Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Well, that's a little embarrassing!

When I passed by this graffiti on a wall in Delhi a few weeks ago, I saw one thing. To me, it said, Stop. I thought it was profound. So I made this video of the graffiti in the background and the busy traffic in the foreground. It was meaningful, in an artistic way. I put it to music and added some reflective poetry and posted it online. I got some good feedback.

A little while later, I showed it to my ten-year-old daughter who said, "Is that graffiti in English or Hindi? Does it say, Stop, or does that say something else, like taku?"

That's a very good question, I said. For the first time, I realized that the graffiti was quite possibly in Hindi rather than in English. We promptly checked with our Hindi tutor who confirmed that it certainly was in Hindi, and it read, Taku (just as my brilliant daughter had suspected). Taku means "thief" in Hindi, and it was a likely a jab at the Chief Minister of Delhi who lives in the neighborhood just behind this wall.

Anyway, I thought I needed to confess to my ignorance in this case, though I still quite like the video that I was able to produce. And it's worth mentioning that when I took my Canadian nephew by this wall a few days ago, I asked him what it read, and he unhesitatingly said, Stop. So, I'll keep the video posted as a small tribute to my limitations, as well as to my creativity.

Below is my original introduction:

I noticed this new graffiti the other day when I was driving home. I brought my camera back with me a couple days later and took some photos. Then, just before I got back into my car on the other side of the street, I recorded this short video of the traffic flying by in front of the graffiti. Along with the melancholy sounds of Radiohead and a couple short lines of poetry (mostly unrelated to the lyrics of the song), I have attempted something artistic, and hopefully meaningful. To be honest, it didn't take much effort or skill, thanks to the iMovie software on my MacBook. Go, Apple!

Check it out on YouTube at

No comments: