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October 31, 2011

kalkaji temple


god standard time. it's rush hour at kalka mandir in delhi's east of kailash area. dedicated to goddess kali, it is one of the oldest kali temples in india. the archaeological survey of india mentions 1764 as the year of the temple's construction. some centuries later, it is difficult to locate the exact physical shape of the temple, as houses and shops have mushroomed within the vaguely demarcated compound. delhi police signboards are everywhere, warning visitors against pickpockets, petty thieves and people who offer sweets and fruits laced with chemicals.



despite the efforts of the temple's helping hands to keep people in queue, it has become a regular thing for the crowd to try to squeeze through the narrow barricade to reach the room where the idol of goddess kali is kept.


devotees have no choice but to notice a lawyer's dilapidated signboard that may have netted a few clients in the recent past. it is said people who are facing a difficult situation in their lives come to seek goddess kali's blessings, for she is the god of war. most military camps have a shrine dedicated to goddess kali. and where else could a lawyer fetch more troubled clients than here?



the debris of local election campaigns.












the bottom portion of this structure is what's left of the original temple built in 1734.


more advertisements.




kalka mandir, mahant niwas, shiv mandir parisar, kalkaji, new delhi — 110019

October 23, 2011

scindia pottery colony


the price of paraffin wax has a direct bearing on happiness.

traders at scindia pottery colony in delhi's sarojini nagar area say they are not getting enough number of customers to cover the cost of setting up the market this diwali season. a kilogram of paraffin wax costs rs 100, as against rs 40 in the same period last year. artisans need a lot of wax to make diyas and that is where they are feeling the pinch — and passing it on to buyers.

but some traders see no issues. "it's too early to predict sales. wait for two more days and see how people throng here," says tribhawan pati, who gets his wares from gujarat. but he is a lucky fellow. he has enough savings, he says, to keep him going for about a year until next diwali if he is unable to sell anything this year.

the potters' market has been around for 73 years. two types of families live, work and sell on this stretch: one is the wholeseller, who lives in a nearby slum and stores the goods at home, and the other is the migrant seller, who comes from outside delhi only during diwali.

it is said the previous two generations who lived here were highly talented artisans from lucknow, calcutta, agra and parts of gujarat, and they were given this place by rajmata vijayaraje scindia. there used to be a pottery mill called gwalior pottery here, which eventually shut down. nowhere else to go, the artisans set up this market along their houses.






ashwini's job is to apply colours to clay items that arrive from the kilns. "i am a painter. other people make idols and diyas, and i put colours to make them look good. otherwise nobody will buy dull clay items," says ashwini.









the sidewalk is the storefront.

October 18, 2011

delhi photo festival, 2011


photographer prabuddha dasgupta interacts with the audience in the delhi photo festival, 2011, at india habitat centre, new delhi. excerpts from his talk:

when an author writes a love story, it comes from within. but once it gets out there, if it does not transcend to mean something for the reader then it can be pointless... i think writers have it easy. they make their point and stay firm. but photographers have to face constant questions from viewers about the meaning of their work. you may shoot something and move on without giving much thought, and one day a viewer may say, "i like what you are trying to tell with that photo." or somebody may ask, "why is that object not on the left instead of right?" i don't know. it is in my head. that is all i care about.


the organisers assumed that the photo festival, being a niche topic, would attract only a handful 'interested' people, and had chosen a conference venue with a seating capacity of 80 heads. but at least 200 people turned up, plunging the 'artist talk' hour into chaos. but this assembly of a motley bunch of professionals and amateurs hummed along quite nicely, with some of them squatting on the floor and throwing questions.









delhi photo festival, october 15-28, 2011. venue: india habitat centre, lodhi road, new delhi.

postscript: journey basket regrets to inform that prabuddha dasgupta passed away on august 12, 2012 following a heart attack. he was 56 years old.

October 15, 2011

how much should a person consume?
















how much?

if we are concerned about our great appetite for materials, it is plausible to seek to increase the supply, or decrease waste, to make better use of the stocks that are available, and to develop substitutes. but what of the appetite itself? surely this is the ultimate source of the problem. if it continues its geometric course, will it not one day have to be restrained? yet in the literature of the resource problem this is the forbidden question. over it hangs a nearly total silence... — john kenneth galbraiththe affluent society, 1958

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