Tag Archives: art

Festival Art and Ephemerality: End of Durga Puja 2014

It was Durga Puja. The air was full of the non-stop beat of pujo’r dhaak (drum), music, microphone announcements, children’s elocution recitations, honks of a thousand cars, autorickshaws, rickshaws, voices of screaming kids and parents, lost and found announcements, children bursting crackers in their toy guns (“caps”) that went off with loud booms, pujo mantras (incantations) and loud ghanta’s (pujo bells) for the last five days.

Now there is all silence.

Pujo Pandal. Gigantic boat on the Ganga where the waters are blue hands lifted upward asking to be saved (Ganga Aaamar Maa--Burosibtala, Behala)
Pujo Pandal. Gigantic boat on the Ganga where the waters are blue hands lifted upward asking to be saved (Ganga Aaamar Maa–Burosibtala, Behala, Calcutta)
Buroshibtala Pujo, Behala
The water is a million hands (top) and inside the pandal it’s cool (AC’s) with scattered fish, mermen, rowers and underwater creatures (bottom two pictures).

The roads were full of streams of crowds from all walks of life, mostly youngsters and huge groups from distant parts of the city and outside suburbs walking along the roads inside bamboo barricades, dressed in their best new finery (some of which had zari borders that glowed in the dark). They had to stop at police ropes at intervals, taking tiny detours around sleeping dogs who seemed pretty nonchalant, considering the crowds who were desperate to see the pujo pandals, either patiently waiting or getting into skirmishes with police and volunteers, lifting their hands as far above the million heads as possible to take pictures, posting on social media in real time, desperate in their desire to savour the moment.

And this morning, it’s all empty.  At least as empty as Calcutta can get. Continue reading Festival Art and Ephemerality: End of Durga Puja 2014

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Pictures and desires

I have often wondered why people put up pictures  on their walls. Especially scenery. What it is that makes them desire a bit of the outside world onto this vertical surface that signifies a boundary, a separation of the house from the very world that the picture represents? Continue reading Pictures and desires

Signs of Toronto

When a city is walkable, there’s always people. And when there are people, they’re always saying something. It’s the din and the noise and the hustle and the bustle that make you remember you’re part of something bigger, something more than yourself.

Being elbowed painfully in a crowd rushing to office or having the end of a high heel ram into your big toe can jolt you out of that reverie and cut you down to size too.

A city can be impersonal. A city can be lonely.

Dundas Square, Toronto. A space full of people, kids of all ages rushing through the fountains, concerts and street musicians in the evenings but rather empty in the morning.

But sometimes, a voice reaches out from the crowd, a sign stands out that’s distinctive in some way. The distinction tells you there’s a person behind the words, a thinking mind somewhere, someone trying to talk, to imagine, to speak in a way that goes just a little bit beyond the utilitarian purpose of what the sign is meant for.

That’s the urban poet for me. Continue reading Signs of Toronto

Writing my blog persona or brand

Original cover artwork for the 2001 release

So for the past six weeks or so, I’ve been trying to figure out my blog persona.

I know a lot of you will clamour–just be yourself! Sure, I would’ve been myself but it’s just so hard to figure out what that self is. I’ve been looking, I can assure you. No doubt, I’ve been irritating a lot of folks, first, by promising to be a rather lightly heavy handed blogger (you’ll know what I mean if you see an older post), and then an overly easy one, becoming one of those people who are always able to think discretely: 10 ways to do this, 5 ways to do that (sort of like God who just managed to create the world in 7 days).

I’ve tried to be funny too in several posts, rather sad in others, and quite inspiredly emotional in some, the sort of purple prose that went out of fashion with the Victorians (ones you can experiment with only as Mr. or Ms. Bottledworder).

But will the bottle get out of shape with too many of us/ me’s? Continue reading Writing my blog persona or brand