You know that feeling of being utterly overwhelmed with excitement? Not knowing where to look first, you're practically bubbling over and the only indication to onlookers is the goofy smile plastered to your face? Well that was me on my first visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. After spending a whopping three plus hours combing through the galleries I left exhausted, elated, and absolutely inspired. It was on this trip that I discovered the work of Dayanita Singh. An Indian photographer trained as a bookmaker, her intimate portraits of the middle and upper classes are compiled to form a diaristic narrative on Indian life and culture. Part of her exhibit are "museums" or wooden structures that she has built in order to arrange photographs much like words in a sentence.
One of these structures included a poem from Vikram Seth, included below. It's the inaugural subject for a new feature I'll be doing wherein I pair a poem, story, place with a playlist. Hope you enjoy!
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by Vikram Seth
I smiled at you because I thought that you
Were someone else; you smiled back; and there grew
Between two strangers in a library
Something that seems like love; but you loved me
(If that's the word) because you thought that I
Was other than I was. And by and by
We found we'd been mistaken all the while
From that first glance, that first mistaken smile.
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