Hey WordPress, you listenin’ ?


 

The blogosphere we dwell in, works in strange ways;

two years hence, it’s still an inscrutable haze

You wake up one morning, ripe with thought;

restless to mold the flux down to the dot

Proud of your work, you wait for the traffic to spike;

two days fly by, and you would kill for a single like

And then you bump into some post with a mere ten words;

the scores of comments beneath make your stomach turn inwards

 

“What did I do wrong?”, you ponder in vain

It’s got a voice and passion that you did not feign

It’s got pictures that enliven, and grammar that’s clean,

with humorous segues you tactfully threw in between

 

“Then, am I not showering enough blog love?”, you wonder

To get to the bottom, you tear your comment policy asunder

A comment begets one, no doubts there

But, what to do for two likes, to show that you care?

And what about the follows, should a follow follow one?

Then you wistfully realize you don’t have a ton

You get tired and give up at the face of concerns too many,

when you refresh your blog page and hit an epiphany

 

“Tis for souls like us that freshly pressed solely exists!”

Alas! That too turns out to be such an elusive tryst

Does ability trump? Or is need enough to catch your eye?

coz some posts are poignant; some make you go “Why?!”

So, WP, do your little swagger, and pretend not to hear

coz when we do arrive, we’ll more than bend your ear!

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Video coach (Part 2)


 Chopping onions had always been a tearful experience for her. As she was nursing her red, swollen eyes that night, all she could think of was the infinitesimal moment when their eyes had met, as he repositioned his book. She had hurriedly broken the glance to  stare shamelessly at a poster that claimed to have found the cure for AIDS. That was about as eventful as it had gotten that day, although she had wanted to hold on to the glance a bit longer, probably segueing into a smile. She had wanted to squeeze out a moment of impulse out of her utterly mundane life. But it was too late for any change. It was ironic that she answered phones in a publishing house bustling with creativity, when she should have been filling up galleries with her art. Capability was never the issue; it was the crippling fear of failure. At 27, she lived the life of a 35 year old in a city where it was usually the other way around. Her sole source of comfort—life in Mumbai—seemed less consequential by the day.

The smell of onions burnt beyond repair shook her off what was going to be a long bout of self-pity. She was in no mood to start over and ate some leftover pizza. Mildly pleased by the mollifying effect of food, she hit the pillow, looking forward to dream that night. It was the only place the colors and shapes flitted around, free to morph into imagery impossible for her awake mind encumbered with despair to think of. It wasn’t surprising that she dreamt about ‘video-coach’ guy that night; what was surprising was that there was no physicality involved. It was not his eyes, his face or even a human figure she saw. She was alone in the ladies’ compartment of a train, dangerously gasping for breath, apparently suffocated by the invisible crowd around. Dripping in sweat, she was trying to fill her lungs with the last whiff of oxygen she could scrounge, when she saw a painting of a book—the book that he was reading. It looked bizarre with just the image of a book on canvas floating in mid air, and even more absurd as it felt like the only thing that could salvage her from her deeply agonized state. How could a book save her, let alone a painting of one? Upset that her own mortal peril killed her creativity that night, she shrugged it off trying to think of how to make ‘video-coach‘ guy notice her.

She wore a scorching red salwar kameez and more than a hint of makeup that day. This extra attention to detail being off her daily schedule, she ended up late for the bus to the station. Luckily, the rickshaws weren’t on one of their strikes. She used the ride to rehearse some conversation starters, just in case they happened to be within the talking radius. Discussing literary interests with him would be suicide as her trove began and ended with the likes of Sidney Sheldon. Politics didn’t interest her at all, or sports. She wasn’t much of a weather talker either. In fact, all she ever cared about was her textures on canvas and the crisp sound of pencil sketching on paper. It would seem a tad weird if she began talking to a stranger about whether he liked flowing strokes or semi-circular ones.

She knew she was going to miss the train as soon as she heard the familiar announcement at the station—something that always coincided with her train leaving. Nevertheless, she made a painful run for it, her legs clearly not used to the discomfort of high heels. In the end, she was left with two sore legs and the swiftly receding tail of the 933 local. Terribly disappointed and bruised, she barely managed to get to her office. The work had always felt like a nail being hammered at an excruciatingly slow pace; she looked forward to it that day.

