiet and efficient – you could press the “Do not disturb” button and no one would bother you. I’m definitely going back to watch ore films there. The movie itself was splendid too. Spielberg + Tom Hanks. Hard to go wrong.
The customary sweet tooth had to be satisfied, starting with doughnuts at Krispy Creme. Eclairs for me and custard filled for the boy.
Right next to Krispy Creme is Gautam Sinha’s label’s store, Nappadori and this boxy bag has been haunting my dreams since Gautam announced it on the brand’s Instagram. It is such a delightful piece of workmanship and so simple. I love the quality of work Nappadori produces. I’ve blogged about their shoes earlier.
Then there was some more sett tooth indulgence over at Cinnabon at the DLF Place mall. I love Mocha Latte Chill and the chocolate cupcake. Definitely a sugar overdose – I don’t do this regularly – even this indulgence was after almost two months of no sugar.
The giant Christmas tree structure outside Select City Walk.
iSayOrganic now has it’s first physical story at Select City Walk and we dropped by to shop for some mushrooms and spinach and to try their fresh juices. My favourite was the Green Ninja!
The invite for the Manish Arora show at the French Ambassador’s residence on the 12th of December.
And that’s how I’ve spent the first ten days of the last month of 2015. It’s been a roller coaster year and it’s going to close at a busy time despite all my attempts at staying home and saying NO to all event invites. I’m not complaining, merely making an observation, wondering if I should have attempted to stay home earlier in my career because it clearly does not work!
I’m planning a #CoverUp feature with some Made In India brands that are being run by teams of 1-2 people and are new / smaller brands. I’ve got the hand bag and the jewellery figured out, I’m waiting for the jacket and the shoes and I still have to figure out the clothes. Hopefully all this will come together soon enough and I will be able to showcase these brands before the year ends, setting a precedent for 2016. I’d really like to showcase more local brands.