Chapter 18 – Obscure Sorrows

“This is a portrait of a random passerby woman I encountered on the road while traveling in South East Asia. She looked preoccupied, maybe sad, maybe tired, maybe just in deep thought. While reading Shiraz’s text, I recall this touching and beautiful moment. Everyone is so different, so special – “sonder” with so many moods and various looks, but we are in the end the same under our skin, sharing the same bone structure, a human touch, regardless of our color, sex or race.” – Nini Sum & IdleBeats, Screen Printer


Chapter XVIII

Shiraz Randeria, Consulting Editorial Director & Creative Director

I close my eyes and listen to their laughter. I think about them, each of their lives. There’s a word I came across years ago in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows – ‘Sonder’. It’s defined like this: – the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as yourown, populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, and worries. It’s an epic story in which you might appear only once, like an extra sipping coffee in the background, or as a blur of traffic that passes on the highway, or a lighted window at dusk. Or a lone figure standing above a beach. This word is also my surname, the name Anna gave away at her wedding. I used to think how burdensome it is, that, as an unmarried woman, I carry with me both the name of my father, the name of a bit-part role in everyone else’s story. But of course, I am my own lead character. Every cog in a watch is vital, and being a fleeting detail in the lives of others doesn’t make me inconsequential. While it’s impossible to always know how, my life interacts with everyone else’s in millions of small, intrinsic, untold ways. I recall the young couple I walked past this morning; a chance encounter. I don’t know why, but I smiled, spontaneously and generously. And they smiled back. And maybe they carried that smile to someone else. Perhaps my smile is still being passed on. Perhaps it will be passed on forever, around the world.

Shiraz Randeria (Consulting Editorial Director & Creative Director)

Shiraz works as a consulting creative and editorial director for clients such as Wallpaper* and Elle HK. He’s also the creative director of Kingdom of Heaven, a start-up label that doesn’t believe ‘fashion’ only means clothing.

Nini Sum, IdleBeats (Screen Printer)

Nini is from IdleBeats, an artist duo and the first independent screen print studio in China. Known for their crossculture and China-inspired artworks, they have gained much attention from global media such as BBC and CNN.

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