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Aahsome - "Beauty" issue


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The second issue of Aahsome, a quarterly, free PDF magazine from India. …

The second issue of Aahsome, a quarterly, free PDF magazine from India.

Aahsome showcases the human spirit, mind, ethics and morals.

You can contribute too! Submissions can be photographs, stories, opinions, poems, artwork, sketches or even an old, interesting blog post.

Alternative · Counter culture · Creative · Libertarian · Open-minded · Open to all

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  • 1. Aahsome ISSUE #2 Theme BEAUTY
  • 2. ABout Aahsome is a quarterly, free PDF magazine from India made possible by readers like you. Aahsome showcases the human spirit, mind, ethics and morals. For this issue, we asked you to interpret beauty any way you like. You amazed us with what you think is beautiful! The cover is Lady Godiva depicted by Pre-Raphaelite artist John Maler Collier. The legend goes that Lady Godiva had a dispute with her husband Leofric, the Earl of Mercia, over taxes he levied on the developing city of Coventry. He challenged her to ride naked across the town, promising to reduce the tax if she did so. Godiva took the challenge and became a local legend. Townsfolk had stayed indoors to show their respect but one person peeked at her anyway, the character we now know as “Peeping Tom”. Aahsome was founded and initiated by Anand and Arun, two designers with a shared passion for art, culture and free expression. Anand’s initial brainchild, Aahsome’s mission is to showcase both the outwardly and the inhibited alike. Let us know what you think at K.A.Anand is a user Experience Designer J. Arun is a designer at SlideShare. He by profession and blogs about design and dabbles in art, sketching and typography. everything else here: He’s on twitter at
  • 3. intro E veryone knows beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. That implies as and hence they are shown in that color doesn’t hold. As in are those the many definitions of beauty as there are eyeballs. How do we even only gods who have their auras in blue? The dark skinned Goddess Kali start to define beauty? Can it even be defined? came back as the fair skinned Gauri. There are various versions to this story, the changes being in why did she do this, but that is not important. What Many cultures have tried to. Some have even marginally succeeded. is important that she came back as fair skinned. Maybe there is some link Bringing down beauty to a set of formulae, as is the wont of western sci- between this and the fact that fairness products account for more than entific method. Maybe those formulae can even help by making beauty an 50% of the skin care market segment in India. This is the only segment that assembly line product. But is it really so simple? Going eastwards, we have grew at more than 10% even in the recession of 2009. the Indian rasas, out of which the most important is the Shringara rasa. Though it encompasses beauty only as seen by the eyes of a lover, still it is Why is body hair being unwanted like mongrel puppies? Of course more the closest we have to a rule, regarding beauty. It is, as it is with most In- testosterone has the side effect of more body hair, so some might want to dian philosophy, without strict rules, more in spirit than form. Moving fur- remove hair to look less masculine. But still there is hair in specific places ther eastwards, you begin to hear the sounds of one hand clapping. Wabi- of our bodies for specific biological reasons (increasing the surface area to Sabi is the beauty of worn down things, which still have a charm and grace spread pheromones, being one of them). Isn’t it worth considering that about them. This is the beauty coming out of imperfection. Imperfection their only fault is that they are unwanted? Unwanted by you (or by your leads to uniqueness. A clay bowl slightly misshapen is thus beautiful. lover). Coming to human beauty, does it have any anything to do with skin — K.A. Anand color? Why do some gods which are supposed to be dark skinned shown not as shades of black but of blue? The argument that their aura is blue 3
  • 4. Art “Adam and Eve” From when he can remember, Rajesh Babu remains an art enthusiast. He is currently an Art Director in uAE.
