The pandemic turned a host of people into cooks, gardeners and quilters—and also forced them to make new friends, or make friends of their families. Listening to what grandparents and elderly neighbours had to say about cooking, past disasters, scarcity, and older ways of living has set quite a few millennials on new paths. And some have ended up creating informal archives of habits and practices that have fallen out of use. A lot of it is driven by nostalgia, and the pandemic triggered a sentimental longing for what seemed like simpler times. With the uncertainty of how long the virus would disrupt lives came a desire to record memories that brought relief and joy. Our cover story looks at the changes in the way younger Indians relate to, eat, enjoy, cook and document food. Indians have always taken their food seriously but cuisine isn’t commonly seen as a way to understand social, economic and political change. These projects are making the links between what people eat and what happens in the society around them, while recording diverse food habits that are slowly changing.
As with food habits, the pandemic wrought changes on the fashion world, known for its live shows and fashion weeks. They all went online, but the focus on showmanship remained, as a story in this issue points out. The ongoing Lakmé Fashion Week is streaming some live shows from the Princess Dock at the Mumbai port while a select set of visitors watches from their cars. Everyone else is on Zoom—probably the new equivalent of the back row at a fashion show. Over the past year, live shows have been replaced by fashion films, and designers have shot them at spots as distinctive, and sometimes puzzling, as a Rajasthan marble scrapyard, a New York grocery store, an Alpine ski resort, and Paris’ Louvre. Lounge also has its own take on the made-for-the-2020s version of the Doordarshan-era favourite Wagle Ki Duniya, a review of Gautam Bhatia’s new art show, and other recommendations for the week ahead.
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