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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Sunday Long Reads: Why ripped jeans divides fashionistas and politicians alike? Why everybody loves jeans, and more

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By: Lifestyle Desk |
April 18, 2021 10:48:55 am
When styled correctly, destroyed denims can be cool. It’s a happy compromise between dressing fancy and dressing down.

What is it about ripped jeans that divides fashionistas and politicians alike?

On one of Delhi Gymkhana Club’s famed Thursday nights, I was unceremoniously evicted for wearing what were, in my opinion, charmingly frayed jeans. The buzzing dining area has hawk-eyed senior members permanently perched at the bar, waiting to pounce on people who flout their rules. The Gymkhana, like all institutions that trade on exclusivity, takes pride in being the last bastion of old-world tradition. Right or wrong, it functions on the premise that the public lacks a sense of decorum. Hence, they must be saved from themselves by a dress code. In my defence, I was clueless that my slightly-torn denims might merit an eviction. I also can’t help contrast my hasty retreat that night with a very different evening in Tokyo, when I was denied entry into a club because my clothes weren’t risqué enough.


How Sthalpuran gives the child and his world a rare primacy

Seeing beyond: Childhood can be full of pain and pleasure.

Seeing the world through the eyes of a child can yield to some of the most sublime moments in cinema. The wonder, the bursting-with-excitement expression on a child’s face, is priceless. We may have seen that particular object so often that it’s become part of the scenery. A child’s gaze makes it fresh. Creates it anew. Gives us a new way of looking.

Remember the scene which has Apu and Durga in Satyajit Ray’s classic Pather Panchali (1955) looking at a train for the very first time? That’s my go-to reference when I think of a filmmaker using a child to map an emotion, a feeling, without using words. The framing of the children, as they add a sight to their visual vocabulary, is done in the most lifelike manner. And, we
receive it as it is meant, a commentary on the children, and their lives.


When we ignore the brain

Millions around the world are afflicted by brain-related ailments, yet these problems are mostly kept hidden (Courtesy: Suvir Saran)

A post-concussion brain is uncharted mayhem, like what one sees in amateur horror films. Things go badly, nothing is scripted and, worse, there is no order to events, no prescription that can replace chaos with structure and turn bad outcomes into good ones. An otherwise able body is condemned to a life of cognitive isolation and bewilderment.

Sudden falls from orthostatic hypotension in 2018 and 2019 led to paroxysms, the effects of which I feel to this day. Syncopes that rendered me useless, as I had known myself and others had grown to know me. Each fall left my brain injured further, each injury furthering debilitation. I lost more and more of my everyday functioning, until I was left unable to fend and care for myself.


Why everybody loves jeans

Photo credit: Getty Images

Till 2015, says Veena Soni, she had never worn jeans, “not even before my marriage”. But that year, when she visited her daughter in Australia, she nervously tried on her first pair. “I was immediately comfortable and it was so easy to carry! The hassle of getting a matching blouse, petticoat, sandals, bindi, that came with a sari, was not there. I was ready in two minutes,” says the 58-year-old Jaipur-based homemaker, with a laugh, admitting that the presence of her “damaad (son-in-law)” did make her feel awkward initially, “but it was only for a few minutes. All my inhibitions were soon gone.”


How dhamma influenced the dome and design of the Rashtrapati Bhavan

The Rashtrapati Bhavan’s tryst with Buddhism did not start and end with the dome.

On April 14, the nation celebrated the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar. There is a tradition in the Rashtrapati Bhavan where the President offers floral tributes to a photograph of Ambedkar placed in the Durbar Hall on this occasion. As we gather under the majestic dome, one cannot help but notice the coincidences and connections across the fabric of time.
Ambedkar had long deliberated on leaving the Hindu fold. In 1956, while working on his treatise The Buddha and his Dhamma, which would soon form the basis for Navayana Buddhism, he took the step of converting to Buddhism. He chose October 14, since this was the date that emperor Ashoka supposedly converted to Buddhism, sometime around 265 BC. However, Ambedkar’s life as a Buddhist was short-lived as he died soon after, on December 6, 1956, owing to complications from diabetes.


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