The Fashion Lens

Sick as a dog (twice), eating double the amount as a cover up for every meal that i’d missed out and getting used to my ‘real’ height (no stiletto business, anymore). This was post-Australian Fashion Week for me.

It’s over and done with now. Phew. And so is its reporting. The online world is deluged with Fashion Week posts, previews, backstage videos and interviews, but my baby still hasn’t gotten any love. Y’know, my baby? This little/fancy/beautiful/lovely/sexy page that’s keeping you entertained and currently helping you procrastinate.
I had backstage and front of house access to fashion shows all week at RAFW, along with an entry-level camera. So, to treat your eyes I’ve compiled a handful of my favourite images from the week.

And if you still haven’t read my Fashion Week posts (shame on you), click here NOW and scroll down to Rosemount Australian Fashion Week 2011. Or just read it all.

Only photogenic cuteness

Now will you give the raised eyebrow look if I say that I hate babies/kids?
Not just dislike them – I HATE them.

They are cranky, annoying, demanding, time-taking, heavy and unpleasantly loud.

I also cannot hold a baby. There needs to be a strategic manner in which you hold the left thigh and then let the right thigh rest on top of it and then hold the bottom of the head while also supporting the back. Now I have two hands, okay? I cannot juggle a living thing in my hands.
I will drop it, fracture it, kill it.

If by now you have started judging and name-calling me – then I request you to keep reading. There’s a surprise for you.

The only thing I actually like about babies is…..photographing them. I think they are the most beautiful and innocent living thing ever created by God. Their cheeks are so big that they sag and eyes so huge that are improportionate with the face.

In the holidays, when I was in India and was playing around with my dad’s camera, I took some portraitures of babies/kids. The faces that you’ll see below allured me. They were fascinating, beautiful and exceptional. These faces had a story to tell, a charm about them, something that caught my eye. And because I don’t particularly like babies/kids, they must have been really unique to grab my attention.

Photographing babies/kids interests me the most. It brings out the personality of a person. Something that we don’t get to see whilst our interaction with them. It is a very subjective and personal aspect, only because, by focusing the lens in a certain manner, you can treat your subject anyway that you want to. I appreciate the lines of a face and freckles on a cheek more when it is in a photograph. A photograph stops any sort of distraction that might be caused in another scenario.

Before you scan through my photos, I want to direct your attention to three of my favourite photos. It is of the baby in the yellow frock with torn cheeks. She was, by far, the CUTEST BABY I have EVER seen. And I know you won’t argue with me when you see it for yourself.

Enjoy them and if you love babies/kids, give them a hug for me.

A wonder of the world indeed!

When I learnt about the “Seven wonders of the world” back in school, I was a very proud girl. The thought that one of them was only 300 km away from my city in India.
I’m talking about the magnificent Taj Mahal, located in Agra city. When people say India – they usually relate it with Slumdog Millionaire, poverty, racism, curries, big weddings, and of course no one forgets the Taj Mahal
The Taj is an amalgamation of Persian, Indian and Islamic architectural styles and is often tagged as the ‘jewel of India’. There is a sad, beautiful and a very romantic story attached with this monument. (I won’t bore you with a history lesson – this one is a short and funny version).

The story dates back to 1653 when Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was ruling the empire and the governer’s state. He had a very passionate relationship with his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, which comes out obvious from the fact that they together made 14 babies. And without a doubt, no one gave Mrs. Mahal any health or medical advices while she was busy getting pregnant for 14 years of her life. Therefore during the birth of her 14th child – she died. This tragic loss crushed Mrs. Mahal’s husband so badly that he stood over his wife’s dead body and said, “I will build a tomb in your memory. Something that the world has never seen before”. And boy, he did!

Taj Mahal’s completion took 22 years and cost over US$12 million. The aesthetic beauty of this white marble mausoleum is enhanced by its tragic story, which some call a love story. There are two bodies buried in this monument, how is that beautiful love? Doesn’t that make it a graveyard? There is apparently an aura of endless love and passion that surrounds the Taj Mahal. And it is also the recipient of about five thousand visitors – DAILY.

Now you would have noticed my tone towards the end of the last paragraph. Yes that is called sarcasm. Why, you ask?

Well it started about 4 weeks ago when my friend, Tijana and I decided to make a day trip down to the city of the Taj from New Delhi.
(Background: I was in India for 8 weeks on my holiday. Tijana decided to visit me over the break and stayed with me for 20 days. We travelled around Delhi to various other places, Agra was one of them.)

Tijana and I at 6 am - in the train

India being in the northern hemisphere, experiences killer winters during Dec-Jan. Before getting on our train, we both fell in the weather man’s trap and believed that our day in Agra would be “beautiful and sunny”. Being extremely delirious and over-dozed on caffeine, we hopped on the train at 6 am. Singing and laughing, we were scheduled to reach Agra by 8 am. That 2 hour train ride converted into 6.5 hours. Due to the train delay and bad weather, we reached Agra at 12.30 pm. Uh-oh!

