Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chandni Chowk and a Cycle-rickshaw

Whenever someone claims to have interpreted reality, the shiver that runs down my spine is akin to the one accompanying claims of having photographed a ghost. The sheer dynamicity of the ever elusive reality is, according to me, something that can only be captured in multiple dimensions. And so, when I hear that the India International Centre’s Annexe is hosting a photography exhibition by Fabio Orlanducci and that he calls it Interpretation of Reality: Chandni Chowk through a Pin Hole Camera, I respond to the exclamation marks inside my head and set out to see it. Images rush by en route, memories of class 8, Physics lectures on properties of light as they encounter a pin hole camera and faded diagrams from Satyajit Ray’s autobiography.
The first image that slowly dawns on my consciousness when I reach the venue is a cycle-rickshaw, right in the middle of the gallery, next to a heap of faintly scented yellow, orange and maroon marigold. The marigold works like a gramophone unexpectedly crackling to life with strains of the “Delhi 6” song “Genda Phool” wafting in my imagination. The photographs are mostly in black and white. People. Places. Pin-holes. Shades of black and white. And the hint of motion in blurry greys. The blur is like the sharp shooting headache that blazes through when you twirl on your toes or go ice skating. And yet, the music in the background holds your hand and gives it a gentle clasp. It relaxes you and lets you be, just as Fabio lets Chandni Chowk throb and pulsate silently beneath a veneer of calm. Chandni Chowk through Fabio’s pin hole camera is not home to Karan Johar’s Kajol. This is not where the effervescent Anjali daydreams about marrying the rich guy. There are colours. Oh yes. There’s blue and green and red. There’s the promise of a bubble. But Fabio takes a cautious step away from it. And lets Delhi be. I walk away as his laptop stealthily breaks into Schubert’s “Ave Maria”. I leave the rickshaw puller on the seat of his rickshaw. I see how he keeps coming back to the vehicle and how his world revolves around it. The rickshaw is his reality. Fabio leaves with a cigarette and a cell phone. And I leave the marigold behind.


  1. If I was Butch, I would barter my great grandfather's Gold watch for anyone who would teach me to create a pin hole camera.
    If I was Benjamin, I would have realized that physics is not just science to capture the physical Mrs. Robinson. It is sheer metaphysics that could gets me an inch closer to her contours. Wish I was Shaw....

  2. Fabio seems to have left one INTJ duly impressed.;-)