  • 5. ADvErtiSEmEnt 5
  • 6. FrEE vErSE Iyer and Irene The names matched The personalities didn’t Yet they had an intangible something that held them together From his veshti to her sleeveless dresses From his temple to her church The smiles on their faces Made most hearts melt One wondered how it had happened Where the story lay It had begun many monsoons ago A stalled car. Rain pouring down in sheets. A smile did it all. — Kirti Manian Title credits to Ravi Sivaraman Illustration: K.A. Anand 6
  • 7. PHotogrAPHy Prayer Wheels near rumtek monastery, nor th Sikkim Kirti manian 7
  • 8. PHotogrAPHy Lehrate Hue rangeen Kapde, nor th Sikkim Kirti manian 8
  • 9. PHotogrAPHy gurudongmar Lake at 17,100 feet Kirti manian 9
  • 10. PHotogrAPHy Kirti Manian She writes. She takes photographs. Sometimes she does both together. She’s 28 and lives in mumbai. Kirti enjoys travelling, having travelled to both South and East india in the last couple of years. Ladakh is the next destination she has in mind. Life is meant to be lived — corny but true and each day lived with joy. view more of Kirti’s work at 10
  • 11. Story The Elephant Kid by Alok Mohan S o I’m walking down the road and this young guy, not more than 12, short of breath, runs to me, “Uncle, Uncle what’s the time?” The question took me not so much by surprise as it did of being called “uncle”. “12.30” I said. He ran off again but not without uttering that “U” word followed by “Thank you”. Now what difference does that make? Curse me first and then follow up with a thank you? Or you’re thanking and cursing at the same time. Children these days! No morals I tell you. And there at 22, I was feeling old. I’ve never been happy about growing old. Why, given a choice I’d stay four all along — days when my dreams and ambition revolved around being an elephant. Why I wanted to be an elephant, though, is beyond explanation. But that I want- ed to be one remains part of my family history. For all I remember I never said I was six and a half or will turn 12 next month. I’d have been happy not aging at all. But then life doesn’t roll that way. So as I crossed 13, I began hoping against hope that growing old could be a good thing. How hard could it be? Everyone I knew was growing old. My grandmother was always smiling and shes 72. So I thought let’s not jump into conclusions, let’s take aging one year at a time. I pretended to act mature. 11
  • 12. Story I wanted to go out and play and mom would say “just wait till you finish your tenth, and you can play all you want.” I complete tenth and I’m playing and she would call again, “12th is all that matters. Everyone will want to know your marks, besides getting into a good college. Play as much as your want after 12th.” And before I know it I’m in college. And 18. I soon realized to my horror I’ll have to wait till after college to start playing because if I played then I wouldn’t get a good job and then what would Sita’s uncle’s wife’s brother’s nephew’s father-in- law and his wife, daughter of P. Krishnankutty say? Out of college and I’m free! No more classes. No more exams. I can play at last! Alok Mohan is a copywriter based in Abu Dhabi. And then a relative who does not wish to be named says, “Is this the age to be When not caught between saving the day and playing? Guys your age already have good jobs and are settled in life.” and I’m being a gemini, he blogs occasionally at like WTF??? Today, at 22 and a half, all I have to look forward in life is another 40 years of work. And then I’ll be 62. And I’ll commence my cycle of being a child again. The Elephant Kid photo by Koka Sexton. He Being a child I always wanted to be an elephant. Elephants are beautiful. Being a blogs at and you can find child was beautiful. • his pictures at ikoka. 12
  • 13. triButE Live in Concert The Fender wails… High on psychedelia; Higher on love. Wood and steel in unison Sculpting air. Visions. Smoke everywhere, Sweet, full of breath; Asphyxiating all care uncalled. Ghosts of the living, Albatrosses, hopes, flying. Gods in Act, acting Gods. Stirred and shaken, Perfect blend, Amen! Touched by the Metatron Sonic N-Bombs, a zillion Ktons. The river of sweat, Sound bytes and more, Ambrosia over a setting sun in Eden. A bend in time. A Big head Bang. A furious mix of sweet and tang… 13
  • 14. triButE …Marshals, frenzied, roll. The equalizer set to equalize Ranges beyond the console! As geographies melt, Iron and Gold smelt. Roger and Dave serenade, The Wright-Mason duet made. The lunatic smiles overhead. The dark moves into the light, Quivering hearts & stage fright! She glances & smiles. Pompei, in my head. Flatlined, wonder-eyed, in bed. There she was, my flower child, My elusive Floydian wild. Art by Harish Shankaran Left with no choice, Harish Shankaran has fallen in love with music. He also loves movies, theatre and enjoys writing. He blogs at and tweets at Psst… he’s single now! 14
  • 15. ADvErtiSEmEnt 15
