Sep 2, 2006

temporary passage: Part 2

update for the doc i am working on--

am in punjab to continue shooting--and should go to kashmir briefly, then rajasthan--not sure if i will be able to make it back to pakistan but am trying to work that out, as of course, it is necessary.

yesterday visited a site that correlates to the harappan sites in pakistan (same time period)...4,000-2,000 years ago...part of indus river basin civ. it relates to the doc in that this particular site was the 1st to be excavated in this side of punjab after 1947---all the other excavated sites at the time, had fallen on the other side of the border (notably mohenjo-daro and harappa) with the partition. it would be utilized as a quick glimpse into the past that connects the two regions/countries.

the general idea behind the flow of the doc stems from the phrase Kissa Khawani---urdu for "street of storytellers". there will be an emphasis on camera movement (the partition was about massive movement, among other things--the largest migration of people in history). the storyteller idea is a conceptual take on the environment as a whole (how religion, myth, ritual, ancient ways dictate much of the structure of life here--i.e. the relevance of story/folktale/and in not so beguiling a fashion----gossip). the beauty in this is the bridge it creates between 'fact' and 'fiction'---the double-vision of interpretative story-telling which in turn layers our experience of daily perceptions, and thus, our recorded and oral history.

and given the steady influx over thousands of years of invasion, there are many stories that flow here in this part of the world.

finally read 'freedom at midnite'--which i am sure many may have thought it inspired me or something...but to my dismay it is very much a mills and boon version of such an event. though, in line with storytelling--it's apt.


temporary passage: Part 1

while in a village near amritsar, i got a taste of that most dreaded fear for a female--- i was with both cameras trying to get closer to the border area of pakistan on foot with the aid of a villager who had just left his day's work in the field---and all of a sudden he is trying to physically advance himself on me----i push him away and take off--running down the powdery dry, dusty dirt field road with my two cameras in hand---never looking back but listening hard for the sound of his running towards me--which thank goodness never happened. all this while the sun had already set--- the scene being barely lit by the moon.

was in dehra dun area for a short break--and spent an afternoon on the old mussorie road which is so narrow in places it seems like it was originally designed for people on foot and maybe a bullock cart---but here we are squeezing past each other in our vehicles...a particular stretch seems like it was inhabited by a community of muslims, as there was a small broken structure that was a mosque-and all along that stretch seemed to have similar architecture, similar time one point, i followed a small curving path from a broken facade to its backside-and there was a 1 room village home with this lovely old couple so welcoming; not at all perturbed by someone casually walking into their property. through my translator (my half-sister), i found out that the broken structure was a purana qila (old fort) but the date was unknown. this woman saw my camera and gestured for me to come into another room--to see the carpets she makes. what was striking for me in meeting her was the fact that when she took off her glasses (i guess they were for seeing closeup), she suddenly took on a startled expression---as if what she saw around her was just a little her eyes pierced instead of perused-and one felt she wasn't at ease; but in fact, that tightly wound expression of hers was only an indicator of someone with a hard time seeing.

i read up a little on dehra dun, and it turns out that the area was ruled by a woman for a time, until the gurkhas defeated her; and then the british took over from them some time after.

i left dehra dun by bus for the 6 hr ride to chandigarh. at times, as we circled the hills/mountains, i thought for sure that a couple of wheels were riding on air as we rounded a bend---my nerves and stomach bore the brunt of all my fears as my mind conjured up and replayed the image of a metal box full of people tumbling down the side of a mountain, with momentary glimpses of arms or bus's wheels as it bounded down in twists and turns. i could only hope that the driver valued his life as he overtook another bus ON A MOUNTAINSIDE CURVE not a straight stretch of road...i reminded myself as we "overtook" the other metal box full of people, that this driver must be plying this route all the time...that his driving experience would outweigh the randomness of whatever lay around that bend...