Rana Dasgupta – Capital

“For middle-class people, therefore, the spectacle of the city is seen through car windows. If a painter were to paint this middle-class view, as, for instance, so many nineteenth-century painters tried to paint Paris from the perspective of its new, cosmopolitan boulevards, it would not, accordingly, be smooth or intimate. There would be no dwelling, like the Impressionists, on details of costume and gesture, no slow rendition of café light falling on pedestrian faces, no capturing of the almost unnoticeable interactions that happen between strangers in a public place. No, it would be a strobe-lit succession of unrelated glimpses: the covers of Vogue and Autocar flashing in front of the window as a magazine seller rushes between vehicles stopped at a traffic light, the wind-rushed hair of a woman and her child on the back of a speeding motorbike, the one eye of a stray dog caught in the headlights, the glinting instruments of a wedding band – and the whirl of the dancing procession, and the improbable white of the groom’s horse – the lipstick of a cluster of eunuchs pressing their faces to the window, the slump of a human form under a blanket on the highway’s central divide, a face in another car momentarily strip-lit as veering headlights dazzle the rear-view mirror – and a host of impressions of other, unformed characters, animal and human, whose identity it is difficult to discern.”

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