The Day After the Night Before


The party’s over
It’s time to call it a day


 

They’ve burst your pretty balloon
And taken the moon away


Now you must wake up, all dreams must end
Take off your makeup, the party’s over

______________________
(at Taj West End, Bangalore)
(lyrics from The Party's Over, By Betty Comden and Adolph Green)

Kolam for Pongal

It's the second day of the Pongal festival. In the morning I walked around my neighbourhood, photographing the rice flour kolam patterns which women (in this area, they are generally servants) make outside their gates. All of these feature the clay pot in which newly harvested rice is boiled until it overflows with abundance; and stalks of sugarcane.

I saw a lot of colour this year -- unlike the traditional south Indian kolam patterns, which are made from white rice flour. I like the plain ones better -- but what do I know?









New Years Day, 2013

I went out at 8:30 in the morning. The grounds of the hotel were completely empty and silent, as though everybody had danced themselves into a deep, fairy-tale sleep. I walked around taking photographs of sunbeams filtering through the tall trees.



I passed the little temple to Ganesha, who looks after beginnings. A hotel employee, the first person I had seen, was sitting on a bench, praying. As I passed he finished, stood up, and rang the temple bell three times. Suddenly I heard voices from all sides, as though he had signaled for the world to wake up.


Calcutta / Instagram

A few photos which I took in Calcutta / Kolkata in October:

The Taj Bengal hotel


breakfast (the most attractive part, at least)


dawn, over Calcutta's big sky


a morning walk behind the hotel (red rooftop in the distance), crossing a bridge over Tolley's Nullah


Bhowanipore War Cemetery


perhaps this does not mark a warrior's grave, but it touched me


A side street in Bhowanipore


a lively morning market in the narrow streets across from the War Cemetery. A butcher.

 a temporary vegetable market

freshwater fish
 a water tower, I suppose. what colours and shapes!


 Durga puja. The demon victim and the lion vehicle are looking equally apprehensively at the goddess, who is not overly concerned about where her spear-point is going.


 puja implements in a small pandal, waiting for the priest


The City of Contradictions

Going through old things I'd written, getting ready for a visit to Kolkata, I found this forgotten scrap:

The City of Contradictions
The girl walks on her knees.
Her feet end at the ankles:
she was caught in a contradiction.
People live inside the window
which is inches from your window.
From the corner of your eye
a wedding band
  marching
    away
      from
         you
The rickshaw-puller clangs his
dull bell, waiting to drag you
to the innermost chamber.
Jasmine at the burning ghat.
Friend, whose ashes are these? 

Instagram

Some instagram photos, taken in the last couple of months:

frangipani

 a water lorry's hubcap

 the door of a small, portable shrine

 a rice flour kolam pattern

 dinner at On the Rocks

 the swimming pool at Radisson Temple Bay

wild mushrooms grow among tree roots after the rain

High Dive


I took a high dive from a pair of grass-green platform shoes once in Boston Garden, in the Spring. The weather was wonderful, sunny and warm. I wore a long dress in a floral print, which I had sewn myself. I felt as stylish and beaufitul as I ever could, which seemed like a LOT. An old man passed me and said, "You look like the spirit of Spring." And I did!

Just-like-that I toppled from my pedestals, thunderstruck, onto my knees on the pathway. A man approached with a look of sympathy and said, "Need any help?"

I smiled a gallant smile, gathered myself, and walked home barefooted, swinging my green shoes from one hand.

100 Portraits / 4: Maharaj



Maharaj Kathak. Stencil and collage.