Monday, August 14, 2006

The Curious Stall: An Explanation

In this entry I explain why this blog is named The Curious Stall. India is a curious place. This alone is reason enough to name a blog about the changes through which India is going The Curious Stall. When I decided to start this blog, my reasons for which I discuss below, I began looking through pictures I took while living in India with my family between November 2005 and May 2006. I came across a picture I took at the Ernakulam railway station in Kerala, India.

Indians are charmingly loose in their usage of the English language. The vendor on the platform probably meant to call his shop a “curios” stall (i.e., a stall where rare, unusual, or intriguing objects are sold). But in calling it a “curious stall,” he evoked in me not just a chuckle, but also a reminder of the ways in which India is changing. At one time, his stall very well may have had rare, unusual, or intriguing objects for sale. At the very least, the objects were probably hand-made, and therefore unique.

In 2006, his stall contains all the same cheap and mass-manufactured goods as almost every other train station platform vendor in India (I am not talking about food vendors, whose goods, with the exception of processed packaged foods, vary greatly from region to region). The items for sale are not curios and they are not curious. The fact that they are neither makes me curious about how India is changing. Hence, this blog is named The Curious Stall.

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