Women in saris and ghagras, many wearing ornate jewellery, some with sad eyes, some smiling at the camera, some with family members, others caught unawares — the many faces of women in the 19th and early 20th century.
Subjects and Spaces, an exhibition presented by Vacheron Constantin in association with Tasveer Foundation at The Seagull Foundation for the Arts, had on display 69 black-and-white photographs of nautch girls to homemakers, each with a story of her own. Some were shot in rural backdrops, some in the bathing ghats of Varanasi and yet more in private studios.
A striking shot was that of a woman (picture above) in traditional attire riding a cycle. The shot was taken in a studio, her smile proof enough that she enjoyed her few minutes of freedom. A room reserved for filmstars of yore included a sensuous picture of a woman with bare shoulders, makeup, flowing hair and a sari draped round her. A more dramatic one showed a woman getting ready with the help of three maids, a life-size mirror behind them.
In the flurry of exit polls, one place no one bothered to look up is the good old almanac. Gupta Press panjika predicts the rise of BJP, thanks to “Jupiter being in the sixth place of Capricorn”. Congress, it says, would be in dire straits but Rahul Gandhi’s own time will be good (he did win Amethi and kept his post in the party, too). Narendra Modi, according to the panjika with an introduction dated January, faces a good time politically but has to contend infighting. The number of Lok Sabha seats predicted for Mamata Banerjee’s party is 32-33, just one off the mark. The one prediction that went awry is that Mamata would support the Centre. When it comes to the puzzle called Indian politics, even the planets find it hard to crack all the clues.
Chandreyee Ghose & Sudeshna Banerjee