You can’t fully appreciate the meaning of the word surreal until you have fed yourself with almost chimerical sights of a richly layered sky against a picturesque city, suffused by the luminous glow of the sunset hour. Standing on the terrace of a legendary institution, the Rajasthan School Of Arts, this claim seems corollary with the fiery sun undulating its hues on a city I deeply cherish- in its varying states of prettiness and disarray.
We’ve heard, written and spoken plenty about ‘New Year New Me’ . In theory, it’s more like New Year, Old Me repeating the same old mistakes.
Kerala Tourism Receives HolidayIQ Better Holiday Award for “India’s favorite Waterfront Destination”
Just last month I trailed my way towards a location no less dramatic and extravagant than Jaipur.
Jaipur– a city that a lot of people associate with women who cower to the trope of patriarchal wish-fulfillment, creates interesting and layered narratives. It is the cultural miscellany with influences that are simultaneously global and local, that draws me towards this city. For me, it represents a city which underlines the attempt made by a woman who steadily tries to enforce her agency in a corseted society. I met a lot of powerful women with a relentless heart, the real backbone behind this ‘heritage’ site.Women artisans keep the traditional crafts alive, lending the bazaars a wide array of colours that is not just limited to pink, and that is the sort rainbow umbrella you want to be under. Gota Patti, Bandhani, Laheriya, Block-printing, Kinari, Tarkashi, Meenakari…and the list goes on and on. During this visit, I picked up one product with each of these traditional techniques just to keep in my bedroom and contantly keep inspiring myself.
Jaipur hence, is not just a single colour. It is every single colour in the spectrum. Albeit a relatively undercooked broth of female talent.
I tried to bring about this very ethos through the lens of Prachi Sharma, the photographer behind Third Dimension Photography, who represents that very strong Jaipur woman that I was talking about. With her, I learnt that Jaipur is also about Samrat ke kachori aur kadak chai and Tapri’s red sauce pasta and Redbull ice-tea.
Prachi is also one of the warmest and one of the most genuine people I’ve met in a hundred cheeseburger years. She is so passionate about her city which is very evident when she’s guiding you through the hidden treasures of Jaipur that makes it so rich and authentic.
The rationale behind the concept was very simple- A tribal banjara hand-made skirt to represent the multi-hued women of Jaipur, a crisp white shirt to represent the austere men of Jaipur contrasted with a sort of nonchalant attitude that only an urban outsider can permeate- punctuated with negligent hair, a messy smokey eye and a pair of pumps. It is what I felt in Jaipur- an outsider trying to explore in-depth a city that has long intrigued me.
We shot in and around the iconic Hawa Mahal, and the streets of Johari bazaar.
P.S. I purchased the skirt and jewellery from a tribal community a few years ago when I was on an exploration trip in a remote village of North Karnataka. I paid INR 5000 for it, and it is one the most cherished pieces in my wardrobe. I have dedicated an entire section for it.
It’s a pity that I stayed in this city for not more than a day and a half, but I learnt and got inspired a lot more. I hope you enjoyed this series, it’s something Prachi and I have been very passionate about. If you haven’t visited Jaipur yet, you’re definitely doing something wrong.