Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It Can Happen To Anyone

I had a bit of a scare recently. I'd picked up a bad little inflammation on the back of my left hand sometime around the beginning of winter which would itch crazily and no matter what ointment I tried, always reappeared after a couple of days. Something similar happened above my left eyebrow and just below the tip of my right earlobe though these weren't as visible as the one on my hand pictured here.

Then my arms began itching too, and a similar skin inflammation appeared on my right hand. I'd tell friends and neighbours about it, and one said she'd had something similar on her back, just below the right shoulder which turned out to be a spot of ringworm, and someone had made a concoction of garlic and ginger and zapped it away, although it had stung terribly. Ringworm? We did have 4 dogs so it seemed quite possible, I thought. But we'd always had lots of dogs around the house for the last 2o years so why now?

Finally, after one night when I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep in an agony of itching and irritation on my arms and feet, I consulted a dermatologist. To my complete shock, she said it was caused by sun exposure and asked what sunscreen I used. I said I never used any. And that's the truth. I've read a lot about sunburns, skin cancer caused by harmful UV rays, the importance of using sun protection etc. In fact while I'd been waiting my turn to see the doc, I'd been reading an advert for a new brand of sunscreen in a magazine. But somehow I'd never imagined it could happen to me. I hate gunk on my face in the daytime. Gunk as in wet stuff like moisturizers, creams, lotions etc. I always felt they clogged my pores and suffocated me. The doc clucked incredulously and disapprovingly and gave me a couple of tubes of sunscreen and a hardy skin ointment plus a strip of anti-allergy tablets, it being the dry season around this time with lots of allergen-laden air in circulation.

Well, they worked like magic. The inflammations on my hands have subsided dramatically and I think I've had an incredibly lucky escape.

Needless to say, I now use sunscreen scrupulously. Though I still love the sun and sunshine I'm now very conscious that it can be a silent killer.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring Collection

Took a while this year but it's here again at last. Spring. To take a few liberties with Eliot...
Spring is the cruellest season
Breeding flowers out of the wasteland

The Japan theite blossoms look remarkably like Japanese cherry blossoms and they don't last very long either. I took these pictures last week and already they've disappeared, presumably to morph into fruit. I snapped the azaleas (2nd and 3rd last pics) on a wet rainy morning. Also called rhododendrons, they're abundant in the Himalayan foothills and at school in Darj, we had a lovely school song called The Singalila Song which went

Along the Singalila skyline
I'll climb the rhododendron road
To find beyond the fragrant springtime
The spirit's loftiest abode
And where the mountains meet the morning
The world held in a moment's span
I'll hear the wisdom of the timeless
To love my God and serve my fellow man.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Little Tree-some

Some folks like shooting people, especially children or the very old, some stalk animals, wild or domesticated, some camp out by sunrises and sunsets, some stick with mountains and valleys, some swear by night scenes, some feast on foods. Me I have a thing for trees. When travelling by road, trees invariably catch my eye. Their outlines and silhouettes, and the more crooked and scraggier, the more interesting they look to me.

Which explains these pictures. I love photographing trees. And flowers. But trees win by a slightly wider margin. Especially in the leafless, stripped-to-the-bone stages. No heavy leaf-laden trees with lush green glossy foliage for me. I like them bleak, stark, denuded, desolate, skeletal, clawed and taloned, reaching out to the skies with defiant dignity.

You can click on the pictures for larger images.