Walking along the beachfront strip of stores that line the shore, I spot a man sitting cross legged on the floor in one of the shops. Wielding a paintbrush, he fastidiously renders highlights and shadows of the Fab Four on a piece of stretched fabric. Another boy in the shop sees me lingering by the door and greets me, inviting me in. I can’t, my feet wet with sand.
I survey the array of graphic t-shirts hanging outside on the display portraying characters or quotes from films. One reads, “We will control you one day” overtop of, of course, the outline of an ape. This elicits a laugh from me and I instantly feel a connection to ‘home’. ‘Home’ in my vocabulary has become anything that conjures a sense of familiarity mixed with nostalgia. At my laughter the boy, Raju, comes out to chat face to face. We make small talk about our favourite movies associated with the drawings on the T-shirts. Pulp Fiction, Big Lebowski.. the usual suspects.
Our conversation veers into other mutual interests, namely painting and art. I’m invited to join Raju and his partners to paint graphics on the T’s. We talk some more about my photos and drawings and our dreams of going to Europe. Raju’s never been outside India and yet we share the bond of American pop culture – familiar films and characters that some of my closest girlfriends don’t understand.