Sunday, June 3, 2012

Space to be Silly

As a rule, this blog is more tell, less show. But habit can constrain, and conscious of this, I am going to go against the grain to share an utterly delightful image. Part of a Vanity Fair album that celebrates the glory days of Cannes, this picture of three women sunning themselves, smoking, and getting their hair done - all at once - made me smile. As if that weren't enough, the salon is abutted by a tea-room, (in case someone feels like caffeine). On a mellow morning, magazine in hand, who wouldn't?  
 
 
Via Vanity Fair.com

There's such candour in this picture, a claiming of the 'outside' for one's own purposes. In India, people I know seem to navigate the 'outside' and the 'inside' of their worlds very differently.  I've noticed an emergence of extremes in  'outside behaviour' - ranging from a complete and total disregard for others (queues at temples) to a tense watchfulness (queues at museums). And women, I find,  are frequently self-conscious in public spaces. Men will have their ears cleaned and their bodies pumelled by masseurs in bustling crowds, but women will retreat into the corners demarcated by propriety.   'Being outside' is fraught - which is such a shame, because public space is always better used when we are comfortable doing what we want and like with it - provided we share and play nice.

Comfort and whimsicality in public spaces needn't be luxuries. We could afford ourselves a little more of them. Couldn't we? Starting with getting our hair done in the sun. It would be the makings of a statement, the sanctioning of a little bit of silliness. I think it would be fun - doing something outside without caring very much about it. Not noticing it at all.  

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