This week's letter for the ABC Wednesday theme at Mrs Nesbitt's Place is P, so I figured I would pay heed to John Lennon's lyrics and give Ps a chance!
In December I spent a day and a half in Singapore, walking many miles and shooting about 900 photographs. My first day there, the weather was overcast and rainy and I had to stop three or four times to find shelter and protect my precious camera as the rain bucketed down.
After the first downpour, the torrent cleared to a light drizzle and I walked on, determined to capture as many scenes of the island-state that I have visited several times since I was eleven years old. I must have looked like one of those old-fashioned marionettes, with my head twisting in every direction because I didn't want to miss a single image.
These palms caught my eye near a major pedestrian crossing as I followed a main road to Chinatown. They were just such a verdant green, and of course the thing that really caught my eye was the structure of the plants. They actually looked like papier-mache bows, angled every which way to catch the light.
I shot this horizontal frame (above) because it looked like a multi-layered piece of 3D art, then I stepped back a bit and realised that the best view was a slightly different aspect. As you'll see from the shot at the bottom of this post, the second frame is probably a better representation, because the lines are stronger, and there are darker shadows interspersed with the beautiful variations of green.
Palm trees were very much a part of my childhood in India, because the avenue on which we lived was lined with palms that were probably at least half a century old when I was born. I can still hear the distinctive crack that signified the sound of a falling branch, with its incredible span.
But there were other palms that were extremely significant in India. It is a country where astrology holds great infuence and I can remember my father telling me about a palm reader with the lyrical name John O'er The Water. My family wasn't into astrology in any way, but from what we were told, John was reputedly a very busy man - and his celestial "vision" was completely impeded unless a customer crossed his palm with silver!
In my early days as a cadet journalist in India, I soon realised that the most popular page in the weekly news magazine that employed me was - yep, you guessed it, the horoscope page. Back then, there was no email, so the astrologer who wrote the page each week had to write it in longhand and mail it in to the magazine.
One week, there was no horoscope. We waited until the last possible minute - nope, nuthin'. What were our options? This was a very serious issue. We couldn't publish the magazine without a horoscope page. That was just unthinkable. The readers would have called for a mass revolt and the editorial staff would have been banished to the tumbrils.
Then someone very senior called me aside. It was now my responsibility to lose myself for a couple of hours, with the other cadet - and we had to write the horoscope page ourselves. The other cadet wrote six and I wrote the other six. But he insisted on writing one of the star signs. Why, I asked.
Turned out there was this girl he had his eye on (or maybe both his eyes) and he knew she read the horoscope page each week. So he tailored her horoscope to make himself sound like the best thing since Sir Gallahad.
Despite his best efforts, he never managed to hook up with her. Just another case of star-crossed lovers!
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