Sunday, July 24

I cant believe she's gone..

I was watching the news with my dad - killings in Norway, English doing well in the test series, Amy Winehouse is dead. I let out a little shriek of disbelief and sat their with my hand clasped to my chest. Tears started rolling down my cheeks. Quite involuntarily. My dad of course, had no idea who Amy Winehouse was and thought I was upset either by the tragic news from Norway or Tendulkar's quick dismissal at Lords. 

How could I explain to my dad that the world had just lost a troubled but beautiful and immensely talented spirit. I felt the same way when I heard of Alexander Mcqueen's death. How could these people, so brilliant, so successful and so well-loved hate themselves so much? It was perhaps the fatal combination of talent and sensitivity. With talent came fame, which turned their sensitivity to fragility. In Amy's case, drugs and alcohol seemed to provide her temporary solace from the ugly side of fame. An easy way to mask her fragility from the world. 

 Amy was no role model and never claimed to be one.  In a world that often lacks originality, Amy's style stood out.I remember listening to the Back to Black album when it first came out. It was a trying period in my life and Amy's bold yet fragile was a source of immense comfort and strength.Ironic, really, as these were the exact things that she was crying out for. The downward spiral had begun and every time I heard of yet another 'Amy disaster', my heart would bleed for her a little bit. 
She was a train-wreck by the end and her last performance in Belgrade(or the lack of it) was a disaster. Drunk, stumbling and pathetic, she had become a joke in a world that is far from kind. 

I hope she is remembered for her unique music and not for the disaster she had turned into towards the end.She was an immensely talented and incredibly messed up young woman who could not hear her own cries for help.
In spite of her shenanigans, Amy was a class act.

Amy, I hope you finally find the peace that escaped you in your lifetime. 

                                                   R.I.P Amy Winehouse

Friday, July 22

This is a detour from my long-winded story about my holiday. But I just had to share this with you! There is a reason they call me ‘Magpie’. Like a Magpie, I love to collect things. I collect and collect; postcards, letters, exhibition brochures, photographs. All for posterity; for a time when on a lazy afternoon I might go back to these and reminisce. Now I’m all set to move out and begin my life as an adult, with a job and an apartment and all the other things that adulthood and reality forces us to do. After much nagging from the dear parents, I decided to clean out the clutter (‘clutter’-their words not mine!) that had accumulated, or you might say, was carefully preserved, over the years.
With Adele to keep me company, I began the painful ‘de-cluttering’. Out came old paintbrushes, random ‘fashion sketches’ that I had done when I was 13 and wanted to be a fashion designer, old photographs from random hikes we went on in boarding school (we would set off with our backpacks and caps and thought we were The Shit) , letters from my grandmother before my board exams telling me to do some ‘pranayama’ and eat almond before my exams. I found old essays that I had slaved over when I was 15 and still a ‘good student’. The most precious one was a poem Kalyani and I made up for English class in the 8th grade (scroll down to read this piece of fine poetry).
The whole experience left me misty-eyed. I’m a pathetic sentimentalist. I can’t help it! I thought about how we had all copiously wept when we finally left school, promising to keep in touch and remain ‘BFFS Forevaaa!’ It has been four years since we graduated from school. College is over. We’ve moved on with our own lives and daily preoccupations. We live in different parts of the world and see each other rarely. As I read my yearbook entries and looked at the photographs, I found myself fighting back tears. Tears that were brought on by memories of a happy time. I giggled at random stuff I had scribbled behind my ‘Literature Class Notes’, so neatly and lovingly covered by my dad in brown paper before I left for school.

My mum always asks me why I keep stuff like old notebooks and old school projects so carefully. It so that I can go back to them any day, some day, and see what my handwriting looked like when I was fourteen and laugh at all the doodles we did while we were supposed to be listening to our teacher go on his schpeel about ‘The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock’. These doodles, photographs, letters, old yearbooks have become memory-capsules. And I’m glad that I, being the Magpie that I am, saved them all! They gave me a wonderful afternoon stroll down memory lane. Needless to say, I found a new secret place to hide my stash of ‘clutter’. Because we Magpies never throw anything away! 

The Lobster and the Chef

(I think this poem was meant for a class on rhyme scheme. ‘The Walrus and The Carpenter' may have been the inspiration’. Do not judge it too harshly. We were twelve and very proud of our piece of 'poetry'!)

 Kalyani, Kaveri

It was paradise,
To the chef’s eyes,
On the sand so white,
Lay a lobster,
 Contrastingly, so red and bright.

‘Oh my dear!’
Said the French cook Pierre,
‘Why don’t thee
Come with me!

I’ll spice up your life,
With the help of a knife,
You’ll be in Heaven,
With a few drops of lemon.’

‘I’ll come with thee,
If you first come with me.
Come to the Silver Line to dine,
At around nine.’

After their meal,
Which was mostly Eel,
To pay a compliment
To the cook they went.

The lobster said ,’Look into the fire’
Under his breathe he added.’ This is your funeral pyre!’
Then, with all his might,
He pushed the cook right in,
Not at all worried about his sin.

