Monthly Archives: September 2008

Things i am liking tonight

Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger. So far. Despite the tense straining of muscles I generally feel against things hyped and vulgarly in the news.

I’m trying to get over this perversity of not being able to watch, read, enjoy things when other people tell me they are so-very-enjoyable. Sometimes they really are.

Anyway, I’ve just started and I like the gritty texture, the grime that Adiga unabashedly describes. Mud, lizards, buffaloes, black oozing rivers. I have a fondness for the unpretty image done well.

Also, Eavan Boland‘s poem Love. Here’s an extract:

And yet I want to return to you
on the bridge of the Iowa river as you were,
with snow on the shoulders of your coat
and a car passing with its headlights on:

I see you as a hero in a text —
the image blazing and the edges gilded —
and I long to cry out the epic question
my dear companion:
Will we ever live so intensely again?

Read the full poem here.


my trusty camera. There is a dilemma attached to this one. I like photographing people more than things, or even places. But I feel uncomfortable doing it. Voyeuristic. Violative, like Sontag said. Especially since I usually like faces with something unusual about them — some sadness, quirk or peculiarity. And this is natural for someone who considers herself sad, quirky and peculiar, I suppose. But am I responding to the person or to some hidden quality in the person that I am trying to unearth? And how separate are the two things? And how much of it is about recognition of something familiar, emotional kindred?

So I’m one of those people who love taking pictures of people but will never ask. Unless I’m really drunk or really sure that they don’t mind. Which makes me a lousy, cowardly sort of photographer. I intend to get over this hangup soon but tonight, I was in no mood to make a big effort towards “springing from the platonic conception” of myself so I photographed Dobby, and lamps and things.


Filed under Personal, Photography, Poetry

Look Who We Have Coming to Vogue

Vogue India’s August issue features designer bibs (like the Fendi bib the child in the photo is wearing), handbags, clutches, umbrellas–all modeled by the aam aadmi. Of course, considering that prices for  brands like Hermes Birkin and Burberry can range between $200 and $10,000, this is the only time they will ever get near them. Luxury brands have usually been accused of ignoring the average person in India. This, apparently, is Vogue’s answer to that. Vogue’s logic according to this story:

Vogue India editor Priya Tanna’s message to critics of the August shoot: “Lighten up,” she said in a telephone interview. Vogue is about realizing the “power of fashion” she said, and the shoot was saying that “fashion is no longer a rich man’s privilege. Anyone can carry it off and make it look beautiful,” she said.

“You have to remember with fashion, you can’t take it that seriously,” Ms. Tanna said. “We weren’t trying to make a political statement or save the world,” she said. (emphasis mine)

Seems to me like she’s contradicting herself a bit there. Are we supposed to believe in the ‘power of fashion’ which is going to elevate these poor people and save their lives with $100 Fendi bibs? Or are we supposed to ‘lighten up’ about poverty and have a good chuckle?

One way of looking at it is that this was an earning opportunity for these people. In which case, I’m curious to know whether they were paid as much as regular models or not. I haven’t seen the magazine so I don’t know if the editors have put this in some sort of context or are tying this up with any social programmes. But it’s a little telling that the shoot does not name the models / people in the captions. Only the brands of the accessories.

What do you think?


Filed under Culture, Media