A Little Walk Back in History

I came upon this documentary made by a young film-maker/journo in the late 70′s. It’s about the brutality of the Indian Government/Police during the Nation Wide Emergency of 1975. It’s hard hitting, and surprising that such an intense film was made so long ago- I don’t know of many Indian documentaries made during that era. It’s extremely insightful

I Survived a Fest!

Barely a week to put up an entire photography exhibition from scratch in front of a crowd of 17000 (that’s right..Crazy ain’t it?), me and 16 other girls (plus their friends who got no credit for the amount of hardwork they put in) banded together with grudges and inhibitions to gather photo submissions from people who weren’t keen on coming to our annual college festival , and seeking numerous  permissions for various little changes from teachers and staff who didn’t really care! We managed to get it done, and here are a few pictures of what the results were like:

So that was that…And amidst the other drama we had regarding a certain company that kept on badgering us with their weird demands, I managed to get backstage for the Choreo Competition. Here are a few shots from our college team’s performance, see if you can follow the steps!

Review of the Jaipur Lit Fest

So last (or was it last, last ) week I went to the Jaipur literature Festival and yes, attended the Oprah shebang on day…erm 2.  Here’s a little snippet of her entering stage, and an intro by Barkha Dutt (yuck)

It ain’t too clear, but this is just proof and a little show n’ tell for you all…And my folks….And friends…And teachers who want to trivialize my Lit Fest visit (“Arey, Oprah was there na-thaaaat’s why you went!”).

While the above was going on, this was happening on the side:

These feisty women wanted to see Oprah goddamnit!

Nonetheless, I got to have a little chat with Shekhar Kapur (my Sister’s ultimate idol for making Mr.India) about possible escape routes from the ‘front lawn’. He got to sneak through special hidden passages, while I was made to stop and turn around at every door because I wasn’t ‘Special Tag’-ed enough. And anyway, I trotted off to catch a really remarkable book reading -without the author actually reading from the book!

Simon Sebag Montefiore.
A little Intro :


Now if you wanted to really be part of the JLT haute couture, this look would seal the deal
Inside a small part of the Diggi palace courtyard. The palace is now a small hotel
A very very good Brad Pitt look a like....Seeing Oprah from afar


And finally have some chaaah

The Suraj Kund Mela 2012. My First Mela Experience!

Entering the Gateway of The Suraj Kund Mela 2012, Faridabad, Delhi

They had fascinating crafts and clothing from every state around the country
When you walk in, you get the feeling of being in some village that has been stuck in time. Don't let the arid look fool you, because the mela was huge and endless. There were umpteen stalls that took over acres and acres (literally) of this land.
This year's theme is 'Assam' an eastern state famous for its 'Bihu'. They have a really long Assam stall-cafe serving you decent sized thalis and other snacks which I had never even heard of
States as far as Tamil Nadu had stalls show casing their famous fabrics. I was surprised to see better quality prints and cottons here than what I found when I was actually down South! And the prices are not ridiculous, considering the kind of material they had
It's good to go to a place where you can still catch people working behind the scenes. This is a man from one of the Assam stalls putting together flower ornaments
At the Lucknow stall a very personable 'Nawab' looking guy sat in the throws of running Chanderi Cotton. It was quite obvious that the stall owners/workers were accustomed to people with cameras
Click on the Image to Get a Larger Experience!
It was a beautiful day , with the sun out and the colourful umbrellas, lanterns and carpets from Gujarat and Rajasthan. What was better about the Suraj Kund Mela was the fact that there was an abundance of space, which allowed grand displays of crafts. You won't ever find such sights in any other crafts market
What I loved, was the sudden burst of 'Mela-ness' you got to see. While bending down to inspect the pottery, I was suddenly mesmerized by the old fashion ferris wheel up in the sky
I have never seen woolly shoes with woolly laces before! From the Himachal Pradesh Stall
Well they had put up a make-shift temple for the Mela.......
...With make-shift priests too?...Hmm.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with the term ‘Mela’  it means ‘gathering’ or ‘to meet’ or a fair.

The overall experience of the Suraj Kund Mela was an outstanding one. Set up in the folds of the Delhi-Gurgaon-FaridabadIt took me back to a time where people from nearby villages would collect for such an event. Stalls were put up showcasing such talents from every nook and corner of the nation. It really makes you feel proud…And you will definitely enter gaining the happiness of a child!

[Remember to click on the images to get a larger experience]

Love Thy Master

My stout tailor, or ‘Master Ji’ has his own workshop in a 2 x 3 hole on the corner of a corridor in the heavily polluted car park of a market place. His eyes have grown smaller and darker over the past year and a half, ever since the widowed lady who employed him and his men at a reputable Stitching-Tailoring shop near the entrance of the market place, realized that the venture was too much to maintain. The business had shut down within 2 days, and well Master Ji decided to grab the best two tailors of the kharkhaana and start his own little thing. His clients have remained loyal to him through the dark murky times where they have had to choke and splutter on sudden bursts of fumes of exhaust vents leading down directly above the tailor’s shop, scream till their jaws ached on top of the deafening hum of mega-electricity generators that groan and shriek diagonal to Master Ji’s long flat table. Yesterday this table was found inside the shop itself, with a new face sewing behind it. He was squished in such a way that the mind boggled when it tried to map out a possible exit route. Inspectors had decided to survey the area and opined that the flat table was a security hazard of some sort-forget the vents, the tiny corridor suffocated with open wires, that goddamn table had to be inside the shop or they would be out.

Master Ji’s supervision over his worker men (never more than two at a time) has been efficient on a general level, despite the ups and downs, or rather the too-loose and too-tights. His main talent (thanks to me- a behenji who thinks that buying branded clothes from malls is a waste, when there is so much good running material  and skilled labour around) lies in the ability of copying designs from magazines-especially chic cuts from editorials. People usually donate magazines to him , or forget them there, or are promised that they will be returned once he has made something for his wife. Flipping through them for immediate inspiration is great.

But sometimes things get so tempting you just want to rip them apart. Today I ripped a few pages from a Grazia magazine dated to 2008.

I was flipping away when I saw (in my opinion) the most creative and endearing editorial shots taken of models in the setting of an Indian railway platfrom/train. As he was furrowing his dark eyebrows while listening to a client, I gasped and pressed my fingers down on the top edge of the page pulling it with a loud RRrriiip! (the generators don’t function during winter) He stopped and gave me a few “what the hell are you doing to my property” blinks. I showed him the spread of a girl in tiny shorts and shook my head at him “It’s not like you’d ever make THIS would you?”-he shook his thick carpet of hair back in response. This happened 5 more times when he began to chew on a tiny white toothpick with his front teeth more violently than ever. I had to give him that smile (you know the one where you have to scrunch up your nose)  and put the magazine down….