‘Wonderful meat!’ said Lady Fat Bo Tom
‘I know, it cost me a bomb,
And nearly my life,
But I was saved by the end of a knife’.

The lobster was a born liar.
He knew that he was actually saved by fire.

And this is the Lobster and the chef’s gruesome story,
(I know its quote gory!).

 Kalyani, Kaveri

Wednesday, July 20

Back from a Break

Its been a while since I last blogged. Exams and entrance tests had me preoccupied. A lot has happened since then. I graduated (suddenly, college was over and it was time to say goodbye to college-slacker-days) and turned twenty one. I spent most of my summer in Europe, (Paris and London) a generous graduation/21st birthday present from my mum and aunt. Thank you guys! The next couple of post are going to be about my trip. I always feel like a changed person after a gorgeous holiday. Traveling gives me a new perspective on life, not to mention great experiences and lots of shopping! I vowed to keep a ‘travel journal’ but you know that solemn vows like those are rarely kept! To top it all, my bag got stolen at a bar in London and with it went my camera which had some fun photos from Paris and the Henley Royal Regatta. Oh well! I’m going to try and share my trip with you as best as I can through my words!

Paris and London. Two of the greatest, most beautiful and alive cities in the world. Three weeks does not do justice. Those three weeks are a delicious hazy mix in my brain right now so I’m going to start in reverse order and hopefully I'll be able to unravel my holiday for you in some vaguely coherent fashion!
I was in Paris with my cousin sister Anjali (half Indian, half American and totally gorgeous…I’m related to her from the Indian side..obviously). Anj was doing a stint with Warner Bros., Paris, and I joined her in Paris for her last week. We bid adieu to Paris with a heavy heart (to make it worse, it was a gorgeous, sunny Sunday afternoon) and made our way to Gare du Nord to catch the EuroStar to London. It was as if Paris felt a little bad for us and threw in a little farewell treat for us in the form of Tsonga! The adorable tennis star was coming back from Wimbledon after defeating Federer (and eventually losing to Djokovic..but the point is he beat Feds!). There we were, Anj and me, with our ridiculous load of luggage ('We're too girls,in a cool city and we need our shoes!'), taking in the Paris air  one last time when we saw him! We totally spazzed out and began jumping around, shrieking incoherently and excitedly (‘Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Holyshit its Tsonga!!! Aaaa!’). Now I’m not a massive sports geek but seeing a ‘celebrity’ is always fun! So those were our last moments in Paris and we got onto our train headed to London. Before I left I had my last cigarette on the platform and made it a point to say ‘Merci! Au revoir!’ to the ticket lady. I had to!

A few hours and a ham-n-cheese sandwich later, we were in London. My aunt lives in London and so end up going to London quite often (though not as often as I would like to!) and while it no longer has novelty of a new city, I still love it! I mean, who doesn’t love London in the summer?! The London Summer is all about concerts, too much drinking, staying out late because the-night-is-young-and-we're-fabulous and strolls down Portobello Market. We did walk around Portobello, for meals and general chilling, since my aunt lives right round the corner in Notting Hil. But I only managed to get quality time with Portobello towards the fag end of my trip. Here is a little piece on Portobello that I did for a magazine I’m applying to for work,post college. Work! How dull! But I’m 21 now and that’s real life.

Bello Portobello

London weather is notoriously fickle. But if you happened to luck out on some glorious sunshine, then there is no other place that you would rather be than Portobello Market. For a delicious dose of ‘Cool Brittania’, Portobello Market on a Saturday morning is your go-to place. It is where hipsters and ex-hippies, along with a generous representation of the American Tourist (yes, they are a phenomenon during the European summer) show up on a Saturday morning.
Start your morning off at the trendy little breakfast place, which was once a community centre or at Charlie’s Café, which is right on Portobello Road. A cappuccino along with a generous helping of Eggs Benedict is necessary sustenance for all the walking and browsing that comes with a Portobello Morning. Armed with a good breakfast, your RayBans from the 90s and a great camera, you are set to take on and take in Portobello.
Seasoned Londoners often talk about the ‘trendification’ of Notting Hill and Portobello Market. It is true that quaint cafes and quirky, one-of-a-kind boutiques, have been replaced by the biggies-American Apparel, Kurt Geiger and Café Nero to name a few. Ledbury Road, just a bend-in-the-road away, is lined with everything from Ralph Lauren to the usual suspect Parisian brands like Joseph and Zadig&Voltaire. Portobello Market, popularised by the film ‘Notting Hill’ has become a major tourist hub. This, however, does not make it a less worthwhile visit. On a Saturday morning, Portobello Road goes back to its Sex Pistols roots. The grunge-cool of the punk-rocker era and vintage-chic of the ‘Teds’ is what its all about. From the way the seasoned cruisers of Portobello dress to the innovative window displays of shops selling nick-knacks and brick-bracks, there is a decisive and rather infectious air of nonchalant ‘cool’. For a street-style photographer, this place is like a candy store because here, the streets indeed have style. Patti Smith look-alikes lean against graffiti walls, carelessly dangling a cigarette between ring-bedecked fingers. Portobello is also famous for its antique shops and the wonderful cockney accents of the antique sellers. You can be sure to be greeted with a “ ‘alo luv!” as you walk into one of the many charming, antique treasure troves that dot Portobello.
If antiques do not quite catch your fancy (or the more likely scenario of exceeding the budget), there are plenty of stalls selling Vivienne Westwood sunglasses (from the 80s, of course) and records of The Who. Incredible vintage stores like ‘One Of A Kind’ are worth stepping into. If the innovative, incredibly fun window displays have not yet lured you into the shop, the uber-cool shop assistant welcoming you with ‘Come on in! Come play dress up!’, definitely will! Though these stores may be pricier compared to the deals one could score at the make-shift stalls, you are more or less assured of quality and authenticity.

