In recognition of Older Americans Month, Magnum honors the elderly.
Produced by Zena Koo
... India has long been a jazz republic, functioning without a written score. People involve themselves in each other’s lives without regard to propriety or privacy. They insist on feeding you even when you want nothing. They insist on paying a price other than the price listed.
They pack as many cars onto a road as possible, without regard to the painted lanes. They pay as little tax as they can get away with.If you call Domino’s after closing time, you can sometimes cajole them to reopen and deliver a pizza anyway. Everything is a negotiation; everything is improvised. Things are a “no” in India until they are a “yes.”
And yet now when I visit America, where I grew up until moving to India six years ago, I wonder if this is where India is bound: a society that is fairer and more ordered, but in which something of the warmth of improvisation is gone.
Although he refers to America, the last sentence seems to me a pretty accurate characterisation
During my trip back, I was taking pictures for my brother in Victoria Theatre. He was taking part in a national competition, and I had photographed his events in the past when they were held at less prestigious locations.
When it was his turn, I left my place in the aisle alongside other photographers to go crouch in front of the stage, next to a 'official' event photographer, taking care to keep low so as not to block anyone's view.
But one senses something robotic at work, cutting between what are, at the day’s end, just two human beings.
And yet, with India as the foil, one can see a deeper meaning in the brusqueness and coldness. So much of this behavior seems intended to draw a red line of dignity around the individual, to declare to the world that she is somebody whom no one can push around, that no one is better than anyone else.
But which is more real, this cold dignity or India’s warm servility?And one wonders whether, as modernity comes, India will lose a certain warmth, a certain tender involvement of everyone in everyone. Is the warmth that lingers just a product of this stage of history, residually feudal and agrarian and poor, a stage from which India will eventually move on?
Is destiny the barriers between us?