Style ….or the lack of it

Some of my readers know that among other design related jobs I’ve tried my luck as fashion designer, so far with quite gratifying results. I have a keen eye for how and what people choose to wear because beyond textiles, patterns, textures and colours, this is the most valuable material I work with. I design stuff people would love to put on and gladly put out when well accompanied.

Clothing is the expression of the intimate self; it’s a language that tells a whole story and this narrative changes with every choice we make. But not all garments are fashion, for them to be considered as such the individual that design and/or wear them must have style, and such a trait is of utter peculiar nature and certainly not a given thing. Either you’re born with it or you work really hard during many years to educate your taste, developing and polishing it.

Regardless of where the style sense may come from, one thing is sure: when our reason for dressing becomes less about that curating process of carefully editing and selecting the best possible look for the day and more about feeling validated, then true style is null and void.

A few days ago I couldn’t help but feel sorry, second-hand embarrassed for Mr Trump’s current wife. So much money, so many resources available and there was not one person who had faced the tiger and dared to say that the impact of an attire depends on the canvas, on how one’s unique personality highlights from a given background in an effortless, unforgettable and appropriate manner. Environment over formulae people.

Nothing against the flawless Ralph Laurent’s two-pieces cashmere ensemble Melania wore for the US presidential inauguration ceremony, but it was totally out of place. This was Washington DC for heaven’s sake not a noble wedding in Newbury. Her outfit made evident how narcissistic and blindsided this new regime can be. It so reminded me Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

Mrs Trump’s stylists should’ve known better, they should’ve counted on Michelle’s beautiful open arms. It was a no brainer guys, that guess wouldn’t have been so far fetched, would it? But the new US administration wanted to convey a precise message in powder blue leather gloves. Jackie Kennedy? C’mon, really? JK was not a lingerie model, she was a natural, an icon with brains that not only oozed style but redefined the concept.

The whole mise en place can only be described as an unfortunate mixture of faux pas, as genuine and legitimate as the jewels in the crown of the new emperor.

She dressed up 60s; Mad Man behaving 50s.trump-casa-blanca-kzxd-620x349abc

The Camel, the King of Rajasthan

16111155_1218544484889908_542674728_nRajasthan is known for its mix of cultures, temples, forts, palaces, food and folk traditions, but personally, it has always fascinated me because of the quality of sun and the colours. There are always new and exciting nuances waiting to be discovered at every corner; a journey through this northern region of India is a vivid psychedelic treat for the senses. Rajasthan is a microcosm of all things that define my beloved India.

There are two things one cannot overpass in Rajasthan and around the sandy Thar Desert: moustaches and camels. One day I will tell you the story of clueless me in the middle of the night dealing alone with a dead car, and a crazy driver on a dusty road somewhere between Jaipur and Delhi and how I was saved by two camels and three most kind and hairy men wearing what it seemed to be a jungle in their faces. Facial hair is considered a symbol of virility and Rajput pride, the moustache especially.

16111710_1218547298222960_605136019_nCamels in India are actually single-humped dromedaries. It’s not easy to ride them, let alone get along with them. I wonder how on earth Bikaners manage to control such phlegmatic and obstinate animals and put them to dance, because that’s exactly what happens every January in the small village of Ladera, which becomes the venue of the two-day and night Bikaner Camel Festival. The smelly dromedaries dance swaying their necks and tapping their feet to the beat of traditional Rajasthani music, which I tell you, as mesmerizing and simple as it may sound, it is extremely complicated.

16111751_1218547771556246_1733059148_nCamels and owners alike dressed in their finest designer jewellery and accessories, kick-off the celebrations with a regal march. This is a spectacular sight as the camels parade past spectators to the open sands with the Royal Junagarh Fort in the background. Colourful bridles, bejewelled necks, jingling anklets and long, lanky camel shadows on the dusky sand casts a magical atmosphere over the city. The festival also holds numerous sports and cultural activities, but the camel race is maybe the essence of it. Hundreds of camels are corralled to the starting line, and with an explosive gunshot launches a growing swell of dust that follows the camels to the finish line. The camel milking competition is another very popular game among the locals. For foreigners like me, who abhor milk of all sorts, this is pure nightmare. In the evening though, the jubilant skirt swirling and awe-inspiring fire gypsy dances and folk songs fully compensate for the daylight milky horror.