For lovers of architecture, there is the bleak yet fascinating Trellic Towers. Designed in the Brutalist style by the architect Erno Goldfinger, this building was originally public housing, with a rather notorious reputation in the 70s, and has now become something of a landmark in this part of town. Though most of the building is still designated for social housing, the ‘trendification’of this entire neighbourhood has made this building desirable, privately-owned property, largely due to its cult status.
 A word of caution before one sets out to explore. While Portobello may look like the place where the cool but impoverished artist hangs out, it is by no means inexpensive. Having said this, great deals (like a vintage Nicole Farhi skirt for 30 pounds) are not tough to come by. Nonetheless, watch your purse for pickpockets and deceptive bargains! Also, Portobello on a Saturday (particularly if the weather hold holds up) can get manically busy. So for all those serious antique shoppers, head out early. Portobello is as much about the vibe it is about the shopping, so keep your eyes wide open and let the uniquely-Portobello vibe take over!

So that’s Portobello for you. That piece of writing sounds kind of tourist-guide-ish, but it was for a magazine, so you must forgive me. I didn’t manage to take any photographs (not taking my own advice of taking a camera, classic) but I did do a ‘shoot’ featuring a jacket I bought (at a little store in Notting Hill acutally, not Portobello, but its cute nonetheless!). I was up late one night going though the copy of i-D magazine that I picked up at the airport and the temptation to do a ‘cool’ shoot caught me. So here some photos ,which I thought capture the ‘Cool Britania’ vibe that I can’t get enough of and of course, shows off my new jacket. Oh! And these TopShop jeans that I’m obsessed with!
The Essentials: Boots, Skinny jeans and a cigarette.
The Jacket


The Jeans

The Swag  B)

The Inspiration: androgyny; borrowed-from-the-boys-look; my fav Britons.

David Bowie

Thursday, April 7

Paint the town blue 'cause baby red is so passé!

What do you when submissions begin to get on your nerves and there is a gorgeous camera lying around? You escape from it all and indulge in some serious self -obsession of course! So that’s exactly what we did when our equally frazzled neighbour, Ayang,dropped by.
The result was, we decided, our very own campaign for ‘Gucci cigarettes’!

Carine Roitfeld, if you’re looking for someone to work for you on the million cool projects you are doing with your new found ‘freedom’ post-Vogue…you know where to find me!

Speaking of designer ciggies, look what i found...YSL cigarettes! They're SO chic you just have to light up!

ALSO:Carine…what is she up to lately? I mean, she seems to be everywhere! I read somewhere that she is doing a Chanel campaign with Freja Beha Erichsen (the campaign is, in Lagerfeld's words, 'genius'!) and Barneys’ new campaign-slash-Muse and that she may move with Hedi Slimane to YSL (that is IF Slimane moves to YSL!)…phew! That is a lot of porno-chic doing the rounds!


Jacket:resurrected from deep in my closet...god knows how it got there!
Top (barely seen):H&M
Photographer:Ayangbe (with creative inputs from Roomie)

P.S: kids, DO NOT SMOKE!;)

Monday, April 4

Let it be known from the start that this tale is not one for the fainthearted. It is a tale of the dangerous allure of fragility and youth. Of virginal innocence being lost to dark, sinister forces. Innocent curiosity and youthful exuberance was what Mother had warned against! The end is not a happy one and this must be declared at the outset. Take your place as the audience to this tragic massacre…or walk away.
Our story begins with the death of young April. April…where does one begin to describe April! She was the irresistible combination of innocence and adolescent sensuality. The little girl in her wanted to play with her ribbons all day long, but a little voice inside her egged her on to take just one little peek into the Forbidden Woods behind the House. Mother had warned her about the Big Bad Wolf that lived in those woods. And April was a good girl! She always listened to Mother! But on that spring day, there was something in the delicious, golden light that emboldened little April. She could no longer contain her curiosity..

So off she went into the Forbidden Woods. She would be back before dark of course. And mother would never know!

The golden light faded and April was nowhere to be found! Why had she not come home yet? Mother would be very angry! Where had that silly little girl disappeared? Did she not know that little girls must not play outside after Dark?!

The next morning they found little April. Lying on a deserted bench, her ribbons in tact but one shoe missing!Had that careless child fallen asleep on the bench again?