Today, Calcutta is in a state of suspension. Suspended.
Back in 2017,when I started blogging, I did so with excitement. It was finally time to give fashion in my city a face. Show the world that it wasn’t only the indie brands from Delhi, Bombay and Surat that were worth your penny but that the lanes and bylanes of
Calcutta churned out more than your typical Anamika and Sabya.
That street style editorials in fashion mags could have us Calcutta babies in it- oft dressed drastically different from their counterparts in other cities.
Jewellery. Food. Lifestlye. Luxury. Gravitas. This city did have it all.
“If everybody who can make a difference leaves the city, none have a right to say how Calcutta has nothing!” I vehemently declared back when a prolific face in the city opined me moving to Delhi or Bombay to “make a better future of my smart writing.”
In retrospect I was wrong. Exalted words.
Granted, these last two years have taught me more about Calcutta than my previous job-with-a-comfortable-corporate-backing did. It introduced me to indigenous brands, beautiful in its art. But it also introduced me to brands that, in all its start-up glory, had but not a speck of adventure in it. Not an inkling of how to set their brand apart. Be a carnation in a bouquet of roses.
What I thought blogging would essentially be, it wasn’t. There was none of that being opinionated. There was none of that paving a bridge for readers to traverse over to newer territories.
The need to earn a buck took over. For money is essential. And if I with a certain amount of privilege that guarantees me a comfortable living, I can imagine those for whom Blogging is a primary job.
I became a clothes horse. ‘Associations’ with ‘big’ brands got more hits than simplistic posts discussing fashion and lifestyle. Brands gave me money across the counter to simply wear their clothes for their Instagram page. No, they didn’t care about the English in the caption as long as they were ‘visibly tagged’ in the post.
They give me money, I give them a thumbs up. No matter how downright ugly the products advertised were.
Little monkey… dance!
I became what could best be described as a ‘model’. Different from the conventional sense of the term. I have a curvy body. A butt. A paunch. ‘Every day girls’ could see what they’d look like in clothes otherwise advertised on bodies that spent hours at the gym for their upkeep.
Good. But bad.
I wanted to WRITE.
I wanted to OPINE.
I wanted to SHAPE.
I wanted my city to be EFFIN STYLISH!! (No, don’t excuse my French. There’s no other way of saying it!)
Needless to say, I make this post with a sense of failure.
The very aura of being a blogger suffocates me today. I’ve become a junkie getting high shooting up a false sense of achievement with the likes my posts garner. I don’t know when was the last time I wrote a post for the sake of information and not for accomplishment.
I now worry if brands will associate with me. That fear itself makes me do the stupidest of projects with the least pay. Projects that add nothing to my portfolio.
I saw ‘influencers’ with followers shopped off the web.
I bought some too- once, twice, three times. I downloaded apps that would give my pictures 200 likes in a matter of seconds.
I was desperate- because I believed these ‘posers’, who couldn’t tell a Virgil Abloh from a Nicolas Ghesquiere, and for who Karl Lagerfeld was only synonymous with Chanel- were taking away attention from the power of the written word. My written word.
Self exalted much?
I’m going to do none of the shaming my fellows for buying followers or likes. Not only does publicly proclaiming it gives the city a bad name, but because I believe an Instagram profile is but a shop front for a business. And one must decorate their premises to attract more customers.
All I am going to do is step back.
I’m going to stop doing shitty projects for shitty brands. Again, don’t excuse my French. I’m going to stop weighing my success against the number of brands that associate with me.
It’s back to the written word. Every work you’ll see is real. Every like you’ll see is real.
I am not a model. Neither am I socialite.
I am a writer.
And, I am going to start the movement by posting this without my face plastered across it just to garner your attention. Because I know plastering face across posts guarantees attention. Don’t blame people. Blame the algorithm.
Time to #ReclaimBlogging.
PS: Please don’t use my hashtag.