  • 16. ADmirAtion Beautiful Stranger by Mukta Raut T his morning, as I crossed the road to catch an auto, I saw an The only thing that seemed to be in stark contrast to this bleached exquisite woman. She stood in the shade of a mango tree. I think I perfection was her complexion. It was strong and beautiful and… in some found her remarkable because she was so comfortable in her own ways… emphatic. She looked like she bathed in the finest cognac to have skin. Didn’t seem rushed. Didn’t seem uncomfortable without any of the the color softly coat her skin and make it glow. There was such a gorgeous modern-day accoutrements we use to avoid eye contact with strangers — sheen about her. mobiles, magazines, iPods. She just stood there, simple and beautiful. As I left in my auto, I turned back to see her again. Around her, the world She was fairly tall, and her straw-colored linen dress fell a few inches had gotten busy, and the Monday had gotten manic. But this lady just above her knees. Her calves were sinewy and her arms were shapely. Her turned this crazed little lane a background for her portraiture. There she arms were toned, sure, but they didn’t look like the over exercised walnut- stood, with a wonderful glisten reflecting off her — in the shadows, in the crackers that some women have. She had shoulder-length hair that seemed spotlight. • to glint of honey-hues when the sunlight shifted through the leaves. Everything about her seemed to have the delicate fading of timelessness — like the edges of a beautiful, heirloom sari, maybe. Her dress was almost white, her hair was almost brown, her eyes were cappuccino but again, almost so. From head to toe, her seasons in the sun seemed to have Mukta Raut veni, vidi, wrote. Sometimes, i just wrote. lightened off some of her demeanour, but admirably so. 16
  • 17. ESSAy The Mathematics of Beauty by Arvind Subramaniam T he word beauty conjures up something The thoughts of this is very well reflected in increases if that person’s body is symmetrical and for everyone. An artist may be remind- Bertrand Russell’s words: in proportion. ed of the beauty in nature; a writer re- “Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not Leonardo Da Vinci plainly suggested the lates to it with his poetry, a layman thinks of all only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty beauty of objects depends on a ratio, known the sizzling hot stars on the big screen. Beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without as the Golden Ratio. To understand what the means something to everyone. appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without Golden ratio is, draw a line, and bisect it in two Since ages, wise men from all walks of life the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet unequal half’s, a long segment A, and Shorter have not only attempted to define beauty, but sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection segment B. The Golden Ratio appears when the also tried to relate it to their field in some way such as only the greatest art can show. The true ratio of A to B is equal to the ratio of the entire or the other. To understand what makes beauty, spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being line (A+B) to the longer segment A. well…so beautiful, a class of men set it upon more than Man, which is the touchstone of the If objects relate to the Golden Ratio, called themselves to unravel the secrets of beauty. highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics Phi and which roughly equals 1.618 in various These were the mathematicians and they set out as surely as poetry.” proportions, the physical affinity towards that to prove that beauty could be determined by From beauty in theorems and geometry, object increases. This fact is very well illustrated mathematical relationships and formulae. they went on to suggest that physical attraction in the Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. 17
  • 18. ESSAy Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci Galleria dell' Accademia, Venice (1485-90) Original drawing photographed by Luc Viatour 18
  • 19. ESSAy According to Leonardo’s preview in the Thus in Theory every face that has a “good fit” stirring, beautiful music.  accompanying text, written in mirror writing, it in this mask is Beautiful.  Someone said that a mathematician is one was made as a study of the proportions of the The human body is not the only object, which who understands the beauty in the mathematics (male) human body. if it corresponds to the golden ratio makes it as an art form, funny because none of us would From this diagram, Leonardo, summarized beautiful. In fact, mathematicians have noticed have contemplated math as an art form. Galileo some interesting facts… the golden ratio in every aspect of nature, said “Math is the language in which God wrote including for example in the petal arrangement the universe”. We will have to understand that • The length of a man’s outspread arms (arm of a sunflower.  