Sunday, September 6, 2009

(click for bigger version)

[left] There's an unmarked, largely artificial Berkeley-Oakland border running along Alcatraz Ave that becomes most pronounced for me whenever I'm surfing Craigslist rentals listings. At this divide, I often see properties described as "practically in Berkeley" when it's an Oakland zip code. In my experience, this means either 1) the kind of landlord to stay away from; they live elsewhere and don't care about the experience of living in the area, and sooner or later you'll get kicked out when they decide to put the place on the market (*cough Andrea), or 2) the kind of landlord who's responsive; who wants to say to those who are unfamiliar with the area, You should check this place out- North Oakland has its own sweetness.
[right] I found this posted at a Barista coffee shop in Juhu as part of their current "Escape to Italy" ad campaign. I took this picture because I've been thinking about what it means to truly be authentic in this modern India. In being "opened up" to the West, I find that in the past few years, India has transformed, and its establishments (and people and culture) are facing a sort of identity crisis. They want to be chic and posh, hip and modern (for example, by cultivating a US-style Starbucks cafe culture), but that doesn't necessarily match traditional Indian style, so other cultures' styles are adopted and appropriated. Consequently, we are left with a lot of what I call "wannabe-ism," e.g. really striving with all the intention in the world to be something "better" but missing the mark. I wonder if, in time, people will see through this and start redefining "Indian" to include modern, civilized, hip, and cool.

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