Fashion through my Gucci shades…


 

One of the perils of being a grad student is the ease with which one slips into a state of being ‘not in touch’ with the goings-on of the world…..unless of course Bin laden gets himself killed. So, I guess I can be excused for reading about the royal wedding a couple of days ago. As I skimmed through the wordy editorials, like the brain of any self-respecting girl, mine too efficiently filtered off the inconsequential, to focus on the bottom line-the bride’s outfit. Automatically, the bride’s person dissolved into oblivion and all I could picture was the delicately designed angelic-white gown frozen in space for viewers to appraise. A lot had been written about the cut, the fabric and the intricate embroidery on the outfit. Some flak about it being simplistic and ‘too safe‘ for a royal attire. The technicalities did not pique my interest as much as what the garment seemed to symbolize in the grand scheme of things. It was simple, no doubt, but not simplistic,  mildly tempered with defiance, as though teasing the traditional and conservative pigeon hole associated with the royal family.

With this, my thoughts drifted off to the rotten pages of my secret book of outfit sketches I had earnestly designed in school, to the imaginary fashion labels that would’ve featured my creations to the world, to the look on my mom’s face when I announced my interest in fashion as a career-a look of pity reserved only for people who are mentally unstable, and then finally, to the jet airways flight that brought me here to the US of A to pursue my doctoral studies in pharmaceutical sciences. Although I do enjoy the problem solving stern rationality of the scientific field, I do occasionally feel the achingly familiar guilt of not giving fashion the benefit of my creativity.

Model wearing an outfit from Alexander McQueen...

Model wearing an outfit from Alexander McQueen’s Darwin inspired Spring 2010 collection. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fashion, to this day, evokes a feeling of boundless exhilaration and a child-like curiosity in me. I’ve always believed what one wears is one of the strongest non-verbal expressions of oneself. I imagine that each color, each pattern, each piece of clothing that co-ordinates and, also the one that doesn’t, speaks something about the person, his mood that day, the nature of his work, his personal image and, also the one he wishes to portray to the world. What is often subtly forgotten is that it is also the living image of the thought and the sweet smell of labor of the creative mind behind it. You might think that I am naively attempting to defend the works of a person who is probably swimming in the lavishness of the multi-million-if-not-billion dollar industry. That fashion occupies an enviable position in the commercial spectrum is an indisputable fact. What bothers me is that it ranks a shameful low in the art zeitgeist. Fashion as an art form still receives step-motherly treatment in common parlance. It has become convenient to either elevate it to a slippery dais of glamor-a superficial, incomprehensible, outlandish entity meant for a select-few or degrade it to a utility device meant to layer our skins. While it is true that the clothing and the accessories we wear today were originally, a designer’s brain-child, it is not the sole purpose of their creation.

 

Mlle Gabrielle Dorziat wearing one of Chanel's...

Mlle Gabrielle Dorziat wearing one of Chanel’s first hats. Photograph by Talbot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coco Chanel brought  the quintessential little black dress to the fashion circuit and then, to every wardrobe, to unfetter women from the tight-fitting corsets and bulky gowns of the early 1900s. However, for every Coco Chanel, there is an Alexander McQueen, who is notorious for his raw, even vulgar depiction of female sensuality in an attempt to empower them. His works have been described as dark, macabre, and sometimes having strong political undercurrents. Basically, his line of creations is the perfect example of what one would dismiss as ‘un-wearable’ and crazy. So be it. Maybe you can’t attend a business meeting wearing one of his faux-haired suits, or dance at a party wearing his animal-skeleton shoes. Should fashion always pander to our basic necessities for it to be taken seriously?  Doesn’t it deserve the same deliberative evaluation that any other art form   is subjected to? Modern art is a deeply discussed subject, although the purpose of the abstract painting is not the first thing that strikes you. Many great books would not have seen the light of the day, had they been written to achieve a definite goal. Could J.K. Rowling have afforded to worry that her work might get the ‘just another children’s book’ tag, while today, it is more than evident to us that some of life’s most sublime values have emerged from the greatness that is the Harry Potter series?

In all sincerity, a fashion designer is an artist too….his creations are a piece of him……an idea that weaves into a fabric, takes on the color of his imagination and the shape of his resolve to create and exhibit some of his innermost flows of thought for us to appreciate,  cherish, or even reject, but most of all, to respect.