math gives structure to the whole universe and span) is equal to his height Having understood the beauty of the Golden this is the beauty of mathematics. • • The distance from the hairline to the bottom Ratio, architects and engineers all over the world of the chin is one-tenth of a man’s height have strived to constructs monuments and other • The length of the hand is one-tenth of a structures in a attempt to make them beautiful. man’s height The Pyramids of Egypt, The Pantheon in Greece, The Notre Dame Cathedral in Europe are all said • The length of the ear is one-third of the to have been built based on the Golden Ratio. length of the face In modern times, photographers may relate to • The length of a man’s foot is one-sixth of his the Golden Ratio with the Rule of Thirds, which height, etc… emphasizes placement of the subject in ways Arvind Subramaniam is a Strategic Brand The mathematics website pleasing to the eye.  Consultant and Web 2.0 Evangelist, an has come up with a mask of a human face based amateur photographer, founding member of If you thought the application of the Golden Coimbatore Photowalking, and a complete on the Golden Ratio. Ratio ends here you are wrong. Even in music, foodie. He blogs at The proportion of all facial features the Golden Ratio can be applied to the intervals and tweets at correspond to some aspect of the golden ratio. between different notes, to bring about soul 19
  • 20. SoCiAL Promotion
  • 21. PHotogrAPHy Day of the pots! Seema KK 21
  • 22. PHotogrAPHy Day of the pot sellers! Seema KK 22
  • 23. PHotogrAPHy To a rainy day… Seema KK 23
  • 24. PHotogrAPHy The boat, sky, beach and the pier Seema KK 24
  • 25. PHotogrAPHy Good Friday! Seema KK 25
  • 26. PHotogrAPHy A graphic designer by profession, Seema keeps a keen interest in social documentary photography. She almost likes any subject under the sun, happy when traveling and eating good food. She hails from Kerala, currently pursuing her masters in Communication Design at Pratt institute, new york. A year ago… Seema KK 26
  • 27. oBSErvAtion Chai Wali T he word beauty conjures up something dignity. We watched her beautiful long fingers for everyone. An artist may be reminded move about, the movement causing her glass of the beauty in nature; a writer relates bangles to jingle. Her lovely kohl lined eyes had by Anjana Jambunathan to it with poetry, a layman thinks of all the siz- the most serene and content expression, her long zling hot stars on the big screen. Beauty means dark curly hair was loosely braided and she was something to everyone. dressed in a simple parrot green cotton saree. We drank a glass of delicious tea while observing I stayed only for a very short while in her or maybe it was just her persona that made Hyderabad; my favourite time of the day was the tea seem like it was the best we ever had. the early morning hours when Aparna and I would go for long walks admiring those She was surrounded by a bunch of men sprawling bungalows on Banjara gawking at her and I don’t blame them at all Hills. It was during one of those who wouldn’t want to start their day with such walks that we came across a a lovely sight. I realised then that beauty lies in roadside tea stall. simplicity, in everyday aspects of life and is all There was quite a crowd around us but we just have to look. • there which drew our atten- tion. A woman squatted on the An avid reader and floor pouring tea from a kettle and dreamer, occasionally washing the glasses. She was a middle getting confused between aged woman with a slight frame and the two, Anjana is an not the conventional on-the-face beauty mBA graduate often heard quipping — “Life, in spite but it took just a minute to observe her of all the shit you put me at work which left you completely en- through, i remain, o so in love with you.” Illustration: K.A. Anand thralled. She worked with such grace and 27
  • 28. ADvErtiSEmEnt 28
  • 29. SoCiAL Promotion Sanchali by Dakshayini Gowda Based on Varanasi’s rich brocade silk collection. 29
  • 30. SoCiAL Promotion Varanasi. Kashi. Banaras. the craftsmen of today. This jewellery is sequenced with The old, oldest, the legendary city, the eternal stone, glass, clay beads. Or city at the banks of the mighty Ganga River. bark of a tree, wood or seed, For ages this place has been radiating a strong which are naturally found, to mystical image both within India as in the west, add to the aesthetics of the marveled at for its never-resting life around craft in its traditional way. Mother Ganga, where Religion melts into Magic as well as for products like the traditional Recycling has been part of Banarasi hand-woven silks. This collection aims our tradition since the time at bringing to you along with a small piece of one can remember. This has this precious material, a small piece of the age- been handed down for many old magic of this holy and worldly genuine piece generations. Without any of Varanasi. training, Indian grandmothers have creatively conjured up I personally oversee and train rural women, but designs