April 11, 2015 § Leave a comment
I’m working on a documentary called Toxification, in collaboration with filmmaker friend Leva Kwestany and producer J.U. Rhodian. It’s our first time working together, and my first overseas film. We filmed for three weeks, and I’ve never felt more in my element.
India’s prosperous Green Revolution was led by Punjab, a state in northern India famous for its lush rice fields and wet, fertile soil. But as farmers are conned into buying more and more pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers that they don’t need, which demand often ten times more water, the water table is sinking at an alarming rate. Punjab’s water has been poisoned by the chemicals, and the famers poison their bodies with opium, helping them to work longer and harder. Loans from a middleman are taken out, with extortionate interest rates that are impossible to pay back. As a result, hundreds of Punjabi families are left without a father, husband or son as more and more farmers cave in under the pressure and drink their own chemicals to end their lives.
I took some portraits, too:
see more at http://www.rehmatrayatt.com/toxification
January 13, 2014 § 4 Comments
I’ve recently felt a need to develop my writing skills (or current lack thereof) so I’ll be experimenting with something they call a lifestyle blog. I’ve always found it difficult to talk about myself; I consider myself to be in a happy medium somewhere between self-obsessed and self loathing, and I’m not very keen on attention. In fact, I can’t think of much worse than being that person who only ever talks about themselves; whose outfit problems are the end of the world; never mind extreme poverty, violence, gender inequality… But when else would one drag oneself kicking and screaming out of one’s comfort zone than January, the month for change. The month for running at 6am, eating celery and making bucket lists. New Year, New Me. I strut confidently into the abyss of the world wide web, tenacious, narcissistic.
January 1st is just another day for me. I’ve spent far too many January 1sts telling myself that this was the year I would finally achieve all of my goals. But really this time. By April that poor neglected list I made has been demoted from the notice board to the drawer labelled ‘Not Very Important’. By September ‘get a six pack’ and ‘be exhibited in World Press Photo’ tumble suddenly into my head while in the queue at Waitrose. The floods of guilt carry me home, clutching my quinoa and kale to my heart as if they, too, might slip from my attention. I fantasise a funeral for my aspirations, left unrealised by my disregard. The kale bows its furry head and weeps. The quinoa spills an arc of uncontainable tears which multiply in size when they mingle with the wet ground (it’s raining heavily, of course). Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust. Guests attempt to discreetly wipe ever expanding quinoa from their shoes. With December guilt transforms into determination and I begin January armed with a new list. I might as well have used the previous year’s list and at least been a little more environmentally friendly. That’s it! New year’s resolution: Save paper. Recycle. Plant trees.
September 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
I shot this short promotional video for Darbar’s launch party at the amazing Roti Chai, one of my favourite Indian restaurants.