June 10, 2013

The Wall Project: kaleidoscope to Kaleidoscope Cafe

Kaleidoscope Cafe, Pittsburgh
It's been a while since my last The Wall Project post but I continue to gravitate towards walls of varying personalities: plain and unadorned, quirky and colorful, or textured and gritty. My recent travels and Pittsburgh have provided me plenty opportunities to indulge in wall-spotting and photograph them. I particularly loved this wall because of its crazy patterns and also, it struck me as to how my associations with the word, kaleidoscope have evolved over time. 

The first and only kaleidoscope I ever possessed was part of the gifts that Air India would present to their child passengers; it wasn't a particularly sophisticated kaleidoscope as it went but it amused me greatly during the flight and also, afterwards, during hot summer afternoons when I had yet to discover the joys of napping. I adored twisting it around and glimpsing the fantastical patterns that the tiny bits of colorful stones assumed each separate time. For years, when someone mentioned kaleidoscope, the red-patterned blue Air India kaleidoscope tube would pop into my mind. 

During my undergraduate years, though, kaleidoscope became Kaleidoscope, a cubby-hole of a cafe located beneath  the university library and adjoining the IT Centre and where everyone congregated for their caffeine/sugar fix or grab meals on the go. There wasn't anything particularly, well, kaleidoscopic about it apart from the fact that the walls were painted neon orange (and we know how I feel about that!) However, when I revisited university a few years ago, I discovered that Kaleidoscope no longer existed and had become a minimal stainless steel coffee-place instead. Yet, even now, I can easily conjure up the many hours spent in that tiny orange-walled cafe and the innumerable chocolate-bars and banana walnut muffins and gossip I consumed there.

In Pittsburgh, a friend recently invited me for her birthday celebrations at Kaleidoscope Cafe and one look at its appropriately zany walls and I knew that they alone merited a return visit to be photographed (and as it happened, the food too was an incentive!). Also, they have cute little eponymous kaleidoscopes placed on the tables for you to play around with as you await your order:) I had great fun peering into them...

Has a word assumed alternate associations and connotations for you over the years?


  1. That is an awesome Wall project.... you must visit the strip district and Penn Ave ( towards children's hospital) on a weekend to check out the huge "wall art" there... !!!! I am sure you would so appreciate it.


    1. Thanks, Shazi...going to take advantage of the good weather and start exploring both these places!!

  2. How interesting. Great project!


  3. Glad that you found it interesting, Sue...and this wall has become a firm favorite:)


Thank you so much for taking the time out to leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from you!