Monday, June 1, 2015

The style divide

Continuing from where I left, regaling you with my tales from the holy and sightly town of Banaras, I shot a blog post with the locals of the city. Travel is pointless if you do not come back with memories of strangers and experiences of how the unknown is not always strange. It is only befitting to sit by the Ghats, talk to the local sadhus who perform holy ceremonies and all kinds of Hindu rites there to see life from another spectrum. A city bustling with diversity in human life, everybody has a unique story to tell. I donned my comfortable white Gap India tee and swiped my red lipstick to get ready for a 'style divide' shoot with the locals. India has not always been a country that has seen too kindly over allowing FDI in the retail sector. We are lucky that as of today, the Indian Government allows for FDI in the retail sector up to 51%. While the debate still rages on about what opening up the FDI does to the Indian market and its retailers, I am of the opinion that allowing foreign players only exposes the market to healthy competition, more employment opportunities and more options for the people at large. It is not such a bad idea after all to make it a largely organised sector. Given how the Indian market has taken to foreign brands like Zara et al, it was only some time before Gap found its way here, soon to be followed by the likes of H & M and Massimo Dutti, I hear. From long before I took off on this soliloquy, I had thought about what the real street style heroes of India wore. I possibly cannot emphasise it enough but style to me will always be as style does. I spoke to four starkly diverse individuals in Banaras and took a crack at their story here. The real street style of India remains unfettered by the FDI policy and there in lies the beauty. The style divide as is highlighted by the images, shines through as I create the 360 degrees effect while my muse stays put.

This is Shanti. Clad in her polka dotted saree, I saw her at her make-shift shop set up under a tarpaulin cover of not a very large surface area. She sells trinkets, arms and amulets by the Dashashwamedha ghat of the river Ganga and has been working hard at her job for forty years now. It's no mean feat given the blazing sun and the soaring temperatures of Varanasi but she was still a sport and even smiled for us. I also told her I had her name tattooed at the nape of my neck. She smiled in response, hopefully not thinking that I was cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

Just by the way he poses you can tell that the man is a natural in front of the camera. Rajesh is a devout priest who has taken to this as his calling for five years now. We caught him right between his work and the myriad shades of saffron in the picture just speak to me as the colours of Banaras.

One of the brains behind the widely popular, 'Baba Lassi', Akash Yadav runs the place with his uncle. To claim that the lassi he hand makes each time is magical would be putting it mildly. An entrepreneurial drive that has made this joint hugely popular with international tourists makes Akash one of our street style heroes. He ensures that you scribble a message or a note for Baba Lassi on the large yellow walls which are already covered to every inch in ink by tourists from all across the world. We sat and had long chats with him over lassi.

This emerald green dhoti, amongst other things is what sets Lachhu Sahni apart from all the other boat owners and oarsmen at the ghats. He has his hands full with two fool proof business models of Banaras; a paan shop and the ownership of a boat. He was sporting enough to tether his boat to where we were so that we could shoot with him on it. The next day he also waved to us when we crossed the ghat yet again.


1 comment:

  1. Amazing post on style, the model perfectly defines style, Im a online shopper and I suggest every women who buy stuff online to try for women clothing and you can get the best shopninteen coupons at GrabOn



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