BEAUTY & THE BEAST with the Malayali in between !!

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Just like any other amateur photographer who has not yet visited Fort Kochi, it was my longstanding wish to visit that “photographer`s” haven.So on a fine morning I packed my bags and left for Kochi. I had also decided to get a glimpse of the ‘Kochi-Muziris’ biennale, even though I don’t know the first thing about contemporary art . I reached Kochi by 9 in the morning and then spent half an hour in one of those several red city buses that speeds through the streets of Kochi. The bus passed through several spots where you can literally SMELL the consequences of the recent waste management crisis.

Thus watching all those popular “kochi kazhchakal” like naval base, shipyard and the backwaters, I finally reached my destination. By 9:30 I was standing in the middle of the bustling beach road at Fort Kochi, firing away with my canon cam. There were all sorts of people from all over the world. Tourists were flocking in small groups here and
there. I could also see a large number of bangle-sellers from north India. Occasionally, I saw volunteers of the biennale hurrying past the crowd to reach different venues.Walls of several buildings were used up to sketch impressive portraits. Most of these vintage buildings were recently renovated,as a part of tourism or biennale. But one thing that stood out was the plastic and other waste materials which were either spread all over the ground or piled
up at different corners. It is certainly a black mark on the face of our society and the renowned tourism industry of our state. Somehow I ignored this as I always do and moved forward like all others.After paying a visit to St.Francis church and, the David hall which was one of the venues, I decided to take a walk along the beach area. As I was lingering on the footpath along the backwaters which leads to the beach, I could see a huge amount of
dumped garbage on the shores. It was the saddest sight of my trip. Backwaters and beaches form the face of Kerala tourism industry and here we are, destroying the same just because we don`t know where to dump the garbage. I am a native of this state and I felt terrible. Now think about a foreigner who is here to enjoy the pleasures of this
place, just imagine how bad he/she would be feeling. Standing there watching this pathetic scene, something hit me.It was an idea or more specifically an idea about  a photograph. So I took a shot of this dirty looking shore and moved on to other biennale venues. I saw a lot of installations by different artists. I enjoyed it even though I had
no idea what these works depicted. I walked all the way from fort Kochi to Mattancherry, visiting different venues and realising how badly such a popular tourist spot was maintained. On the whole, it was a great experience.

On getting back home, I followed my routine of creating an album titled “Biennale Streets” in FB. I included a particular snap which I captioned “beauty and the beast”. It was my own contemporary artwork dedicated to the “Kochi-Muziris” Biennale and to Kerala Tourism. It is not a particularly marvelous photograph, just a normal snap in my opinion. But, I decided to include it and the description of my work :

“Today Kerala is distressed by the big problem of improper waste management. On one side you have the heavenly beauty of Kerala and on the other you have garbage which is destroying this beauty.The Malayali is trapped in the middle.

But I am hopeful.Recently the Trivandrum city corporation banned the use of plastic bags in the city.Shops are replacing plastic bags with cloth bags…:) “

 

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