The “beautiful and sunny” weather prediction spat at us and we were stuck with an extremely foggy, cold and misty weather. Armed with a cotton jumper only, Tijana and I knew that we would regret this day. The monument, that they call majestic and breathtaking, was NOT EVEN VISIBLE. (Refer to photograph)

We had a dirty tobacco-eating-red-teeth guide, whose Indian accent was so strong that I had to translate everything for Tijana. We were mobbed and being touched by weird kids on the street, who were trying to drag us into their souvenir shops.

And then, the anti-climax.

We go the news that our train that night, which would have taken us back to Delhi, was cancelled due to fog and bad weather. Now we were stuck in that dirty city with dirty people.
So we made a rather unconventional decision. We stopped sight-seeing, parked our arses into a coffee shop and drank the biggest cups of coffee.

We were not interested in any love story or tragic deaths. To hell with the “Wonder Of The World”.

We were sick of that city within 4 hours of our stay there. After our coffees, we sat in a taxi and drove back home.

I would possibly label it as the worst holiday experience i’ve had till date. It was tiring, annoying, frustrating, dirty and pointless. As for Tijana and I – we clicked a few photos here and there, made some funny video diaries and had a good laugh about it, the day after.

But my point is that if you decided to visit me in India and request me to take you to the world-famous Taj Mahal – I will sprint far far far far away from you. You won’t be able to find me. I promise.

Meanwhile, enjoy the few photos that I took that day. They aren’t masterpieces, but you can have a good laugh at them. Also, you would laugh more if you do a Google Image search of “Taj Mahal” on a NORMAL SUNNY DAY.
Happy laughing! 🙂

Turbans and Tandoor

On a weekend getaway from Delhi and being a good host to my visiting friend, Tijana, I made a trip up north to the state of Punjab. Our main agenda was to visit the holiest shrine of Sikhism – the golden temple in Amritsar. After 8 hours of a sleepy train ride and another bumpy ride through the old city’s frenetic lanes, we finally arrived at the gold-plated glittery gurudwara (place of worship of the Sikh). The six-degree weather conditions in Amritsar kicked the Queenslander spirit out of Tijana. It not only forced her to wear a gazillions layers of clothes but also left her with a SUPER runny nose. But that surely didn’t stop her from having a good time.

I had a lovely time walking around the cramped streets of Amritsar, where not a second went by without the sound of a horn. I think I even dreamt about blaring car and scooter horns that night. Every street corner was whisked with the smell of burning charcoal and piping hot milk. As the smoke raised from the tandoor, the cute white-bearded man daubed my paratha (Indian naan bread) with blobs of butter. After devouring the greasy and delish meal, the smell of hot jalebi (See Photo #6) creped up my nose and I succumbed to the sugary treat. I was told that one should leave their calorie-counting mind in Delhi when they make their way to any city in Punjab. I did and didn’t regret it even once.

In the span of 48 hours I would have witnessed all the possible shapes, sizes and colours of turbans that exist. And I kid you not, but it was a delightful sight. There is a twinkle in the eyes of these men and a hidden charm behind all that beard. It somehow looks like there is a permanent smile on that face. Below are a few shots that I took around the city and tried to capture that very essence of their culture. Some controversial portraits and some yummylicious food delights. Hope you enjoy them.

An affair to remember

Wedding season is huge in India. When the country’s wedding bells start ringing in October, they don’t stop until February. This is also when the northern hemisphere weather graces the country with chilly winds and foggy mornings. Perfect matrimony in perfect weather.

Often branded as the BIG FAT INDIAN WEDDING (much before the Greek one), I am convinced that it is grandeur. The amount of energy, enthusiasm, ideas and money needed in planning one of these is beyond imagination. A white wedding’s counterpart is an Indian wedding, which is inundated with colour. A painter’s colour pallet metamorphoses to the wardrobe of every wedding goer. There is a splash of pink, yellow, red, green, turquoise… you name it, it is there. A wedding is incomplete if the bride’s arms and feet aren’t camouflaged with henna, which is a symbol of purity. I knew irony and tradition were never best of friends.

While Elizabeth Hurley successfully hosted her royal wedding in an Indian heritage fort, Heidi Klum and Seal had a low-profile wedding (read: renow vows) on a beach.
And then there are the locals, who put the spotlight on traditional ceremonies, hospitality, ethnicity and preserving the oldest-known culture.

In the photos below (snapped by moi), the small ceremonial celebrations don’t depict even one-third of the real deal in an Indian wedding. You have to attend one to realise the extent of it all.

And if you do, I promise you’ll return with a lot more than mere memories.

You’ll be given some useless presents, all the extra flower bouquets, your arse will be home to an additional 2 kilos, and your brain will be imprinted with the lyrics of a hopeless Bollywood song.

But best of all, you’ll have a full memory card on your camera. I promise you that.