I’ve been back from India just over a year now, back living in the US and in that time its been a real struggle, both on a personal level and financially.
Looking back on that time, a half-year spent in India, thinking about it and thinking about how much I miss it, and yearn for the Utopian chaos to run through my veins once more.
I have edited my photography over and over trying to extract the essence of the experience. However the personal journey that India was to me, has obscured my objectivity, something that only time can distill.
I have started once again on the editing process, going back over the audio recordings I made, and in doing so, had an epiphany about the work. I realize that I have no choice but to go back to India, and capture more audio, this time with an expanded kit. And to dedicate much more time and effort into making quality environmental recordings.
Audio recordings offer a taste of reality that video and photography simply cannot touch. Where video has to be constructed to make a compelling presentation, and photography provides specificity, and depth, that depth is within just that contextual intimacy.
Audio offers a living reality of time based exploration. Audio treats the consciousness to a wide layered mental vision, one that the mind is intrinsically connected to, there is no learning to listen, whereas there is learning to read photographs.
This Location Sound during the Anup Jalota concert at Pilot Baba’s Ashram camp 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela, Sangam Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh India. I had decided to walk around the sector 9 area where the ashram was located, about 7 miles from the actual main bathing area.
You can hear all of the local sounds, and the far distant sounds of the millions (130,000,000 to be more accurate) of pilgrims who existed at the ‘city’. Headphones highly recommended. Sit back and enjoy the Mela as I did for thirteen minutes.
Its a phenomena to hear the daily rumination’s of your neighbor showering, slurping milk in his cereal bowl, listening to the radio, masturbating, showering and general other private life sounds, and yet never actually really seeing them because of a wooden fence that separates you from him. Im pretty sure he cant hear me because the sound from his side is funneled in through a small space filtered by a Mosquito grille and a cat.
I have a lot of uncertainty now, and yet I know somewhere in there I will miss these days. Perhaps this is a time of resettlement and reassurance from a relationship that I now find myself in.
I also find myself in the eye of the storm. Im doing things now that are prime and ahead of the curve. Yet Im filled with doubt and procrastination is the crutch Im leaning on. Im trying to do a lot maybe too much, but if I dont Ill feel as though Im not doing enough, like I feel that anyway regardless of the capacity Im at.
Who knows. Just remember the important things.
I dont know how to do lots of things. There has always been heavy doubt in me. Its been my defining role in life. “I just dont know.”
Since returning from India, the act of leaving, going away and doing something –anything– the dont know seems less prevalent then it once was. Manifesting what I want seems a nudge easier then it was, but I still dont exactly know what I’m doing, and there is something in me that says now, that something will work out. Thats never before, been the light at the end of the tunnel for me. Theres always been this horrible sense of doubt and disbelief, where it comes from I cant exactly say, probably somewhere in my upbringing and whatever negative experiences that I accrued along the way and never learned from.
Where to start.
I dont know. I have so many things to say, people to talk to, to fill in the gaps of information on the things that Ive been doing and so on etc. Its great to be back and I feel a sense of simplicity, and a sense of having some handle on the future like I haven not had in such a long time, and those past sentiments are something I done even remember to be honest. I’m happy not remember it either, but somewhere in there Id like to know what to watch out for so that I can try and avoid it in the future too. I dont know if Ill necessarily ever actually get back to that same point again, but approaching it scares me. Jenny is positive, extremely so, especially considering all that she has gone through. It amazes me her integrity despite her own convictions that she has been really struggling, because from where I’m standing she is the strongest person I think Ive ever seen.
Bombay, not Mumbai. I prefer it, and the Bombers themselves call it Bombay anyway.
Its as hot as Goa was, but the humidity levels are off the charts. What I thought was humid in Goa was just for starters. Here its totally and completely insane. It takes 20 minutes to sweat out a liter of water. I go nowhere without a 2L bottle of Bisleri. Bisleri is the nice brand of water in India. Its an Indian company started by a French couple who came here some time ago and scoffed at the lack of good clean drinking water in bottles. Since then of course, there are others. Bailey, which is harder to find, but equally as good and the same price. 1L bottles are about 15 rupees, 2L bottles are 25 rupees, depending of course if you ask the price, because most street vendors will try and hoodwink you and make you pay more even thought he price is moderately unclearly marked on the bottles themselves. The Batch Number, date and Price “(inclusive of all taxes)”. But I still like to ask because I like to see the honesty levels of the vendors. Most outside of Goa and so far Bombay, are not honest and some, even when you show them the price will argue the price with you. Old school values; haggle. Theres no haggling in America. We are soft now, lazy, the price is the price. I still like to ask for a deal when I have to go to the Apple store just to fuck with the doe-eyed whizz-kid clerks. Who cares if Steve Jobs had $750,000,000,000 in the bank before he stepped out, he shouldn’t have had that much money anyway, he should have by virtue of the fact that he travelled India himself, known that that money would have been better off in the hands of those who know what to do with it to make their days a little brighter. Like those tribal families out there on the street in front of the hostel Im currently in. They are rolling with the rats, and their children are playing cricket and badminton amongst the traffic “OUT”! I saw that, that was out! Ballard market, haha what a fucking Joke, ‘fixed prices’ total and complete bullshit.
Oh look at that Im sweating as I’m shitting here in relative comfort of porcelain three floors above you, and the little brown children with blue string around their waists are dropping their payloads into cracks in the pavement. Their shit is cleaner then yours though -and you fucking better believe it.
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I am in room Nothing. Im going to call it Seven. Its the joker in the pack of rooms Ive stayed in, in India so far. Bhopal, Goa, Kumbh, Varanasi, Pushkar, Bhopal, Goa. Seven Rooms, three of them were number 7, the rest didnt have any numbers, like this one, my brightly Orange Hindu bedroom #7.
Every room, starrts out as a functional respite from the rigours of travel, traversing ground over time to exist in another space for an alloted time. Every room, after a while becomes stagnant, and somewhat intolerable, a reminder of impersonal functionality it serves, imposing cost, and inevitable build up to departure to the next place. The space becomes familiar and a nest as best possible within the constraints. The room exists for a period and it is your prerogative to either ignore it and spend as much time out of it as possible, or to concede to it. There is no way of personalizing the space, as the knowledge exists that you will be leaving that room in a foreseeable period, and with that it becomes a crater for the veritable bag explosion when you are finally done with negotiations and finances. Just as quickly it becomes the events of the period which in some case are best left in the room when the door is closed and the bill is paid.
Its impossible to be tidy, your bag is designed to take as much as you brought and its designed to take that load utilizing every possible area of volume the space will take. So the contents spring out and are organized into whats needed, what is to be washed and what isn’t needed, which means piles.
If theres a desk it becomes my office, cables wires chargers batteries keys tools trinkets and gadgets adorn the surface. The equipment stays in the case because its safe from humidity, dust, heat and insects.
The bed becomes the other desk, designed perfectly to house everything at arms reach when you are laying under the 720rpm ceiling fan buffeting you with slightly cooler air, too drenched in your own sweat to contemplate anything other then momentary thoughts and vignettes of the days events before drifting in and out of sleep for the next five hours while fighting with mosquitos.