Hi, I’m Dhruvi. To introduce myself I could tell you that I’m a student on the brink of graduation or that I often write poetry in my Notes app or a million other things, but above all lies the fact that I love art in its various forms, as, I’m sure, do you. That is what has brought The Alipore Post community together, and I am so grateful to Rohini for all her love and efforts. In this newsletter, I’d like to share with you a few morsels of what has sustained and informed me during the pandemic. In these works of art, I hope you too find some solace and delight.
As we brave through these days, I have found refuge in early morning walks, Elena Ferrante’s incredible Neapolitan Quartet, and, among other things – Korean dramas. This essay by Wendy Gan, about finding comfort in Korean dramas in the wake of her father’s death, is particularly relatable as we collectively grieve a world that was once normal. In my search for ways to invite some sort of structure in these shapeless days, I have discovered this article about the French concept of mise en place. Cheesman writes that “the French phrase means “put in place” and refers to the gathering and arrangement of one’s necessities for cooking” and that establishing a similar order in her work life has led to a more mindful and intentional routine.
Art by Valentina Remenar
I’ve been thinking, of late, in a most microscopic manner, about my relationship with food. Finally home, after a few years away, the very meals that I had once frowned upon – simple, home-cooked Gujarati dishes – now bring warmth and comfort to my days. Like many others during this pandemic, I have also found immense joy in cooking. It has not been a smooth journey, I assure you – I’ve had my fair share of disasters - but the sheer joy of cooking for the people I love has now completely overwhelmed me. This incredible comic by Shing Yin Khor explores the idea of food as language, and how much one can say with it.
Reunited with my mother tongue, I have been thinking, also, of language in general. In this episode of Bartalk, Natalia Papaeva talks about her work Yokhor, in which she sings the only two lines she remembers from her favourite song in her mother tongue Buryat. I continue to be haunted by this stunning poem by M. Nourbese Philip, from her collection ‘She tries her tongue, her silence softly breaks’. I am also incredibly moved by this graphic essay by Hasanthika Sirisena, about losing her first language, Sinhala.
Art by Criss Canning
I have also fallen in love with this interview of Soléne Weinachter, dancer and choreographer, in which she says, “Dancing is really powerful, away from the mirror. Even in your kitchen, in your living room, anything can be dancing from the moment you put your consciousness into it. You basically just—you do it with intention. (...) When I started contemporary dance, my teacher was making us dance away from [the mirror]. Then you realize, it was all about my feelings within what I do, that is the key answer to dancing, and not what I look like.”
A few other things that have piqued my interest:
This comic by Emma about gender inequality with regards to household chores was an eye-opener, and has gained, I believe, all the more pertinence in these times of work-from-home
This brilliant use of erasure by Airea D Matthews, in which she “erases” the original text of the Constitution of the United States of America
These photographs by Sakshi Jajal of members of the Siddi community - an indigenous tribal group of African descent living in various parts of India
This virtual essay, written by Erin Davis and illustrated by Liana Sposto, about gendered descriptions in works of literature
One pixel wealth by Matt Korostoff – data visualization of staggering wealth inequality (fair warning: there’s loads of scrolling involved)
Medieval wine windows of Florence and Tuscany
This stunning Medusa mosaic in the ancient city of Kibyra in Turkey
This surreal song + music video by Mashrou' Leila, depicting queer love
This ghazal sung by Abida Parveen
Art by Cindy Derby
Finally, an excerpt from Eleanor Lerman’s poem ‘Starfish’:
So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.”
Please take care, stay safe, hang in there. We will get through this.