Dolly Haorambam. 22 year old. Born in Imphal, brought up in Assam. Doesn’t know how to lie. Likes The Pixies and cutting her own hair.
You went back home(Guwahati) recently. Has it changed a lot?
The culture has changed drastically in the last decade since Guwahati has been a connecting city to the other parts of Northeast. Nobody used to dress up much before. Actually, nobody really dresses up that much even now. There was a time when girls used to feel uneasy walking down on the streets in jeans and t-shirts. These days you would find teenagers who follow trends and go to pubs. Besides that from what I have observed there are minor subcultures influenced by metal music, hip hop, and Bollywood.
Is it the usual ‘modernization’ — more malls, more cars, more food joints..or something else?
Everything of everything. It’s one of the fastest developing cities in the country.
Do you like staying there?
No. I am home most of the time. I have a few close friends whom I meet occasionally. There’s nothing much for me to do there except for staring out of the window and looking at hills, clouds, and crows. Oh there are lots of crows!
Things you like about the city?
The riverside and the way to my old school. We used to cross the river Brahmaputra everyday. I guess I miss the bus rides, and yeah, the ferries.
..things you dont like?
A lot of things. The crowd. The weather. The dust storms. The floods. Oh I miss the thunderstorms.
If you go to Guwahati just go to the riverside if you like that kind of stuff. The river is so big, it looks like a sea. New year picnics by the riverside are very popular. Other than that, please have momos at the Momo Ghar. They are cheap and huge. It’s one of the oldest shops where I used to hog everyday after school. Along with the momos, they serve chicken soup with pepper on it.
What got you to study fashion as a subject? Anybody at home in the same field?
I always felt I was drawn towards fashion and clothes. I used to sketch and stitch tiny clothes for barbies when I was small. But then I don’t know why I wasted two years doing engineering coaching, probably because everybody else around me was doing the same. Then I applied at NIFT just for fun and got through. That’s when I started taking it seriously again.
No. Nobody in my family really understands fashion. I guess I come from an orthodox middle class family and they still have this big notion that what I do is tailoring.
Now that you’ve graduated and have a job…they’re cool with it?
Yes they are glad that I got a job. My parents are fine with me working under Bahl because they apparently checked online and saw he is Karan Johar’s friend.
Describe working at Varun Bahl?
I am learning a lot about Indian couture even though I feel a little disconnected at times. I am more minimal. But I am getting to know more about myself so I consider it as an important experience nevertheless.
What was your graduating collection about?
I worked upon the concept of the change from solid to liquid to gas. The three states of matter. Creating forms, yet keeping it wearable to an extent. It was a big challenge to make it wearable when all I could do was forms.
How did you start blogging?
My first blog was when I was in eight grade. I used to write random essays and poetry on science, life, and humour. Something that I often termed as ‘irrelevant art’. Then moved on to photography and finally fashion. I had around 7 blogs, out of which only three survived. One of them is AlphaBetaGaga. I prefer taking self photographs. I can never be comfortable when somebody else is taking a photograph of me. I feel like the ground is gonna crumble.
How do you decide what to post on your blog? What’s the purpose of it?
It’s usually random. Depends on my mood and time. I feel I should stick to things that I am good at. I am not good with wearing pretty clothes or street photography, which is why I mostly end up doing something that probably just evokes a certain state of mind. If I am moving around streets, I end up clicking shadows and silhouettes rather than portraits of somebody on the streets. I don’t have a specific genre but I guess it’s just individualistic.
I prefer taking photographs in rooms, in front of a blank wall, or under the clouds, or something that runs around a concept or a certain idea. It doesn’t really serve any purpose for anybody. I do it because I enjoy it and if somebody appreciates it, it makes me happy.
What do you do when you feel uninspired?
I take pictures or probably watch something interesting, Talk to people whom I can relate to or post on my blog. Or maybe cook a nice meal and treat myself. Or go out and listen to people gossiping and amuse myself. I force myself to be happy. Anything that can drift my mind. I get tired of sitting sad. I prefer keeping myself busy.
Where do you mostly shop from?
Flea markets. Chor Bazaar(in Delhi) or Sarojini or I stitch clothes myself. I feel Chor Bazaar is a men’s clothes paradise. It’s a sunday market near Chandni Chowk. Starts around 5 in the morning. It’s got really cool stuffs. You get shirts and trousers for 50 bucks. I wear mostly men’s shirts so it’s a paradise for me. I got this collarless houndstooth overcoat from there for 50 bucks. SN stuffs are mostly worn by everybody on the streets so I don’t really pick up much from there until I find something really interesting.
Books. music. Films.
Photography by Air is what I listen to everyday. Suedehead by The Smiths. Life of Pi. Catcher in the Rye. Wuthering Heights because it takes me back to the past. Amelie. Submarine. Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
What keeps you going?
I just feel the need to be important. Anything that makes me happy about myself. It sounds so narcissistic. But then that’s the thing that inspires me. The need to do something in life; I dont feel like wasting it.
Is wearing a black Zara shirt, self-stitched drape, Bodice trouser, & school shoes. Floral top is from Imphal–a gift from a friend/trousers from Chor Bazaar. Wall photo is from her apartment in Bangalore. Two photos of the other girl(Rhea) are of her graduating collection.
I photographed Dolly in her apartment and out on the street in HSR layout, Bangalore earlier this year in May.