March 09, 2006

the hustle and flow

... of crossing the street in Kolkata!

I am in Kolkata again. Nearly every day I am here, I feel deeper and deeper that this must be my favorite place in India. Well, it's probably tied with Ladakh but Ladakh (in the Kashmir area near Tibet) doesn't really even feel like India and it's the bipolar opposite from this Bengali megacity so they're just in different categories. I love that this is one of the few places in India where every day, and after many trips here, I am still surprised, engaged, occasionally dumbstruck.
It's wonderful and awful, beautiful and horrific at the same time. It's Indian and it's easy to get lost here, shut out from the walls of my own preconceptions and expectations. In fact, getting lost is something that I actually try and look forward to doing here. And after I have left this place, I try to remember the smells. I think about all the ingredients I would throw into the blender: coal smoke, damp dust, ripe and over ripe fruits, old piss, diesel exhaust, and a mysterious Indian masala. And from this description you might surmise, it's hypnotically repulsive.
Things here, unless they are repainted, turn dark. Perhaps that is one reason why people celebrate color so much. And these colors seem even more impossibly rich because of the contrast. I walk, I sit, I watch. I walk, I sit, I watch.
And I make photographs of the crisscross confluence of the unconscious cha cha which is life here. And I feel alive. And I feel tired. But I feel alive.
It's been 95 degrees here and so I have been transferring that sense of climate to Portland and occasionally I fly through in my mind. But I just saw Portland's forecast for today. Its high was more than 50 degrees colder than the high here. The low was below freezing. During the night, I sprawl out underneath a fan and an open window to keep cool. It's still winter there and whatever was winter here is long gone. This is the beginning of the unbearably hot buildup to the summer monsoon season. I am trying to time my arrival back in Portland to "Daytime highs will reach the mid-seventies today. A great day to head out to the coast."
So after a hiatus from this blog, I am back on for a bit. I am back because of a few friends who kept tapping me on the shoulder to start again, to bring myself a little closer. It will be difficult (and it will cost me a fortune at this internet cafe) to recount or summarize where I have been and what I have done in the last two months. Soundbyte: Most of it was in Nepal. Some wonderful adventures in the mountains and exploring Kathmandu. Rest and good eatings. I made many photographs. Today I spent time editing through the ones from Kathmandu, watching slide-shows of these memories and awake dreams. I listened to music while I watched images fade into another and another and I realized that there was something amazing in the collection. There was a thread and a beauty and a new looseness in the work that I really like. I feel excited to see them big.
I've got a confirmation for a Portland show in June. More info on this later.
Ciao friends. Thank you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

now i have an excuse to fly up to portland in june. you better show me around when i'm up there.

stay safe,