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Wandering Destination - Vangani : Part I


The landscape:
A farmer driving his cattle flock
I never thought the college I am joining as professor, would be located in such a place which is well connected to Mumbai but still far from the urban developments. It has a local-railway station, national highway and an observatory too (not known to many). It has picturesque landscape with Sahyadri range on backdrops, a calmly flowing river with open-lands around it. Sahyadri range starts from Badlapur and then hosts some well-known tops such as Matheran, Malshej, Rajmachi. Monsoon months transforms the atmosphere to heaven - green lounges all over hosting small currents. Sahyadri, brownish-black in summer month, now  wares attractive greenish-blue shades. Temperature drops well below ten degree in post-monsoon season- all because of water bed and wide-spread grasslands. January ruins it all - green turns to yellow and yellow turn to brown.
Economics:
Outside Vangani railway station
The soil in this part is rich, dam built near is all-year source for water but agricultural is hardly practiced. There are many nurseries around, which is sole sign of agro-based earning source. Major business is to fabricate clay-bricks. People here thinks of sailing the land, the price is too high upto 5 lakh per 100 m2 or so. Fad of developing the land and sell the apartments is yet to knock, but some day it will. There are few small shops located near the railway station. Small farmers sell vegetables / fruits on roadside.

There are many brick making ventures. Bricks are made from top-layer of soil, with less stone content and fine, smooth texture and having typical brick-red color. It employs around 30-40 labors  lives in huts built in the premises and works relentlessly for 12-14 hours a day. This place, I found, interesting for photography. I could handle texture photography and pattern photography: texture of the bricks and patterns from the brick drying.

Railway being cheap way for commutation to many, Vangani station receives passengers from many near by villages: Karav, Pashan, Shil to name a few. ST bus is well connected to station.  Major crowd is engineering college-going students - where I teach electrical engineering. College is located on small hills in Karav village, around 3 Km away from the station.

that 3 Km Road:
Sahyadri range as seen from Vangani (West)
I traversed that 3 Km road for many days. It took months for me to shed laziness and take out my camera. I was late, too much. It was dry and colorless. Mountains had lost trees, trees had lost all colors but hues of brown. No flowers, neither on trees nor on bushes to look at. It was challenging time for my photography skills to come out with some out-of-the-box idea. November onward till January end I experienced best evening this year. It happened when some of colleagues along with me, we decided to walk every evening to reach station. Observations made during these 45 minutes or so showed numerous overlooked elements to be photographed. I discovered the subjects : Texture, patterns and landscape.

Sunrise against a bare tree

Old rusted lock and chain on compound-gate


Continue reading part II....

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