However, the formerly known Princely State of Bikaner has a lot to offer besides camels. It also has impressive architecture treasures, e.g. the Lalgarh Palace, which was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh. The Palace is an example of hybrid architecture combining Mughal, Rajput and European styles. The exterior of the Palace is very Rajput style, while the interiors of the Palace are distinctly oriental. One can also see the Usta art here in which miniature paintings and gold embossing is done on camel hide.

I am now sharing with you some pics my Rajasthani friends sent me last weekend. I wish I could’ve been there with you folks, but this time my travel plans had to be postponed up until May 2017. Enjoy!!!!

Salut tout le monde!!!

incienso

Yes, I know my Hindi is still horrible and hasn’t improved. How would it have been different, if I keep on missing classes? awful me. But here it is, a simple, but sincere salutation for you, my dear friends in India. I love you all.

नववर्ष 2017 की हार्दिक शुभकामनाये… ll

ईश्वर से यही कामना है कि आने वाला प्रत्येक नया दिन आपके जीवन में अनेकानेक सफलताएँ एवं अपार खुशियाँ लेकर आए ll

इस अवसर पर ईश्वर से यही प्रार्थना है कि वह वैभव, ऐश्वर्य, उन्नति, प्रगति, आदर्श, स्वास्थ्य, प्रसिद्धि और समृद्धि के साथ साथ आजीवन आपको जीवन पथ पर गतिमान रखे ll

2017

The New Year is a powerful time in our lives, a moment of reflection and renewal. But I’ve noticed that regrets often stir within this span between what we think of as the old and the new. We may get more aware of our stubborn habits and shortcomings, our losses and the never-ending ache of unfulfillment. Yet, this recognition is a rare blessing, and one to be used.

Recognition is all we need to make a change. It only takes a moment to transform our lives. A moment of undefiled, nonjudgmental awareness and everything everywhere is new again. And so I seize the occasion to wish you all TIME. I wish you less of what you can live without and more of what you’ve always wanted.

Less anger. Less greed, and more open-mindedness. Less judgment, doubt and cynicism, and less of the pain and confusion they create. Less hurry. More of the compassionate LOVE that can only arise in the absence of fear.

Only you can make it so, but I will wish it just the same, YOUR BEST NEW YEAR.

2017 New Year’s Message

Future never seemed more uncertain to many of us; yet we, different people of the world, have confidence in humankind, in goodness over time. My 2017 New Year’s message is actually a plea:

Let’s stay together assuming a serene, and responsible attitude. BROTHERHOOD.

Play the long game. Get up, and sweep the garden over and over again; good times, bad times, regardless. ENDURANCE.

Practice tolerance not as an act of condescension, but the kind of tolerance that leads to APPRECIATION, which means seeing the other as one’s equal.

Foster diversity as an extension of the principle of appreciation in that it signifies the achievement of EQUALITY of opportunity for social, cultural, ethnic religious or other groups that would otherwise be subject to discrimination.

Speak up, let the voices of moderation and RECONCILIATION overpower the narrative of hatred and mistrust.

May 2017 be a blessed year to each and everyone of you. May Health and Love lead to true Prosperity.

 

the-bells-xmas-03

Through Love’s Great Power

vikrams-poem

prev6On March 20, 2014, The New York Review of Books published this poem with the article “India: You’re Criminal if Gay,”. The article was written by the poet’s mother, retired High Court Chief Justice Leila Seth. The trigger was the Indian Supreme Court’s killjoy re-instatement of a colonial anti-sodomy law that had been revoked in 2009. Vikram calls this “to undo justice.” His mother affirmed her love for her bisexual son and wrote: “The Supreme Court judgment means that he would have to be celibate for the rest of his life or else leave the country where he was born, to which he belongs, and which he loves more than any other.” Thus Seth divides his time between Delhi and a home in England that belonged to Metaphysical poet George Herbert, whose 17th century language echoes in this poem.

I kindly ask my readers go please read the full article http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2014/03/20/india-youre-criminal-if-gay/

Sorrow

tinalicht4The moment I saw her standing there surrounded by the usual coryphées I knew this wouldn’t be fun. My haughty biological mother in all her splendour wearing gloves in black; of course, this was after all the terminal patient’s wing. She paid a social visit and left hastily not without first having footed the bill. I spent the night at the hospital taking care of her eldest sister, the lonely, gay, unmarried woman who brought me up.

Uncertain prognosis; that’s no good news. I closed my eyes,

The night is darkening round me; the wild winds coldly blow.  But a tyrant spell has bound me, and I cannot, cannot go.”

