When I first started blogging, I realized that I would need a profile picture. A conscious decision to blog under a pseudonym , and I came up with Ugich Konitari; which as any Marathi speaking person will tell you, is nothing extraordinary.
Thanks to the large number languages and dialects spoken in India, most people got curious about the name, and I even had a query asking if it was a Japanese name. I wish I had said yes, just for the sake of excitement, but like Mr G. Washington of the apple tree fame, I could not tell a lie, and explained what the name was. There was a fine sense of coming down to earth in this, a sense of comfort at having a name which was supremely ordinary.
So when I was planning a profile picture, I thought it should match that sense. Someone who thrived on being who she was, was firmly modern in some ways, but had her own down-to-earth, slightly old fashioned, striving-to live-in-a modern-world style; like a cross between Britney Spears and Gangubai.
A well known blog aggregater even interviewed me once and one of the readers (Solilo, folks will remember her) , actually asked me what the profile picture meant and I had to clarify that I was quite happy letting my imagination fly on the broom, thank-you, and I was not in competition with Mrs A. Rai B. flying first class to London.
Some young folks even hinted that the picture needed to be changed. But I doggedly refused. And kept flying on the broom. I even found a quotation to match and put it on my page. When I gingerly stepped into Facebook a few years later , I did not think twice before using that as my DP.
One of the spin offs of being a blogger was I would see a few photography blogs, the daughter was into photography, and she was inspired to start a photoblog. She has been visiting local events in Mumbai, like the Ganpati workshops in Parel, and so on, and since last year, the Kala Ghoda Fair, that happens in Jan-Feb of every year.
She went there today with a friend, took several photographs, and of all the myriads of things you can buy there , in the numerous stalls, displays, and crowds, their eyes came upon a clay figurine which suddenly looked familiar. A spirited native Indian lady, in her traditional dress, hair in a practical bun, swinging away with gusto, grinning away , toothily, displaying, if I might say so, a total of 4 teeth.
Both the girls sensed a bell ringing in their heads. Encouraged by her friend, my daughter decided to purchase the amazing work of art, and lugged it home through a crowded suburban train, to gift it to me.
The similarity with my DP is uncanny. The attitude displayed by the lady in my DP and that on the swing is absolutely identical. The thrill of flying high with whatever is at hand. The disdain for size zero, or for that matter size 1. Or even more. Even the mode of dressing follows similar individual preferences.
I don't dress like this, but my mind does.
But there is a certain sense of joyful, carefree aging, in the clay figurine . The freedom to find her own sense of enjoyment, unhampered by what people think, whether she is appropriately dressed for it or no; because she has really seen it all, and been through all that stuff . She revels in her toothy smile, (in reality , I actually do have more like a toothy'gummy grin), its just that here, toothy means 4 teeth !
Maybe a few years from now, I will change my profile picture. On the blog and on FB.