Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Persuit of Happiness, may be...

Going through my mail and posts shared by friends, I came across this letter that I think is worth sharing. I feel guilty of not reading any of Gabriel Garcia's work up till now. This excerpt seems like summarizing a lot of work. :)

RIP Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Farewell Letter

"If God, for a second, forgot what I have become and granted me a little bit more of life, I would use it to the best of my ability.

I wouldn’t, possibly, say everything that is in my mind, but I would be more thoughtful of all I say.

I would give merit to things not for what they are worth, but for what they mean to express.

I would sleep little, I would dream more, because I know that for every minute that we close our eyes, we waste 60 seconds of light.

I would walk while others stop; I would awake while others sleep.

If God would give me a little bit more of life, I would dress in a simple manner, I would place myself in front of the sun, leaving not only my body, but my soul naked at its mercy.

To all men, I would say how mistaken they are when they think that they stop falling in love when they grow old, without knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love.

I would give wings to children, but I would leave it to them to learn how to fly by themselves.

To old people I would say that death doesn’t arrive when they grow old, but with forgetfulness.

I have learned so much with you all, I have learned that everybody wants to live on top of the mountain, without knowing that true happiness is obtained in the journey taken & the form used to reach the top of the hill.

I have learned that when a newborn baby holds, with its little hand, his father’s finger, it has trapped him for the rest of his life.

I have learned that a man has the right and obligation to look down at another man, only when that man needs help to get up from the ground.

Say always what you feel, not what you think. If I knew that today is the last time that I am going to see you asleep, I would hug you with all my strength and I would pray to the Lord to let me be the guardian angel of your soul.

If I knew that these are the last moments to see you, I would say “I love you.”

There is always tomorrow, and life gives us another opportunity to do things right, but in case I am wrong, and today is all that is left to me, I would love to tell you how much I love you & that I will never forget you.

Tomorrow is never guaranteed to anyone, young or old. Today could be the last time to see your loved ones, which is why you mustn’t wait; do it today, in case tomorrow never arrives. I am sure you will be sorry you wasted the opportunity today to give a smile, a hug, a kiss, and that you were too busy to grant them their last wish.

Keep your loved ones near you; tell them in their ears and to their faces how much you need them and love them. Love them and treat them well; take your time to tell them “I am sorry,” “forgive me, “please,” “thank you,” and all those loving words you know.

Nobody will know you for your secret thought. Ask the Lord for wisdom and strength to express them.

Show your friends and loved ones how important they are to you.

Send this letter to those you love. If you don’t do it today…tomorrow will be like yesterday, and if you never do it, it doesn’t matter either, the moment to do it is now.

For you, with much love,

Your Friend,

Gabriel Garcia Marquez"

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

That's why I don't...

Sorting out some old documents, I came across a photograph that up till now I had tucked out of my sight.
Year 2008

After my classes at university, I’d take a local bus back home. That used to save me a couple of hours to work on my assignments. On my way back home, came a very busy bus stand, where many routes merged.

For a few days, I’d been observing a psychotic person, sitting with his back against the steel grill under a fiberglass shade. I’d daily look at him passing by in a bus. Then I heard of a photography competition being organized at a national level in the university. 

The subject was in my mind. I took my camera the next day and for the first time went closer to him… closer than I had thought I’d go. He was a young boy, bald, dirty, completely lost and probably on drugs. He had built a defensive wall of garbage around him. The only piece of clothing on him was a long, dirty shirt. Upon reaching closer, I noticed, his filth smeared his body and piled around him. Flies and bugs swarmed around. He was in a miserable condition, lost, blank and empty. My eyes blurred, not with tears, but with the stinging acidic stench pinching my eyes. He looked up for a moment. I held my breath and took his picture. He lowered his gaze. I took the print out and gave it the title “You Blame Me?” It was submitted and displayed at the exhibition. 

After a few days, when the results were being announced in the seminar hall, I was lost in thoughts. The stench, the filth, his blank gaze, the misery and the blurred vision knitted a story without words. My name was announced, I got the third prize. Getting up from my seat I was swept off by an enormous wave of guilt. Regret, sorrow, hollowness and shame created kaleidoscopic patterns in my mind. I had exhibited his misery for a mere competition, and was collecting a shield for that. How low could I stoop? 

I took the shield thinking that I’d go back and try to help him. How? I didn’t know. On my way back that very day, I got out of the bus, determined to talk to him, or if he didn’t get me, I’d talk to the shopkeepers and vendors around to figure something out. If both of these failed, I’d at least get him a decent lunch, even if it was for one time only. 

My eyes followed the direction where I’d find that deranged soul. And then my heart sank. The spot was empty and clean. There was no sign of him or the garbage fort he had built for himself. He was either gone or thrown out of the bus stand.

After all these years, I still feel guilty of photographing and exhibiting misery. If I cannot do something to help, I have no right of exhibiting it. On the other hand, if I empathize with these people, I find it hard to come back to my life.

I don't photograph human figures now, only very rarely, I find the stories behind very bitter. And I particularly avoid sharing misery.