Flash Mob in Amsterdam

It was a cloudy day with chances of rain and we were praying to the clouds not to pour; because it was our big day- The day of the’ First International flash mob 2016’
The same choreographed songs were to be performed in 10 countries- 17 cities on 19th March. 2016, 11- 12:00 Local time in each country participating! Amsterdam was one of the participating cities and out motto was “One Love” in support of refugees.

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It was an amazing concept and it was to be a surprise flash mob with no publicity. The Amsterdam group led by Sneha, were practising it for over 2 months in our ‘Bollywood Amsterdam meetup’. We were fully prepared for the moves of the choreo which will forever be struck to our heads. We met for a practice session at Vondelpark at 10:30 AM. We got a spot under the bridge and switched on our speakers. We had practised indoors but never out in the open when the temperature was 7 degrees. We wore colourful bright clothes to make the atmosphere radiant. We took off our jackets and did a real practice (We were shivering!) .We had audience cheering us for our trail flash mob which was encouraging.
The clock struck 11 and it was time to go to Museumplein. It was the famous spot ‘I Amsterdam sign’ in front of the Rijksmusem, the biggest museum in Amsterdam.

It was buzzing with tourists. We were the intruders who would break in to dance in front of the museum :D. We set up the speakers and switched it on. Martine, our show opening performer, started her ‘Head spinning stunt’ which caught the eye of the audience. We casually started cheering around her and then started dancing. First the girls danced for 2 minutes and then the guys joined us.2a

Soon people were cheerful and started filming us. We danced happily as it was great moment for the people around and for us. It was amazing how people joined us and started following. We had new people on the spot dancing with us 😀

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The sad part for us was there was not a representative videographer filming us from our side. We set up two cameras on the tripod which were blocked by tourists. We did click some after photos which came out cool.It was a thrilling experience performing a dance out the blue and startling people.

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We rejoiced our victory of completing it successfully and then left to Saravana Bhavan. It was delight having south Indian food after a heavy day. Our Dutch collogues enjoyed the food but found it a bit spicy I think :P.

If you happened to be among the audience on march 19th or heard about it in some way,please share your thoughts with us!

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Republic day performance- Amsterdam

Never have I celebrated Republic day so enthusiastically. Here in Netherlands I found a new way to make it special- by performing a patriotic dance on stage:

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The Bollywood Amsterdam group which I am a part of planned on performing to the ‘ABCD Vande mataram song’. We had 17 days at hand and we managed to concoct a partly jazz, hiphop and Bollywood dance show. The costume was plain white shirt and black pant to keep it simple. The venue was Amstelveen –the Indian Hub of Amsterdam. The  organization “Bridging the gap” organizes these Indian events which provides a good get together and means of networking for Indians in Netherlands.

We sensed kindergarten vibes when we entered the building. Much to our dismay there were only kids performing at the show and we happened to be the only adult dance team. We were stocked up as the last and closing performance of the day. The initial performances were of kids singing slokas, cute children dressed in Indian wear dancing for Punjabi songs and even some dutch kids dancing. The room was clamorous with occasional bursts of cry from kids and parents rushing them out. It was time for our performance!!

We got ready for it and entered from backstage. We were in for a surprise- the stage WAS for kids-it was too small to fit us in. We barely managed to stand in it leave along move freely and dance. Our initial few steps were messed up due to our shock but we soon got used to it

You can see the dance here- Youtube video 

On the whole the dance seemed energetic and patriotic. The final show with flags turned out to the killer. It came out just as planned and we got a round of applause.

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Indian bites organized  small canteen with tasty indian snacks. We got around and took some pictures and went to a friends home to party.

 

New Years Dive

It was my first new year outside India.  I wanted  it to be crazy. We decided to do the ‘New year dive’ –the dutch tradition of jumping into the icy cold waters of the north sea at New year Jan 1 noon. We signed up for it and went to Zandvoort for it. It did not disappoint us :D.  The day was sunny and the beach was refreshing. There was a tent and a bunch of people standing with orange caps. We too went, registered and got the orange caps. There were about thousand people gathered for the event. We were stunned by the magnitude of it.

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I had planned of doing the dive with a bunch of friends and they all arrived. We got ready for the dive-changing into our swimsuits! There were people of all ages- yound kids to old people and also dogs who came for the dive. Half an hr before the dive organizing team cheered us to dance, jump and making us form a Mexican wave. The clock struck and it was time!

People ran like crazy into the waters. Just when I went in I realized I had never exposed myself to such cold waters in my life. It was freezing and I could not feel my legs anymore. We ran back to the sands from the water. It was the case with most of the people. We came back to the starting point and  tried regaining consciousness in our legs. It was crazy.

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Just when we were settling down one of us challenged to go in again. We , out of our minds, ran again into the waters. This time, deep and dancing and jumping inside the waters. That was something to remember.

We came back and got dressed. Unox ,the sponsoring company , provided us with free soup. We returned back to the city searching for a cozy café but alas we could not find any. We finally gave up on our search for café and went into a greek restaurant. Ten of us were there and we socialized for sometime. It was a nice beginning to the new year!