and crafts out of this dying tradition lost to modernization as well encourage their individual creative explorations everyday excess scrap materials like broken as encouraging art novices and connoisseurs to for any design. Currently, I have trained women bangle fragments, textile scrap, seeds or any draw upon their proclivity for nature. from Karnataka villages, and aspire to train more other such materials. A lost tradition in today’s rural women all over India as part of the women The jewellery is eco-friendly via the re-utili- world of recycling plastics and other man- empowerment project is being pioneered by zation of old sarees, leftover bits discarded as made wastes, salvaging natural remnants from Sanchali. These designs are my personal creations waste by tailors, weavers. Especially the old dis- like tree bark shed during seasonal changes as out of textile scrap and such other material which carded Banarasi saree is a museum piece because sources of artistic mediums, is a dying trade. Not has the potential to be recycled. The intention it is difficult to get a genuine Banarasi sari these only saving artisans a trip to the market for art is to recycle this precious material to the fullest days. I have preserved my grandmother’s dam- supplies, but also these mother-earth provisions using leftover that is thrown by tailors, weavers aged sari into jewellery. It just got an extended are readily available at no cost at all. Inspired by or an old sari which is out of use. These scraps are life. :) this novel system of waste management, which is transformed into work of art or an expression of part of our age old tradition, my goal is to revive 30
  • 31. City Dilli. Beautiful? by Malvika Jain A s Khushwant Singh said — Delhi is like his hijda mistress Bhagmati. She is ugly to an outsider but reveals her charms only to insiders. If you can look past the squalor, you can enjoy the Sufi-ism, the sandstone domes and IHC. He also said that no one belongs to cosmo- blingy jordaar tube-lit dhabas on the highways vehicle of choice) and feature in the newspaper- politan Delhi. If a person says he is from Delhi, — the Las Vegas strips of Dilli. headlines the next day. people ask “No, tell me, where are you original- ly from?” To which he may answer “Arrey, I am So again, is Delhi beautiful? Only if the Old-world Chandni Chowk with streets from pro-par Delhi.” following makes it so: stocked with spare auto-parts. Grease and black. Food lanes stuffed with beggars on haunches. Pro-par = Proper Dilli ki sardi. The invigorating brrrr of winterrr. Animated halwais. Stoned sadhus. Qutb minar. I realized how Delhi grips one, when I hit The Sin-Cityness of Dilli. Dark alleys where Ghost town Tughlaqabad, accursed by Saint Niza- South India for a long trip and started missing the you’ll be yanked in a Maruti Omni (kidnapper’s muddin. Nizamuddin Dargah. Pigeon specked 31
  • 32. City Jama Masjid. Dirty Yamuna with glorious yestyeryears. Dilli darwaza. Ajmeri darwaza. Bullet-marked Darwaza. Horseshoe darwaza. Rashtra- pathi Bhavan. Wide avenues on Janpath road. Embassies. Fat ambassador cars. Hauz Khas (the royal bath). Haus Rani. Lutyens grandeur. Bohemian jaunts in Janpath, stories of Paharganj chemical drug con- coction explosions, strangers I meet at Blues and TLR. The dude-ism of Delhi. Guys who you know are MCPs just by looking at them, designer gloss, rash driving. Café Turtle + Book shops. Insomnia and house-hunting. Real estate brokers with aquariums. Greedy shopping at Ambience/ Select Citywalk. *** Dilli. Too much personality to be called beautiful. • Malvika Jain is a copywriter at an advertising agency in gurgaon. She also does freelance branding, graphic design and illustrations. She blogs at Photos: 1. Delhi II by KRRISHwTrampkach 2. Chandni Chowk by Gorgoro 32
  • 33. SnAPSHotS Facenotes and footnotes Gudalur, Nilgiris J. Arun 33
  • 34. SnAPSHotS Facenotes and footnotes Gudalur, Nilgiris J. Arun J. Arun 34
  • 35. FAntASy Elf with earrings J. Arun
  • 36. ADvErtiSEmEnt 36
  • 37. Enjoyed this issue of Aahsome? Contribute to the next issue of Aahsome! Pass it on! Email it to your friends. theme: Food tweet about it you could think of food from angles as diverse as economics and history. Food Post to Facebook is a primary necessity. governments have fallen due to increase in onion prices. new continents have been discovered searching for spices. unusual twists to usual recipes Connect with Aahsome are also welcome! aahsome_mag your submissions could be traditional art, digital art, poetry, short-stories, opinions, Facebook group photographs or comics. group Submitting is simple! Just email your entries to tell us what you think! Have questions, feedback or just saying hello?
  • 38. This PDF magazine is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. All copyrights of content in the magazine belong to their original creators unless otherwise stated. All opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors. When in doubt, just ask us: