I realize that CSM staff photographer Andy Nelson was trying to make the outdoor laundries of New Delhi romantic and palatable to a highbrow, upper-crust Western audience. I do.
And when the Monitor hits the stands tomorrow, complete with the colorful photographic spread of hard-working countrymen like Harichand Kanojiya…
…I’m sure there’s part of me that will feel thrilled that these manual laborers who comprise such an essential vertebrae in India’s backbone got their due by way of a clever title and a thoughtful profile in a National Geographic kind of way.
…comparing the multi-million dollar, personally financed, wholly decorative essentially useless Gates of Central Park yesteryear to the you’ll-make-10-cents-per-sheet-provided-you-don’t-mind-spending-a-lifetime-in-the-merciless-sun-of-the-third-world-beating-cotton-against-concrete dhobi ghats seemed…a little bit like comparing a bite of spoon-fed crÃ¨me brulÃ©e made with heavy cream and fresh berries by Martha Stewart to rice porridge you made yourself over a fire in the woods without matches.
That’s the longest simile I ever saw.
Okay people. Work with me here for a moment. Compare picture number 2 found here in the article above (make sure to click on picture 2 because the default is 1)…with this archetypal picture found here.
but SO fabulous.
and now I’d like some creme brulee. Thanks for nothing, barmaid 😉
Abhi, I want to use the word “genius,” but my conscience won’t permit me.
Simile Inspector: I come to play.
The problem with the simile is this: the porridge would still taste good, possibly even better because of the hard work involved in making it. Washing sheets from age 6 onwards might not taste as sweet (usual disclaimer applies: haven’t done it, am just speculating from my posh wi-fi PC, etc.).
I didn’t say the porridge wouldn’t taste good. Just not the same.
I still don’t get what the point of the article is. It’s like putting a Hallmark card around poverty and child labor. I feel like we’re getting scammed.
Well, that HAS to be a contender for the Second Annual Manish Vij Memorial Egregious Exoticism Awards. Especially since I don’t even like it as a simile.
you see what you see. I see
and I rejoice.
… three cheers for the funny girl btw.
No one is denying the beauty of that sentiment or the dignity or goodness of the subject of this CSM piece; the issue at hand is just how douche-y CSM is being with their tone, approach, etc.
I always go hmmmmm… when i hears SMers rushing to criticise an article like the one on CSM. There is a lot of interesting, useful information for a foreigner in there. For may of us who grew up in India, it is a welcome change to see India being exposed to the world – the good and the bad and the ugly. And the defenses mounted in these posts come off a little church lady like. Well intended but not necessarily well aimed. After a while it gets to be a tired exercise in policing what others say about India.
What would be so much more interesting is to write about ourselves as Indians. Something more personal. Something so strong it DISPLACES the articles that we believe patronize Our Bharat.
I still remember one of the best blog articles I have read is Amardeep’s ode to his grandfather. It captured something special.
Especially because it doesn’t even adjust for purchasing power:
It’s the usual Orientalist crap. How many times have you read, “They live on less than a dollar a day…” 90 rupees is enough for 9 meals at a dhaba, 15 train rides from the ‘burbs to downtown Bombay, 3.5 movie tickets, 9 bottles of spring water…
If you thought this was bad, check out the Economist cover of June 3.
feel your pain, barmaid.
when will the national geographic-ness and orientalism end?
What? Is he but a memory?
But more to the point, I do find these photographs haunting and exploitative at the same time.
…And creme brulee shows up in Mandarin/Japanese characters on my PC. Unless, ofcourse, it is an exotic Sino-French dessert of some sort.