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Light Festival Amsterdam- A Photowalk in Rain

Amsterdam has a unique way of keeping the spirit high in the winters.When the sun sets down very quick these days there is something to look forward to-The light festival-The festival of light and water illuminating the canals ( Nov 28 2015 to Jan 17 2016 ! )

The streets of Amsterdam are already decorated with lights for Christmas and adding to the city’s beauty is the Light Festival.This is how streets look like in Amsterdam now!

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Artists come up with innovative ways of using lights to create an exciting art in the canals.This can be viewed using a boat tour or walking along the streets.

Here is the route: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=zLb7VHfTIIu4.kpnMy6aUyTIo

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There is  “Amsterdam photography club ” which is formed by a group of photography enthusiasts.They organise meetups regularly and owing to the light festival they organised  a photowalk. Around  100 people had signed up for the meetup but unfortunately that day it started raining heavily and about 80 people backed out. Twenty  people  finally turned up in the rain at the meeting point with umbrellas, DSLRs, Tripods and polybags to cover the camera. It was very messy clicking photos in the rain but as they say misery loves company, We were glad we were all in vein and wanted to really capture the light festival with people who shared similar interests.

This is where we met -See Below . Facing a canal with the first artwork “Run Beyond

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The next was the  “Talking Heads “

The glare is because of the rains and the lens condensation 😛IMG_2768

The next was the Bucky Balls!  A lone football like huge structure floating in water

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This is called the “Band of Friendship”. Series of rings IMG_2827

This was the “Polygonum” .IMG_2808

This is the  “Infinite tunnel of light” , very blurred due to the rain on the glasses

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One of the buildings was lit up with a projector and had some interesting patterns on it

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The “Friendala”  – Intersecting ringsIMG_2841

This is called the “Northern lights” over the Amstel river . Bands of lights that sways for the wind and makes it feel like a real Aurora AustralisIMG_2855

This was called “Paths Crossing”. Artwork made from stretches of lights across the length of the canals.

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I did miss out on a few artworks. 😦 Hoping to cover them up in january after vacations.

Rain is a part of the dutch culture they say.This is my first attempt to ignore rain and go outside to explore. It was quite messy but managed quite fine ! 😀

 

When we went Ice Skating !

My over enthusiastic friends coaxed me to go ice skating on a chilly cold night in Amsterdam. Ice skating – I was somehow not intrigued by it since I knew it would be cold anyways and why would I want the ice under me.

When we left from home it was raining which was not a good sign! We still went to the place. It was a open Ice skating ring outdoor next to the rijsmuseum. There was a pool of water in the ring but it was surrounded by trees covered with Christmas lights. The ring was lit with bright coloured light. I immediately jumped into buying a ticket and renting a skating shoe along with Ambuj, my all time energetic friend.

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The beginners start with holding a chair. So we stepped into the ring with a chair. Boy, it was slippery.  I saw people beside me sway they way past me with grace. I envied them and looked at them with awe. Not only adults but also kids were skating really well. It was raining but seeing the kids skate i got a new energy in me. My hands were hurting because of holding the chair tight.

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I saw Ambuj skate without the chair. I must do something to leave the chair but what.

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When I was busy thinking this i fell into the pool of water on ice- which was at 0 deg. It was horrible. But i still continued with taking short breaks. Ambuj told me to leave the chair and skate – duh , no way. I am not leaving the chair. He urged me to leave it and we both held hands and skated for a while. It was easy because the center of mass had a larger area to distribute upon so chances of falling are less.  I had a nice time without the chair. We both fell down once.

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I stared skating independently without a chair or human support. :DI fell down again but i was no longer afraid of falling down. Ambuj skated too fast and skid in the ice real bad.Vishnu joined us after our friend left. Vishnu was rather skating like on a skater board pushing it with one leg and falling down when it stops. In the end we decided it was time to leave. Our clothes were dripping wet. We caught a tram to marnixstraat. We were shivering when we entered the hotel ‘murugan’. Had a sumptuous meal. The toughest part was to reach home. It was chilly 7 deg outside and windy too. We were all trembling and decided we will never go iceskating when it is raining. But the whole sport was so much fun we decided to make it there more often and aim for playing ice hockey one day 😛

Light Painting Photography workshop

Recently attended a Photowalk in Amsterdam in which  Long exposure or slow shutter speed photography  was taught by Guston, the event organiser.

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The settings we used are:

Shutter speed: 20 Secs; Aperture: F8; ISO: 100

This kind of setting requires a tripod since the camera captures images over a span of 20 seconds and any shaking in camera will reflect in the image.

We waited for night fall and set our cameras up for the Light painting. It is one of the creative ways to use shutter speed feature of camera. A person holds an LED lights in front of the camera, waves with it in any shape he wants; the camera captures the images and forms a beautiful image in the end painted with light

We had colouful LED lights and also christmas lights and enthusiastic volunteers willing to try out new patterns

Here are some of the images we took using the camera

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The spinning wheel

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The classy girl
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With Love from Amsterdam
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Dragon Ball Z .
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and Unleash the power!
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The Smiley face !
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The Silhouette man

It was my first photowalk and it turned out to be an absolute stunner . Will attend more of such in future 😀