Emily Brontë’s poem made for the occasion. I walked out of the room craving for fresh air; as I approached the exit door of the hospital I perceived the strumming of a guitar, it was a security guard playing Stairway to Heaven. I bursted into tears, that stupid song hurt me from the bottom of my stomach all the way up to my heart; it was actually agony. A nurse thankfully dragged me away from there, right to the garden where I finally collapsed, a million pieces of me on the lawn.

She was my North, my South, my East and West. My working week and my Sunday rest. My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun. Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good.”

My aunt and true mother, we’ve been through so much together. How fortunate I’ve been having you as a model. How good was life with you. How hard we laughed that day when you categorically and in perfect French enlightened the director of the school where I was supposedly misbehaving: “My niece is entitled to express herself; there’s no fault in it. Period.”

Be sure that when the time comes I won’t be praying for your soul, it’s already blessed. I am now instead promising I will always stand by you; I will forever fight for the right of people to be different. We both believe that gay rights are a liberty interest and they include the right to do: the right of gay people to live as they choose, to express affection, to be who they are in public unmolested by harassment, and to marry and to inherit property. And that will be my life-long hommage de reconnaissance to you, my dearest proudly different Mom.

Sweet

Someone made my day today. Gratifying to find a long, intelligent and seemingly genuine message in response to my most recent entry. I don’t know what to say; but thanks, whoever you are.

I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.”

-John Green, Looking for Alaska

Memories

A few months ago I was asked what my biggest fear was. I answered without hesitation, losing my memory. The shrink made such a face I still laugh about it. He must have been utterly intrigued by my response since he knew many of my recollections; especially the most recent ones were hell. Yeah, I’ve stared the Devil right in the face, but you know what? I did exactly as Stagger Lee,

Then in came the Devil, he had a pitchfork in his hand. Said, ‘Stagger Lee, I’ve come to take you down’ Well, those were the last words that the Devil said because Stag put four holes in his motherfucking head.

The problem with shrinks is that they all are cut from the same cloth; stereotypically oriented by nature, too commonplace, too normal, too DO (Direct Officer) and I truly dislike being controlled by functional imbeciles. But I went there just to please a concerned someone who thought I needed to talk to a professional in order for me to come to my senses and put some order in my love life. Yeah, right.

Order? OK, but I really don’t know how much professionals of all sorts can do for me. While in India, a former friend of mine took me to a woman who supposedly read past lives. She lived far, far, far away from downtown Mumbai so my old Canon had no rest during that precious 3 hours-ride and that was the most amazing part of it because the moment I entered the session I blacked out, so much that by the end of it the sorcerer had serious troubles waking me up from a profound sleep. My Hindi is very modest; she did not speak any other language known to me, so I’m still wondering if bad karmas were removed from my current soul or are they still lingering over it. I must assume the latter is true because my love life can only be described as a fucking mess in all languages known.

Back to the story, the only thing I could think of during the way back home was how easily, how confidently I lied down on a completely stranger’s bed and comfortably slept there for hours. No worries whatsoever even though the sorcerer had previously, in a casual manner remarked that she shared her bed at night with two other young women who worked for her. Oo-key, other cultures, other costumes, I thought, not my business. You see, this is again my daredevil 7K (Seven Killings) Structure in action.

blog-memoriesAnyway, what I wanted to say is that memories as painful as they could get, are life. And by that I mean, they do not represent it, they ARE life. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing. I know that for sure since I joined for a while my former mother-in-law’s trip into a deep hole of darkness called Alzheimer. You really don’t know what emptiness means until you look into the eyes of such a patient. This shit is scarier than staring at the Devil himself; and I certainly know what I’m talking about because as previously mentioned folks, I well know that one face too.

I recall stupid me asking her gdmnd-no-idea shrink “Is it possible that she had really been de-souled by the disease?” And off he went with some kind of scientific explanation I obviously overheard. But his prolonged monologue gave me the chance to go into myself and ask again, and see, and get my answer. She was totally corroded by the disease because she had no connection to any divine force included the one within herself. She and her whole aristocratic family considered themselves high-levelled intellectuals and always denied the existence of God; which is a respectable position since no one has ever proved the contrary. But it was the lack of spirituality, which doomed her. I am certain of it; had she practiced at least one form of it, that alone could have saved the little rest of life and dignity that remained after losing almost all cognitive neuronal functions.

Spirituality and Brains and Life, that’s a subject I’ll take up later, enough for now.

Photo by Himanshu Singh Gurjar.