Friday, March 28, 2008

Tube Lights and Plastic Flowers

It seems that no old school, middle class, Punjabi living room is complete without the following few items:

tube light
plastic flowers
wall calendar
religious icon
stuffed animal on display

While the above photos taken in my thaiyaji's (father's, older brother) house only show one example of such Punjabi kitsch, I am sure I have seen many others, both in Delhi and in Toronto! Next time you are in an old school Punjabi home, check for yourself and let me know what you find!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Electric Idol!

Who needs Indian/Canadian/American Idol when you have "Disco Ganesh"! This is just one example of the many electric idols and flashy, er, flashing, religious relics I have seen since I've been in India. And trust me, it is not just Hindus who have a penchant for such flash. This being India, it is a multi-faith light show.

Ludhiana, Punjab

These images are of a home I stayed in, in Ludhiana, Punjab. The kitchen, washing area and dishes are typical of older Punjabi homes, particularly in the pind (village). When I encounter homes such as this, any objectivity I hold as a photographer melts away, much like the homemade (white) butter I ate while I was there. Blessings for the butter and for the love.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Harmandir Sahib

For those who enjoy iconic, postcard photos, the middle photo of Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) is just for you! Honestly though, I couldn't resist. The symmetry of the entire gurdwara complex is stunning. It captured my geometric sensibilities and I couldn't stop looking. And so I clicked. The other, lesser recognizable photos are of the kitchen where devotees prepare langar (free food) for over 40,000 people of all castes, religions, nationalities, and classes daily.

Shivratri Parade

So the first morning I opened my eyes, err, I mean ears, in New Delhi I heard a LOUD kirtan (religious singing?) blasting from the mandir (temple) next to where I was staying. Little did my Hindu ass know, it was Shivratri, a festival in praise of Lord Shiva. Later that evening, as darkness fell, a massive, 2 hour parade (jhaluse in Hindi) was moving through the street in front of our house.

To me these images document the shiny gritty quality of the beautiful boys and the traveling lamp light that night. Unfortunately, Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati weren't as impressed!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Truth is God

Ya hear. But what of line, form, shadow, light, texture?

"Truth is God" is a phrase famously said by M.K. Gandhi summing up his spiritual philosophy and his search for "satya" or truth and therefore God. It is simple and succinct, much like these beautiful buildings I experienced in Chandigarh (India) at the Panjab University.

Both the Fine Arts Museum of Panjab University and the Gandhi Bhawan were designed by Pierre Jeanneret, a cousin of the more well-known Charles-Edouard Jeanneret or "Le Corbusier", the Swiss-French architect of Chandigarh city. In a country as old as India with layer after layer of ornamental architectural styles, Chandigarh is like a breath of fresh air. And somewhat literally at that. The city is also the first "smoke-free" city in India where smoking in all public places is banned.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Home: Lajpat Nagar I

I have begun documenting the spaces that I call home while visiting New Delhi, my place of birth.

The photos above were taken in my mama's (mother's brother) flat in Lajpat Nagar I, an old, crowded, bustling colony of New Delhi. The bright early morning light was accompanied by the familiar sounds of a city waking up - street vendors, temple calls, vehicle motors and horns, etc.

I have always been fascinated by interiors, architecture and the way people inhabit space. Taking photographs helps me better understand the relationship between objects, decor, building materials and processes, and identity.

As I have many places to stay in while in New Delhi, keep checking back to see more photos as I shift from home to home.
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