So sometime back, when I was in Kathmandu, ECS LIVING asked me to do a creative piece around the colour/word RED and its connotations, whatever they may be. They said I was going to be part of a group of young artists working in various different media who would also mediate on the same word. My good friend Sam Kang Li was convinced to become part of this group and shot his entry (he’s a photographer/photojournalist) while in Kathmandu. ECS Living is out now I think and I haven’t been able to get a hold of the copy to see what the layout looks like but my original text is below.
I am a primary
PRANAYA SJB RANA
I am a primary. Without me, there are no others. I am there with every screaming mother as she brings a newborn into this world. I am in the early morning as dawn breaks over a sleeping city and I am at dusk, spreading onto the sky like a pool of spilled ink. I am in every bloodshot eye, every peeling fingernail, every cut from a knife. I am a burn.
I am in every human pore, every organ, every cell, every nerve and every vessel. I permeate all. I am the blush on a young girl’s cheek and I am the sting from a slap tight against the face.
I am what makes you stop and I am what causes alarm. I am that scarlet letter pinned to the chest and I am that rhododendron, sickly sweet in the hills. I am the robin’s breast and the peacock’s plumage. I am the rooster’s comb and the hourglass on a black widow.
I am vibrant and alive, I catch the eye and hold attention. I am important.
I am at every wedding and on the collars of cheating men who smell of cheap perfume. I am at the end of every cigarette. I am those high heels she wears that make her look otherworldly and I am that hammer and sickle bandanna tight around his forehead.
I am flags and slogans. I am Karl Marx and Satan. I am the river Jordan that flows not with water but with dead Arabs and Jews but I am not the river Bagmati where once, long ago, I swam with fish larger than an arm but now lies dead, empty and sluggish, barely a river, more a sewer.
I am not just one single emotion but them all: love, hate, anger, compassion. I am there when you close your eyes, in the darkness behind your eyelids, it is me that you see.
I am a nation of nationalists, a horde of haters and a mob of masochists. I am in every whiplash, every spank, every prick and every gouge. I am a punch to the nose and a kiss to the lips.
I am your heart and not your brain. I am your body and not your soul. I am clay and not the sky.
I am her nails, bright for a date and I am the wine she sips as she waits patiently. I am cherries, peaches, strawberries, tomatoes and the fatal apple that Sleeping Beauty bit into. I went looking for my grandmother only to find a wolf. I stepped through the looking glass and they called me cyan.
I am a rabbit’s widening eyes as a fox, sleek and slim, bares its teeth and leaps. I am sharp hawk talons and sharp eagle beaks. I am a blade, fresh from the slaughter and I am a khukuri, fresh from a beheading. I am in car accidents, broken bones and scrapes.
I am ants, I am a rose, I am flashing police lights.
I am Picasso, Van Gogh and Gauguin. I am bullfights and dogfights.
I am often where things don’t turn out well. I am in wars. I am with beaten wives and beaten children. I am at every virginal first time. I am rage, I am fire, I am passion, I am blood.
I am red.