SERIES : Not Quite a Family Album

  Raj Lalwani I live in a curious house—old and ramshackled, with corners unexplored. All through my childhood, I would tap on the walls and open drawers, hoping to discover secret passages that would lead me to treasure chests, secret islands and lands of nowhere. A loss of innocence has led me to realise that I was probably conjuring dreams in my head, but the dark corners and eerie passageways of my bungalow continue to fascinate me even today. A little while ago, I started capturing vignettes of a home that isn’t quite a home, a house that isn’t one either. Particularly interesting are the reactions of my family to the camera. For them, it is nothing but an oversized piece of gadgetry that is always strung around my neck, and often in front of my face. This essay is a culmination of what I do when I have nothing to do, at home. It tries to explore my relationship with my family, and theirs with my gaze. Welcome home.

close your eyes and think of home

picture your room, your kitchen, feeling the sheets on your bed… And then imagine describing your feelings to a friend. For us, this may be quite a difficult task, but for Raj Lalwani it comes easily. With child-like curiosity and a keen eye for details, he captures images of his house and thus reveals his relationship to his family. A very intimate project, the Not Quite a Family Album invites us inside the small world of Lalwani’s home, with its peace, problems and delicate moments of suspense.

questionable questionnaire

If you could invent an alien, how would the alien look?

Probably just like me. Just imagine the possibilities that would create. Hindi cinema is full of movies that are based on identical twins and the comedy of errors that follows when their lives are interchanged, or otherwise. So once the invention is complete, my next trip may be to Mars, while the poor little alien tries to make sense of my eventful life  on this planet

Gulabjamun or rasgulla, why?

Rasgulla, maybe, Horror of horrors, you may say, but I am actually not that fond of gulabjamuns. But then, maybe it might be a good idea to eat several rasgullas, followed by a few gulabjamuns, and then some moti choor ke laddoos, shakkar paaras and end it all with some payasam. Oh, and some tiramisu. I love my food.

Tell us one favorite thing you enjoy in the city you live in (Bombay)?

The fact that it is Bombay, and not Mumbai… the nostalgic whiff of the sea, the chaotic vibe of the city at night and the subtle reminders on why the city is a lot like love. Political manifestos may have changed the official name of the city quite a few years ago, but I, along with a lot of Bombayites, prefer to call it by the same name that the city had, when we fell in love with it.

more from Raj Lalwani

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