Monday, 28 December 2009

A cold evening on Christmas Day....
A short walk around Canada Water...
Beautiful Holy Wreaths on house doors, lit Christmas trees, Santa masks strung along fences and occasional Christmas stockings hung in bedrooms... the miniscule space through open curtains made them visible and added a lovely festive feeling on the isolated street.

One of the house windows with open curtains had a little Santa Drawing , I presume done by a small child as it brimmed with life and innocence. It read: 
Santa, Please Stop here!

As I strained to look inside the house, I actually saw a little kid intently gazing at his Santa drawing on the window in anticipation.
I wish i had my camera to capture his priceless expression.

It made my Christmas so beautiful!

Friday, 25 December 2009

Translucent candy wrapping on the outside...a silver foil neatly clinging onto its surface..

Ever thought of unwrapping one before offering!!
May be I'd do that if it were a slab, but not when it is a single oval piece of chocolate wrapped in one of those  shiny papers..

Probably extremely insignificant, but a very warm gesture from a lovely friend I met this time on my trip to India. He actually unwrapped the chocolate from both layers before offering it... just felt nice.... and strangely but surely... a small gesture.. made me feel closer.. just made my day!

Friday, 11 December 2009

the kiss!

My major project on the masters was a study of the cultural landscapes of the Thames in London and the Ganges in Varanasi. As a part of my research, I interacted with several people in Varanasi and London to understand their perception of the two rivers in the respective cities. This interaction was made formal with the aid of visual and linguistic surveys that I designed.  

I would like to share two extremely contrasting responses which intrigued me thoroughly. I met a very young and pleasing Italian lady in Varanasi at the breakfast table in the hotel where I stayed. She wore a bindi and a sari (dressed Indian). I decided to ask her to do a visual survey for me. I was curious to know how she would perceive the Ganges. From her mannerism and attire, I guessed she quite liked India and the culture in the country. However, I was unaware of its intensity until she attempted my survey. One of the questions within my visual survey was as follows:  

Q6) Use the given piece of paper to depict the River Thames in London/ River Ganges in Varanasi. (Except your hands please do not use any tool) PURPOSE : To understand form with a third dimension , also a reflection of how people feel about the river which can be seen by observing how they handle the piece of paper. (crushing/ gently folding/ tearing etc) 

In response to this, she looked at the paper I gave her to mould for a few seconds. A light smile appeared on her face and she told me that she thought the Ganges was beautiful and she loved the river in Varanasi. Her next physical expression really touched me. She kissed the paper and gave it back to me. She said and I quote,'If I were to do anything to this paper, (wrinkle, fold, crease, tear) it would mean harming the river or disturbing it'. She returned the paper as it is. A beautifully subtle expression which reflected her sensitivity. It was lovely meeting her.  
In contrast, one of my classmates in London who attempted the survey crushed the paper to make a ball out of it. He pressed it between his teeth ravaging it completely. He hated the Thames. It was interesting to see how appropriately and strongly the emotions for the two rivers were conveyed through the contrasting gestures. 
There were so many points in the project where suddenly opinions contrasted so much that they could'nt differ any more, while at other times, it almost felt like the two water bodies replicated in the two cities and were no different. I maintained a neutral perspective by portraying "what really is" without taking a biased stand weighing towards contrasts or similarities.

Its end, is the point at which it begins

Though deep, yet clear;
though gentle, yet not dull;
strong without rage,
without o'erflowing, full.
John Denham

The colours - gorgeous, the lights strikingly fascinating, the reflections leaving a strong impression and establishing its identity, the grandeur, the vastness, the beauty, the diversity, for what it stands, for what it signifies but for most of all for what it means to me.
The marvelous river of London, the Thames, which attracts me. I spend hours walking by the river at different times of the day and night. I take pictures to have them up on my wall and in my collection as the river has started to become a very important part of my everyday life in London. It inspires me, de-stresses me completely and bring a a strong sense of contentment within me. In this book, focussing on the 'out of focusness',
I have tried to portray the river in a manner which speaks more of its abstract qualities, which is what really draws me towards it.
Drawing inspiration from pictures taken by the photographer, Uta Barth, whose works reflects a strong abstract notion. Uta's intent was 'to shift your attention to the very act of looking, to your own visual perception in that particular moment, in the particular place that you are viewing the picture in'.
The idea of the series of images captured and compiled into this book is to establish the identity of the Thames in London. The focus is to reveal the presence of the river in every picture taken through the reflection, space or the lights. Some images reveal the presence of a river and others specifically the Thames in London because of the presence of the static elements alongside the river, which essentially to name a few are the London Eye, Westminster and London Bridge.
I have also drifted from the obvious revelation of the river in a few images where I have zoomed into the boats moving across the river, the vehicles on the bridges and roads alongside the river.

Peter Ackroyd

'Spreading rings on water, intermingling and fading with time, but still leaving impressions'.
Bill Pike

(Title of this post is a quote from 'The Sacred River' by Peter Ackroyd')

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

And she sprawled on the floor....

a lovely day, a lovely sight... unforgettable!

Hussain Chalayan exhibited mid-March at the Design Museum here in London.
A cold, windy day indeed but I fortunately decided to step out of the gloom of my room, to see the exhibit, having least expected what I saw!

Hussein's work was revolutionary, intriguing and extremely inspiring. It was definitely worth dragging myself out into the cold. But what I witnessed as I was nearing the end of the display was a picturesque, beautiful moment which happily found a permanent place in my mind and heart. The thought of it, even today, brings an instant smile.
A cute little girl, dressed in pink was visiting the exhibit with her mom. She stood in front of a mannequin which wore a lovely flared skirt. She wanted it. She looked at her mom with the joy of having discovered a treasure, and asked her to get the skirt off the mannequin. When her mom said that she could not have it, she began to cry. The innocence, the urge and the sorrow reflected on her face.
After having pleaded for several minutes, when she got the same answer, she knew what she had to do. With watery eyes, she opened her little pink bag-pack to bring out her tiny diary and her colour pencil box. What she did next, gripped me for several minutes. I could not move.
Probably the most delightful sight I've ever seen. Prettier than any pretty flower or scenic landscape in the world!
Little Miss Pink sprawled down on the floor (on her front side) with her most treasured diary in front of her. Absolutely focused, she intently gazed in the direction of the skirt. Slowly, her eyes moved to her minuscule diary and her teeny-weeny fingers began to stir.
She mimicked (drew) the skirt onto her memoir with utmost precision. 
They left in a while, she and her mom both. But I just stood there.
It left something  in my mind.
Her presence, her innocence, the pink, her little fingers reminded me of how divine the world is. It made my day... it was beautiful!!

Monday, 7 December 2009

The Ganges by Varanasi

River Ganges (Varanasi)

On the return journey he left the oars, to let the boat move with the tide. A sense of relief after an hour of rigorous rowing ......

He washed his hands in the Ganges before beginning his breakfast on the boat he rowed for about 8 years. 

Satiated with the sumptuous meal, he cupped his hands and quenched his thirst from the same Ganges.

After a while, he spat back into the same Ganges.

And again before we reached the ghats, (teracced landing where he would anchor the boat), he drank the pure water of the same Ganges!

The Pure water...of the same Ganges!

Ganga Jal - The water of the holy Ganges!

Arun . my 20 year old boatman, born and brought up in Varanasi.