Last weekend we made it to Barsey Rhododendron Park
(a tiny break from g-town).
While we thought we’d be the only ones visiting the place,
the number of tourists and taxis lined up at Hilley
would make you want to return.
But Hilley was only the starting point of our hike.
And we could already see rhododendrons in bloom.
So, without wasting much time,
we entered the forest and found ourselves walking
the brown carpet and enjoying the occasional sighting of bright flowers.
Since it was all ready evening.
We pitched our tents for the night
but campfire was not allowed
still we managed to make instant noodles
for our humble dinner that night.
Halfway through our sleep in the woods,
we were woken by thunder and rain
which continued through the morning
that also brought surprise hailstorms for us.
While we were to hike back the longer route
we were not equipped for a long rainy walk
so we walked back the same way
through an all together different woods.
Few weekends ago,
we decided to ride the cable car in our rainy little town
it was a good digression from everyday hustle
a welcome episode to our mundane existence
on june 24th, we celebrated the sao joao festival in goa.
the festival when you drink feny and jump in wells.
while locals were vague about its origin
everyone knew it was about john the Baptist.
so you put jumping in well with the baptism ritual together
and you think you know about the festival.
but it is not just that…
there were so many details to take into account.
the flower crowns and only the men jumping in the well
while the girls were poured buckets of water instead.
at one time we walked inside what felt like the rainforest
where some ritual was taking place,
i wished this was my field of research…
but one can only have so many interests
so until i get to read more on this festival
i am glad to have been a part of it this year.
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…