India Part 2 – The Mountains

Based on my trip to India. 

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

One man’s day is another’s forever.

It is odd, thinks RJ, that such poverty could exist in the shadow of the worlds greatest mountain range. It is odd that the worlds tallest mountain is only tall enough to see man at the most basic level.

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Rj is sitting in a cool van with a camera on his lap. The real work is about to begin. The van travels through the town to a long road that RJ dubbed ‘slum drive’. Slum drive is a road that even the pigs avoid.

At this point, RJ is still fascinated by the number of animals that roam the streets freely. Pigs, cows, dogs (filthy dogs) and chickens go wherever they please until their owner brings them home.

The van stops.

The team travel off the main road and into the real slums. The only sounds that reaches RJ’s ears are the sounds of feet on earth. The crunching of shoes on dirt echo in his brain. Soon enough, his feet take to the ruins of an old building wall, the only way to continue on the path and stay out of the deepening mud holes.

Still the footsteps echo.

“Are we really here?”

“Am I really here?”

“Where am I?”

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He turns on the camera  and films his feet as they walk along the rubbish. Oh, the rubbish? You see, In India there is no garbage collection or waste management. The earth is the dump.

The camera makes it’s way up to the reveal the rest of the team as they walk along.

“I am the audience…” Thinks RJ.

Filming is like organising a wedding. Excitement and happiness are on one side and organisation and work on the other. To be efficient, it is essential to transcend oneself and become the camera. Become cruel and cold. Become nothing but procedure, settings, distances and angles. Emotions that could cause the camera to become more like a fragile human being are destroyed before they can be felt.

In this particular case, filming was more like planning a funeral.

In a ‘house’ lived seven people. A house of mud and stone. It’s roof lay above your waste and it’s beds as comfortable as cement could be.

In this house lives a 14 year old boy living with a disability. He was born with his bladder on the outside of his skin. He constantly wets himself. Medical treatment is far beyond the means of a slum community. _MG_7875 copy

The camera shakes. RJ gets out a cloth to clean the lens. The best practice for when one needs to take a deep breath.

Back in the van. The short journey to the hotel is a quiet one. Why do the streets now seem normal?

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

One man’s day is another’s forever.

– By Randall Evans.

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