Thursday, November 27, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
My first piece was quite small and something I got done on a whim. Luckily for me it turned out nice and I still like looking at it. This new one I’ve been thinking about for quite some time, and have spent hours looking for designs and checking with the few people I know who have some aesthetic sense, and will not hesitate to tell me if I’m about to get a disaster permanently marked on my skin.
My friends of course all think I’m crazy to volunteer for the pain. I think the pain is quite therapeutic. Of course it helps that they (on request) apply some numbing gel (which I think is more of a placebo than anything else). But the fact of the matter is that I quite enjoyed the noise and movement of the needle as it went about inserting ink into my skin. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not denying the pain. Nor am I masochistic. All I’m saying is that the dull (and at times sharp) throbbing pain was quite tolerable. And once you’re through you really don’t think of the pain in all the post-tattoo excitement.
So after an hour’s wait, another hour under the needle (a new one, fresh from a sealed packet) and a quick squirt of dettol-water to wipe away the extra colour and blood, I was the proud owner of a brand new tattoo.
I knew where I wanted my third piece even before I left the studio.
My poor (needle phobic) fellow says we shall discuss it.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Now if I was fantasizing about gourmet, fancy stuff, I could blame it on good taste and discerning taste buds. But no. My unconscious insists on bringing up memories and images (and smells) of hot buttered toast (that I can gratify immediately with a holler to the maid), steaming hot wanton soup at my favourite Chinese eatery (which, since the place has shut down, I continue to dream about), mum’s rajma chawal (isn’t it the best always), the bhel I get just down the road (oh ya that’s the real thing, not the sterilised, hygienic stuff mum makes at home), my aunt’s fried potato sabzi and baked vegetables (anything fried and anything layered with cheese has to taste good), dosa at my friend’s home (us north Indians just don’t know how to do a good dosa), nani’s besan ke laddoo (as clichéd as it sounds, my nani made killer laddoos till she went all healthy on us), Gooey chocolate torte with a friend at a place i can never get to on my own, caramel popcorn at….oh well you get the picture.
My sister is quite fed up with my cravings. She tells me to save it for when I’m pregnant. After all why should she be the one to have to listen to me talking (almost reverently) about hot vada pav and masala dosa (with a mangola) at the udipi next to my college? Let that poor unfortunate fellow of mine struggle to get me a choco-bar at 2 in the morning.
Ooh. Time to check the freezer.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The heritage of our country, instead of being preserved and managed, is being neglected, and what is worse, abused. Museums are for the most part devoid of visitors and those that do attract tourists are suffering from public apathy. For most of the people who visit museums, it is just another 20 minute stop in their itinerary and once they realise that all the rooms are full of glass cases with old things, they look for the nearest exit.
I visited the Albert Hall (Central) Museum in Jaipur recently which is housed in a hundred and thirty two year old magnificent building. The museum has been refurbished recently and made more shiny and nice looking in an attempt to rid museums of the reputation for being dusty and morose places. And on the whole they have succeeded pretty well. Except that they did not take into consideration the utter lack of interest and value for heritage in our people. All around the museum there are signs asking people (in two languages) not to touch the glass cases. Do we read them? Maybe. Do we follow the instruction? You think?
The museum has a lot of different types of artefacts ranging from metal to textiles. In the sculpture section they have several rare pieces which will be difficult to find now. Unfortunately the curator has too much faith in people and more importantly parents. While I stood there, a family of 5 arrives and while the parents look around them confused, their 8 yr old daughter rubs her hand along the length of the sculpture are she walks past it. And mind you we’re talking of something that could be as old as 600 years. Several countries in the world aren’t that old.
On the lower level the building has open court yards (protected as much as they can from pigeons using it as an open air toilet) with marble fountains as old as the building. But do we care? No. We encourage our children to go play in the water while we take photographs. Morons.
I also happened to visit the Amber fort in Jaipur. Here I see people who decide to test the strength of 400 year old marble railings opening out on a 100 foot ledge. I did my good deed of the day and went and told this couple reposing on one such railing, very politely may I add, that although I understand they are tired and want to sit, a 400 year old railing isn’t the place to do it. They thought I was loony. Fools.
And then there is the whole forbidden fruit syndrome or more culturally appropriate Laxman rekha temptation. A lot of areas of the fort were cordoned off for restoration purposes, for conservation of the monument or for the safety of the tourist. But no. We see a rope and we have to cross it. So then we have people making their children cross the ropes and pose for pictures in the middle of a no walking area and buffoons leaning over ropes to run their hands over the original walls just because they are told not to. Luckily the guards are either being paid more or are really satisfied with their jobs because they burst into whistle and movement when this happened. More power to them.
And don’t even get me started on how we feel the need to express our love (or stupidity) on any surface that stands still enough. Imbeciles. Should be shot or something.
We’ll go to other countries and pay big money to see three feet of crumbling wall cordoned by thick ropes, we’ll wait hours in a line to see empty stone rooms with small square panels of cloth under plexiglas depicting what ‘might’ have been used as drapery, we’ll voluntarily go to museums and look at collections of old pots and pans, we’ll even ooh and ah at pictorial depictions of the history (measly 100 or 200 years of it) of whichever country we are in at the time, - all in the name of tourism.
What about all that our country has to offer? What about our own walls which are still standing proud and strong, the rooms that are still lined with gold and paint, the museums that tell you that which was, the history that reverberates across the land in every fort and palace there is?
Is it a case of having so much that you take it for granted? Or is it that we’re a race that just doesn’t know how to appreciate what we have? Whatever the reason, we end up looking like imbeciles and fools.