By Vijay Shah
Today I thought I would share with you a small selection of photos collated by my youngest sister using online photo-editing software. I am not sure exactly what site she used (it might have been PicZap) but when she first forwarded them to me via the phone messaging service WhatsApp, I was pleasantly surprised. She had clearly made a very good effort creating these beautiful images. They look great and amazing in my honest opinion.
Today just before I logged into the dashboard where I create my literary magic for the Half-Eaten Mind, I chatted with her briefly on WhatsApp, and she told me how much she was looking forward to viewing my latest article. I had planned to search up on Twitter for a news story or feature idea. However chatting to my little sis, who I have not been able to hang out with in ages, made me ditch the earlier fact-finding mission, and instead I decided to do a gallery article as a special gift for her. I can only imagine how full of smiles she will be when she gets the notification for this article in her inbox, and sees what I have written here
I owe it to her too. Anjali has been one of my blog’s strongest supporters and really enjoys reading it. So this article is also my way of thanking and acknowledging her support and love. ❤ ❤ ❤
Anji….I hope you like this. I did promise you after all 😀
PHOTO ONE: This is a montage of portrait photos of all my family, including my mum, brother-in-law and my niece (you may remember her from the article I did on her hairclip bangles in December of last year). I really like the layout, as it reminds me of those picture postcards you can pick up in touristy places. Actually I think this would make a good postcard for our family full-stop. Anjali loves hearts and you can see she has put them to good use in this image. I love how the featured family members here all have their own convenient space, while our family matriarch, my mum, is honoured with an extra-large VIP space. I am really feeling the love that Anjali puts across in her photo montage, and that is not just because of the “I Love You” and “ILY” writing placed around the graphic. This image looks very fun and busy. There is so much happening here, and I really relate to how Anjali has captured the busy, crazy, fun, and unique nature of our Family.
PHOTO TWO: This is another family montage from the ‘House of Anji Spongy’ (oh she’s gonna kill me). This time we have the family arranged in a square around Mum’s photo with oodles of love and a liberal dose of emoticons…because family time is definitely a time of joy. Seeing this picture makes me feel very glad that I have a great family behind me, because I know and understand that not everyone in this world has a family to share their special moments with as Anjali has done so superbly here. So I do consider myself very fortunate in that respect. With my other sister Alia’s marriage last year, now our family has grown a little bigger, so now we have more people to share the love around with. Here I can definitely say “bigger is better”. Shame I cannot say the same about my waistline though 😦 .
PHOTO THREE: As an aspiring journalist, it is more than emphasised enough by authorities on newsgathering that it is essential that you always ensure accuracy and factual quoting of sources, so I am going to fail a bit here. I am not a hundred per cent sure if it was Anjali who created this, or if it was my youngest brother Arjun. I am going to throw my hands up and say I haven’t a clue, but this picture is incredibly impressive. It is dripping with machismo, decent photorealism, although it does sort of look like the aftermath of a really ‘whacked-out’ LSD trip. Here you have one of my three brothers, known by his nickname Azzy, minding his own business watching television. There’s a couple of big cats; a lion and a black panther. Now I am going to go into art critic mode and say that the two giants of the feline kingdom represent Azzy’s strength and toughness, but maybe they are there to make mysterious additions to the photo. Maybe to fill up dead space. I don’t know. You can almost taste the desert heat and dust from a gritty battle coming from this image.
There are some elements of imagery influenced by Playstation game graphics here with the helicopter and desert road forming part of the background. All us brothers are massive fans of the PS3 especially when its hosting the game Call of Duty: Black Ops (although sometimes we travel back in time and play Modern Warfare instead). Family tournaments are a regular occurrence when we get together, often spending hours blowing the brains out of zombies or headshotting an online player from Qatar or New York. We are such dedicated players, that one of my brothers will spend hours, and I mean hours, on COD trying to complete missions and building on his player rating. This frustrates Mum no end, especially when she wants to watch EastEnders.
I have no idea why there is a crosshair over Azzy’s face though. Is he in trouble or something? HAHAHAHAHA!!! “wanted guy”
PHOTO FOUR: This modified photo honours my brother-in-law Aamir’s dog, Zeus. The source was a picture taken at my mother’s house’s back garden when Zeus was a puppy of a few months in age. He is much much bigger now. Zeus is a mixed-breed dog, part-Staffordshire Bull Terrier and part-Rhodesian Ridgeback. The Staffie part of him gives him the short muzzle and flappy ears, plus his playfulness and strength, while his speed and coat colour comes from his African canine roots. Apparently, according to Alia, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are used in the savannahs of southern Africa as pack dogs which are capable of bringing down a fully grown lion, but here little Zeus has a rather surprised pink kitty to frighten the wind out of instead. He is a good and loyal pet, very obedient and boisterous, but he eats like a horse and defecates like one too.
PHOTO FIVE: The final photo in the series is of yours truly, which Anjali created especially for me. She based it on a photo a friend from my workplace took of me, and was originally used for a profile I have on a South Asian matrimonial website. I also used this for a short while as a Facebook profile embellishment.
She applied an Instagram-style filter to the original and then placed a border of the usual cute little hearts but also a stylistic arrangement of plants (I think they are grasses) and tribal tattoos…and look, I have my name in lights too :). I am not a vain person, in fact I usually avoid taking too many pictures of myself. I am not that sort of ‘poser’ material. Nevertheless I was really impressed by Anjali’s work. I look very handsome here especially with the emoticons trying to upstage my dazzling smile LOL. But narcissism aside, this is a perfect example of how true a sister’s love is, and how Anjali has made a commendable effort in advertising her skills and creativity using ICT. I could really see her developing those skills further as she gets older and perhaps becoming a graphic designer or even an artist one day.
There is a definite artistic streak running through my family. I used to be very talented in drawing in my school days, even producing a series of still lives for my GCSE Art course, as well as illustrating a self-made guidebook on Japan so good that the teacher wanted to save it for prosperity. I also have a respectable way with words, as this blog can testify. Azzy is very good at graffiti designs, and Anjali has her flair with photo manipulation. My mother too, was a good art student too in her childhood in Mauritius. I even had her do an art homework for me once. But great, or even average artists and designers may be born, but they still have to be ‘made’.
Thanks a million sis 🙂 !!!