IF I WERE TO USE one word to describe my decade-plus existence in the Middle East, the chosen utterance would be “ephemeral.” Within a melange of expatriates and immigrants (depending on which-world country you were from), conversations on transience, identity, and exile were never too far off the table. This held especially true when some of your closest friends came with hyphenated labels: Syrian-Lebanese, Palestinian-Syrian, Lebanese-Palestinian, and so on. For an Indian submerged in Arab notions of friendship and diplomacy, the decade was an exploration into a life of no fixed address.
Those same midnight conversations came rushing back to me in a flood when the bloodsoaked existence of Alan Kurdi washed ashore a beach in Turkey in 2015. Similarly, lifeless bodies of his mother and brother were soon by his side. I gazed into the young boy’s soul—through a mixture of fierce reportage and the sort of media coercion that almost slithers in unnoticed—so did the world. So did Raúl Zurita. Only, the preoccupations of the Chilean protest poet and artist were on the fate of Alan’s forgotten five-year-old brother, Galip.
In the coastal town of Kochi, cemented in the heart of the globally celebrated Kochi-Muziris Biennale (slated to commence with its fifth edition on November 1, 2021; kochimuzirisbiennale.org), Zurita’s grief and guilt, those twin devils of artistic instigation, manifested themselves in The Sea of Pain—dedicated to Galip’s memory. Years have passed, but the memory remains fresh. In a large warehouse infiltrated by dilapidation and a curiously mildewed smell, the thatched roof is a flimsy rejoinder to an increasingly torrential downpour. The weather, it seems, is overcome by what it has witnessed.
In constructing his installation poem, Zurita has flooded the warehouse with murky, ankle-deep seawater, compelling viewers to wade through this discomforting stretch of remorse and culpability to read the words—spelt out in individual lines on blocks of canvas-filled walls. As you embark on this architectural recreation of a refugee’s journey of desperation for an imaginary horizon, Zurita’s words scream at you: “Don’t you listen?” “Don’t you look?” “Don’t you hear me?” “Don’t you see me?” “Don’t you feel me?”
This installation’s majesty grabs you at the throat; its immensity cannot possibly have been withstood by a museum or the predictability of a traditional spatial environment. Its poignancy lies in the process: some drift through the expanse—unnerving in its placidity—in silence; some struggle against the water; a few hesitate to get their boho-chic pajamas and frilly gypsy skirts drenched. Very few come away unmoved.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
SPREAD THE CHEER
The festival season is here. That means you have an excuse to treat yourself, and the people you love, to some snazzy new toys.
Taste India's Most Expensive Tea and The Estate Life
On the fringes of Darjeeling, Kurseong introduces Adila Matra to India’s most expensive tea, the world’s first tea factory, and a mystical natural phenomenon.
A Helping Hand
The rugged landscape and kind residents of Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh make for the perfect antidote to city life. A wide range of voluntourism programs offered by a social enterprise not only make the life of locals easier but also help visitors tap into the essence of ‘the middle land’.
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Look out, Porto! With the opening of a compelling new museum complex, neighbouring Vila Nova de Gaia is luring travellers to the other side of the Douro.
In his first cover shoot since the pandemic hit, Ayushmann Khurrana soaks up the Mumbai sun at Mandira Bedi’s beautiful bungalow on Madh Island, and talks about how travel has changed him in more ways than one.
FLIGHT OF FREEDOM
Author SIDDHARTH DHANVANT SHANGHVI breaks free from pandemic shackles to soak up the sun in Switzerland.
LORD OF THE FESTIVALS
On a trip to Kannur, in North Kerala, HEMA NARAYANAN comes face to face with Theyyam, an extraordinary dance ritual that narrates legends of gods, evil spirits, and local heroes.
PARADISE AND PROSE
At a literary couple’s former home in the bucolic Mani Peninsula of Greece, ELENI N GAGE finds herself transported—and inspired.
The Big Blue
On Madeira, a lush dot of Portuguese land, the North Atlantic has shaped every aspect of life for centuries—the economy, the gastronomy, the infrastructure. Nina Caplan explores the cliff-top eyries and beachside towns of this gift from the sea. Photographs by Rodrigo Cardoso
THE IMPACT OF TRAVEL
As the Director of Sustainability at Booking.com, Marianne Gybels uses her knowledge of social sciences to effect real change. In a conversation with RASHIMA NAGPAL , she talks about some model destinations around the world and how the pandemic has affected travellers’ choices.
THE GIRL WITH THE MILION-WATT SMILE
THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING THE NADIRSHAH DIRECTORIAL EESHO OVER ITS TITLE HAS BEEN RAGING IN KERALA THE PAST FEW WEEKS, BUT ITS LEAD ACTRESS, NAMITHA PRAMOD, IS NOT BOTHERED AT ALL. BUT THEN, SHE HAS NEVER BEEN ONE TO GET STRESSED OVER CONTROVERSIES, AND KEEPS AWAY FROM THEM CONSCIOUSLY, SHE SAYS. THE PAN SOUTH ACTRESS KNOWN FOR MULTIPLE HITS IN MALAYALAM AS WELL AS TAMIL AND TELUGU FILMS LIKE NIMIR AND CHUTTALABBAI, COMPLETES 10 YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY THOUGH SHE IS ALL OF 25. NAMITHA SPEAKS ABOUT HER LOVE FOR CINEMA, DANCE, HER FOUR-LEGGED FURRY ‘SIBLING' POPO, SOCIOLOGY (YES!) AND MORE IN AN EXCLUSIVE CANDID INTERVIEW FOR PROVOKE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE
Conman who sold Moses's staff, Krishna's dahi handi
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A walking cane sold as the staff of Moses. Small earthen pots made in provincial Cherthala passed off as Lord Krishna's favourite dahi handi”. Paintings by someone in Kochi sold as Pablo Picasso's art.
INSIDE THE REAL MORNING WARS!
Crisis talks are being held at Sunrise, after Today wins the ratings for the first time in three years
SUNRISE SHAKE-UP - THE FIGHT FOR KOCHIE'S THRONE!
WITH KOCHIE STEPPING BACK, HIS REPLACEMENTS ARE PUTTING UP A CHASE
Sayyed Hamid built his FONE4 empire from scratch and is poised for greater heights
From growing up in Dubai to studying dentistry to now being the successful entrepreneur of a nationally recognised salon chain, Dr. Leena S. has come a long way
MEL IS BACK ON SUNRISE!
The former host enjoys a brekkie TV comeback just weeks after Samantha’s swift exit…
THE ROYAL DIVA OF NAILS DR. LEENA S.
Dr. Leena S. is the embodiment of the progressive Indian woman who not only has confidence but also has a lot to show for it.
THE NAIL ENTREPRENEUR
“I’d like to see at least 100 The Nail Artistry salons operational across different countries around the world.”
THE NAIL TYCOON
What better way to celebrate Woman's Day (March 08) than listening to an exceptional woman entrepreneur who has made her mark. Dr Leena S., the brain behind the super-luxury nail salon ‘The Nail Artistry’ in Kochi, has such an inspiring story.