declining reading habit

I am ashamed I did not read much this year
Apparently I read 51 books in 2009
I don’t know what happened to me since
But I am so glad I met Robert James Waller in 2015
Regardless, my short list includes…

  1. Seahorse -Janice Pariat
  2. Mr. Mac and Me -Esther Freud
  3. The Last Illusion -Porochista Khakpour
  4. Anil’s Ghost -Michael Ondaatje
  5. In and Antique Land -Amitabh Ghosh
  6. Half Girlfriend -Chetan Bhagat
  7. When the River Sleeps -Easterine Kire
  8. A Girl’s Guide to Modern European Philosophy -Charlotte Greig
  9. The Bridges of Madison County -Robert James Waller
  10. A Thousand Country Roads -Robert James Waller
  11. Old Songs in a New Cafe -Robert James Waller
  12. 20 Frangments of a Ravenous Youth -Xiaolu Guo
  13. Day’s End Stories: Life After Sundown in Smalltown India -Subhi Jiwani
  14. Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend -Robert James Waller
  15. Puerto Vallarta Squeeze -Robert James Waller
  16. The Black Hill -Mamang Dai
  17. The Light of His Clan -Chetan Raj Shrestha (still reading but will complete before 2015 ends)

I hope to do better in 2016.

dilemma in taking people photos (even at hornbill festival)

i used to take a lot of people pictures
i liked catching the unaware expressions
from teary eyes to untimely yawns
angry pouts to private smiles
i prided myself for capturing those moments
but i stopped.
i found myself a little too intrusive
as i took pictures of strangers
in their own different worlds
and thought what if i was the subject
i did not want to steal their moments anymore
i wanted to look beyond their smiles and the tears
perhaps it also has to do with the shift in my journey
from a (wannabe) photojournalist to an anthropologist
but i knew i needed to go beyond the fleeting moments
i needed to ask myself why did i just take that picture
especially if it was of another human being…

in anthropology, we are in the business of studying people
and i stopped taking people pictures after i became one
often times we get drawn to the kind of pictures
of some indigenous festival or a traditional gathering
where the native is colorfully attired and is further exoticized
by photographers, journalists and anthropologists
with their latest camera gadgets and powerful lenses…


hence i tried to stay away from that kind of photography
at the hornbill festival 2015
my photos mostly focused on material culture
the morungs, the drums, the food and the rice beer
but i could not necessarily steer away from the people
because it is the people that make the place
and when you have a colorful group of people
(not just in terms of the clothes but the expressions and
the dances and the sport that happened in kisama)
you cannot not take pictures
while my instagram account is proof to the kind of pictures
i was able to take
i also like the kind i took of people taking photos
of people taking photos…


in this day and age when we all have access to
smartphones and digital cameras
i realized that moments can be shared
with everyone and anyone…