Saturday, December 01, 2007

Cotton Pickin'

The Fabric Of Society

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON



This photograph is more than merely my depiction of red; it is also part of my life in many ways. Why? Because it was taken a year ago, at the New Market in Calcutta, India. I grew up in Calcutta and trips to the New Market (or Sir Stuart Hogg Market, to give it its real name) were a special treat. It was the sights. It was the sounds. It was the aromas. The New Market, under one huge roof, was an unforgettable experience then - and it still is, even now.

It is also part of my life because the New Market is lovingly described in my first novel, Vegemite Vindaloo, which was on several bestseller lists and was even ranked at No.3 on one list, behind the Booker Prize Winner at No.1.

I took a variety of shots for this week's "Red" theme, but discarded them all in favour of this image, with the generous daubs of red splashed through the frame. These cotton outfits, displayed in a shop's entrance, are known as "shalwar kameez".

As a child, I must have walked past this shop hundreds of times. On this occasion, during a sudden and unexpected trip to the land of my birth, it was my turn to point out familiar sights to my three Australian-born children. And today, it is such a great privilege to share a part of my life with you, my readers.

Please tick the camera poll on the right. Thanks!

40 comments:

Catmoves said...

Thanks for sharing. Vibrant and, well, colourful.

Lee said...

Lovely picture, David. It reminds me of a quilt. Some famous ones have had a unique symbolism all their own, as does your life.

Peace!

eric1313 said...

My Grandmother from Tennessee used to make patchwork quilts much like that. We even use them, instead of saving them. On day they will be retired, because it's an art form fewer people are learning to do.

Memories of Calcutta sound wonderful. The people, the food, the clothes and goods. Must have been great.

Great luck with the new novel. Maybe one of those prizes will be yours. Send in for a Guggenheim or other fellowship, there are a lot of them. You never know!

david mcmahon said...

Hi Catmoves,

Thank you - I guess that vindicates the fact that I selected this one, rather then the many I shot for the theme!

Keep smiling

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Lee,

Thank you. You're so right - they do look like a patchwork quilt!

And you're right about the symbolism, too.

Keep smiling

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Eric,

I'd love to ee a post on your grandmother.

Yes, memories of Calcutta and India are great memories. I was very fortunate to grow up there.

Thank you for your good wishes for the new novel. Will seriously consider the fellowships. Thanks for the suggestion.

Keep smiling

David

Oswegan said...

I'll bet it was an interesting and eye opening place to grow up.

~Oswegan

david mcmahon said...

Hi Osweagn,

It sure was. I guess that explains why half of my novel Vegemite Vindaloo is set in India.

Keep smiling

David

claudie http://www.lazaza83.fr said...

Love the indians cloth with beautiful colours! I would like to travel in India! Hope one day...

Katya said...

Oh David, what vibrant and beautiful colors! How interesting you grew up in Calcutta! I imagine those reds bring back many warm memories!

Nap Warden said...

That's a really cool shot David!

Really cool that you are from Darjeeling, some great tea!

Kimberly said...

Such vivid colours!

I just got a notice to say my copy of Vegemite Vindaloo is on its way. Merry Christmas to me!

Heather said...

Those are beautiful! What an awesome experience.

Sarge Charlie said...

excellent choice

Natalie said...

Beautifully vibrant photo! I love it! Great story behind it too.

My photo hunt pictures are up now too! :)

KISSEDALOTATOADS said...

I love that they display and wear such vibrant colors. What a beautiful photo and I am glad your sons got a chance to visit the land of their father. Have a wonderful weekend.

Vic said...

Hi David,

I like the mix and match colouring, but with the predominance of red. Cool shot, and nice history to go with it.

Cheers,
Vic

ellen b. said...

Sounds like you've led a very interesting life. The photo is beautiful...

Merisi said...

Really great shot, one gets a sense of the sense of colour of a whole people by looking at it.

I was going to click the camera poll, but there's no choice for a Sony girl like me. ;-)

Merisi said...

Really great shot, one gets a sense of the sense of colour of a whole people by looking at it.

I was going to click the camera poll, but there's no choice for a Sony girl like me. ;-)

FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

Very wise decision for this theme. It is just amazing. Colors are just so lively.

Lana G! said...

Love the photo!

Lana G!
http://airmiles.wordpress.com/

genny said...

Thats interesting!

Corey~living and loving said...

Thank you for sharing so much with us David. I appreciate your warm heart.
the dots on the fabric play an interesting trick on the eye. It really looks like a texture overlay on the photo. so fascinating.

Rachel said...

The colors are so vivid and alive! Thank you for sharing!! What a wonderful experience to be able to share your memories and make new ones with your family.
It's amazing how our memories are so tied to the smells, the colors... the senses.
Once again... you rock!

Jen said...

Very interesting.....thanks for stopping by my blog.

Petra said...

Lovely photo and very interesting.

Mine is up here.

Mushy said...

The shot almost had the effect of being shot through glass with water droplets on it! It made me take a second look to see that the designs were what gave it that look.

Excellent!

Satkuru said...

that's a great take on the theme. love the vibrant colors :)

My version of Red :)

Have a great weekend ahead ;)

Secret Agent Mama said...

Stunning! I love this photograph. :D Thank you for picking it to share.

PastorMac's Ann said...

Lovely, lovely shot for "red." So much more than a mere photograph.

jmb said...

Wonderful photo and wonderful story to go with it. You never forget the land where you spent your childhood.

Nancy said...

Definitely eye candy! ;-)

imac said...

Lovely colours and intereting history, Great post David.

Dragonheart said...

Lovely photo! I like the different shades of red, and all the colours. Terrific choice for this week's Hunt. :)

My red photo.

Misty Dawn said...

I love the vibrant, beautiful colors!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Great shot and accompanying story, and thanks for sharing.

Andrée said...

It's such a lovely photo. It reminds me (in fact at first glance, I thought it was) a quilt full of memories. Fabrics play an amazing roll in our lives. Something we seldom think of.

Shashikiran said...

Hi David: I walk pat such shops all the time but I don't notice them. I should, now. Was away for a while from blogspace. Good to visit your pages upon my return!

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Beautiful. Had to look at it a while to see what it was.