A couple of weeks ago I was introduced to a journalist who works for the Mumbai Mirror. She asked if she could interview me about what I do in my weekends, and I, perhaps foolishly, agreed. Here’s the article that came out in this weekend’s newspaper.
NB Despite it being written in the first person, I didn’t actually write this about myself. It went to print before I heard it was being written by ‘me’, and so the readers of the Mumbai Mirror (700,000 to be exact) now think that I use phrases such as ‘when the weather gets a tad pleasant’ and ‘gallery hopping’.
I now fully plan to start using these phrases.
It has certainly been a while. Apologies for the long delay. Have had a few emails from people asking if I’m still alive and kicking, and why no more blog posts, but to tell the truth, Bombay life has just got a hold of me; it’s been pretty manic.
I’m currently working at Vogue India. A month in, and I absolutely love it. The November issue came out during my first week here, so here’s some totty for you all, Sonam Kapoor on the cover.
I’ve also had my first piece published, and am now heading up Vogue’s online arts blog, so hopefully more of that to come. Pretty shameless, but here’s the link http://www.vogue.in/content/fashion-face .I’ve also recently been involved in a shoot for GQ with a Bollywood actor. Can’t really disclose any more than that, but it will be out at some point early next year, so you can all have a laugh at my expense. Totally out of my depth, but was pretty amusing, and I got to wear some cool outfits.
Aside from that, Bombay life is great. I say that; I have had some awful days. Yesterday being a good example. I had to head to hospital (for a minor injury) in the back of a taxi infested with fleas. Everything was fine, but I arrived at Breach Candy hospital distinctly unamused, covered in bites and panicking about contracting the Black Death.
The Black Death
Last weekend I headed down to Goa with some friends. Great to get out of the smog of Bombay (I read yesterday that living here has a similar effect on your lungs as smoking four packets of cigarettes a day), and just lie on a beach. We took an overnight bus, along with a family of cockroaches, and arrived the next morning in the heady tropical landscape of Goa.
Ashwem Beach, Goa
I suppose in England things must be feeling very festive. I have commandeered a palm tree to do the honours this year, and it has been decorated with an assortment of bangles and ribbons from my travels.
My Christmas Palm
It looks pretty odd, but then I suppose Christmas this year may be quite an odd one. It certainly isn’t going to be a white one.Candles, cricket and ‘candids’
It’s now been a week since I moved down to Bombay. And in that time, Gaddafi has been savagely disposed of, the Duchess of Cambridge’ s hair extensions have been (falsely) exposed, and the girls from TOWIE have been involved in a rumpus. Who knew the Daily Mail would provide me with such a convenient link back to the ‘real’ world.
Out here in India, we have just celebrated Diwali. Across the city, strings and strings of fairy lights were hung out, and tiny terracotta candleholders were scattered about. The main night of the festival is the 26th October, and in the spirit of having a multi-faith year, a group of us held a Diwali party. Sparklers were lit and fireworks were set off, rather precariously, from our balcony. All around the city, enormous firecrackers lit up the inky blue sky.
A campaign has been running throughout Diwali by the Times of India, urging Bombayites to enjoy a peaceful Diwali, with minimal amounts of explosions. Clearly this campaign has failed. The background noise for the last week has been a cacophony of eruptions.
The weekend was a sporting one. Tickets had been sorted for the cricket on Sunday. Rather unfortunately this clashed with the rugby. So I spent the day receiving live updates from back home about the rugby, whilst trying to remember the little I used to know about cricket.
An interesting exhibition also caught my eye on Mumbai Boss, my new personal organizer. ‘Exchanging Glances’, at Chatterjee & Lal, deals with the growing problem of the male voyeur in India. Surreptitious photos, or ‘candids’ are constantly being taken on camera phones (I had one taken of me today, in the supermarket, whilst buying chicken stock and spinach), and then uploaded onto forums.
The three artists involved in the show have addressed this in their art, by subverting these images, and creating a portraiture exhibition using the photos taken directly from the forums.
A bold show, it did a good job of addressing what is undoubtedly a rather sinister aspect of Indian culture. The relevant websites are below if you fancy a look. Probably best to avoid the actual ‘candid forums’ though.A Place in the Sun
I’ve just returned from a couple of days in Goa. I decided to go sans laptop/sans internet, so please excuse the radio silence.
I was lucky enough to be invited to stay on board a beautiful boat, with a rather interesting history. Built in 1906, Kalizma’s most famous owners were Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The name stems from Burton’s three daughters - Kate, Liza and Maria. Legend has it that the Taylor-Burton diamond was presented on board.
So with Kalizma acting as my base, the days were filled with trips up the river to spot crocodiles (the crew were confused by how much I wanted to see the prehistoric creatures), Goan fish curry and lots of Kingfisher beer. Not entirely sure if this is how the famous couple put the boat to use.
I’m now back in Jaipur, and just getting ready for my move down to Mumbai. I’m reading Shantaram at the moment, so my head is being filled with stories of the slum mafia and sieges in the famous Leopold Cafe. The crew, who mostly stemmed from Mumbai, warned me not to believe everything Gregory David Roberts writes.
Think I’m picking up a bit of Marathi though. Only time will tell how useful it will be.
A break from the hustle and bustle of Jaipur was needed. Heading out into the surrounding countryside, I came across this wonderful old temple.
After a long walk up to the top, I expected to find solitude, give or take a few monkeys. How wrong I was. Instead, I came across a lovely man, who lived a hermitic lifestyle in the temple.
The language barrier didn’t seem to matter. He welcomed me into his home, showed me around, and gave me a blessing. He also insisted I take a photo of him, so here he is…LV put their stamp on Jaipur
Photographed by Carter Smith, Louis Vuitton have chosen Jaipur as the backdrop for their travel collection ‘L’âme du Voyage’.
The Jal Mahal water palace is one of the key architectural features they have focused on. Due to open in 2012, it has been completely restored from its ruined condition. A unique project, it combines a focus on pre-Mughal architecture, with a modern renovation.
This afternoon I met the couple who spearheaded the creative design for Jal Mahal. Tomorrow I’m going to head across the lake to have a look at it. Unlikely, though, that my boat will be filled with monogrammed trunks.