February 2014 \ Arts & Entertainment \ Ministry of Civil Aviation Feature
Journey Through Photographa

 In January, Indian Vice President Mr Hamid Ansari inaugurated a photography exhibition called Mates and Moments, a creative journey through photographs taken over the years by Civil Aviation Secretary Mr Ashok Lavasa and his wife Ms Novel Lavasa. The venue was the Open Palm Court Gallery at the India Habitat Centre. The event marked the presence of several dignitaries including that of Union Civil Aviation Minister Mr Ajit Singh, Haryana Chief Minister Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and Cabinet Secretary Mr Ajit Seth

This time their STAND and STARE collection offered images of MATES and MOMENTS. Apparently these seem unrelated as many things in the world would seem to the human eye. The inward eye, however, is able to discover the inherent harmony that pervades Creation.

Novel and Ashok Lavasa are not professional photographers but they are two sensitive souls that are out to assimilate life. They do so by a passionate lifestyle that reflects in their work, social interaction and incessant travel when they interact with Nature. Mountains, waterfalls, the setting and rising Sun, trees, monuments and men form a part of their landscape.

Nature and Wildlife

The stripes of a zebra, the spots of a giraffe, and lions on a tree are as enchanting as the eyes of birds in bliss or flapping their wings in the sands of a desert. The balance in life that companionship brings is akin to the glory reflected in the light and shade created by the Sun when its rays land on an object that shines, at the same time diverting the journey of the rays and creating a contrast that completes the harmony of vision. The shimmering waters of the sea, the glittering peaks of mountains, trees bearing the burden of spring and trees bereft of leave represent the harmony of life. Mates in many moods, mountains in majestic isolation and Moments that live in memory—all these captured in moments of splendid irony and pleasing tranquillity. They say that “in these times of tension and turmoil, it is tolerance, togetherness and tenderness that will take us to the other end. Companionship is part of Nature, compassion brings beings closer and together they create indelible moments.”

Berlin Wall

The photograph of the Berlin Wall with graffiti on it dominates the gallery as a symbol of the theme of the exhibition with two countries that once stood divided by an artificial barrier now stand united as Mates with one single Moment determining the destiny of millions. The Berlin Wall was erected in the dead of night. Just past midnight on the night of August 12-13, 1961, trucks with soldiers and construction workers strung barbed wire all across the border between east and West Berlin. For 28 years families, friends and lovers across the border were separated from their loved one. Its destruction which was nearly as instantaneous as its creation, was celebrated around the world. On the even of November 9, 1989, an official announcement was made by east German government, the Berlin Wall was inundated with people from both sides. Some began chipping at the Berlin Wall with hammers and chisels. These people were nicknamed “Mauerspechte” (wall woodpeckers). There was an impromptu huge celebration along the Berlin Wall, with people hugging, kissing, singing, cheering and crying. The Berlin Wall was eventually chipped away, into smaller pieces. East and West Germany reunified into a single German state on October 3, 1990. Little is left of the Wall at its original site, which was destroyed almost everywhere. Sections of the Wall as still standing and some parts covered in graffiti.

The broken walls of a city that unite two countries mark that Mating Moment when barriers erected by history and impediments of ideology are dissolved. Hearts and homes divided by humans are united.