Thursday, November 29, 2007

অিম িকছু জািননা

Zigatola

Rubbish dump at the entrance of the Zigatola residential area. They do have a system, I just can't figure out what it is yet. The other is the shoreline of the Buriganga River that just happens to look like a dump.

Uploaded more stuff, two of which are shown here as a not-so-subtle and completely indulgent reflection of current inner turmoil.

Inner turmoil. Very Mill on the Floss, my friends. There was a storm, and there was a flood. I suppose all I need now is a boat.



Buriganga


I went down to the Buddhist temple in Bashabo a few days ago. On a whim, and on a bad leg, so that makes it a strong whim. An irrational gesture since I am not religious, but religion and culture cross paths all the time, and what I was looking for was the comfort of familiarity, the going-through-of-the-motions, and that sweet smell of incense.

Picking up Bangla script - and hence the title - which makes me feel thankful for being Chinese because if Bangla is this difficult - I can't imagine having to learn Mandarin now. Probably shows up as gibberish unless you've the unicode installed or change the language settings.

Shall refrain from translation, because my god I've been enough of a drama queen already. Australian Club having a BBQ which I have been kindly invited along - what, is the word Beer etched all over my face? I guess so, even though I don't really feel like drinking - and I shall go now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kushtia

Probably a bad idea to upload so many photos at a time. Overload! but the recent Kushtia and Durga Puja - Faces photos are up.


IMG_1292.jpg

Should've written about shooting Durga Puja because I was on a mind-numbing adrenaline high most of the time, hanging off the side of a lorry by hooking my arm onto a rope next to huge speakers blasting dance tunes till my ear drums hurt and trying very hard not to fall off as I shot the mad dancing crowd following the vehicle a la Pied Piper and his rats.

Durga Puja - Faces


Plenty more daily life stuff to come. Edited but slightly strained on the time factor so will upload another day.

The only meat I have eaten in the past one week is a single dish of fried fish three days ago. Oh, and eggs. Still an accomplishment for someone who was addicted to KFC. But then again, I now only need one meal (the rice/noodle kind of meal) a day, not counting eggs in the morning if I've the time or a shingara in the afternoon if I start to feel hungry. So its partially because I have less opportunities to be a meat consumer.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Moving On

Haven't felt like this since I was 17.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

This Must Be What Happy Drugs Feel Like

First of all, this is all thanks to Rajiv who ignored my whines about lousy photos and submitted them on my behalf anyway.

Untitled-1

Of course, the feeling is best experienced in full screen, an emotion which unfortunately only I can appreciate, but would like to share nonetheless, and you can happy along with me by clicking on this link.

OH WAIT. I've a better idea. Why don't we just head over to World Pictures Network and type in my name in the search box.


I know. Many many nasty things will be said about this unabashed display of self-indulgence. It's no big deal. Photos are bad. Probably won't get any money from it (though god knows I need it man). My friends have long had their work out on the international scene in way more prestigious settings. I'm not even a staff photographer. And worse of all? I'm in joy at seeing a photo of a woman in pain.

Just please, I just want five minutes to stare at my name on that page. It's small but it's there, and its my name.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ami Ki Chu Nai (I Have Nothing)

I debated writing this in a three-parter series, but seeing the amount of work I have, it might be better to finish it off in one shot.

"Don't try to be a hero." My father is particularly fond of saying this to me. He was quite wrong though. I wasn't trying to be a hero when I rushed off to Purang Dhaka, zipping through the roads on the back of Antu's bike, trying to make it in time to grab us a seat on the last launch leaving for Patuakhali in Barisal.

I wasn't trying to be a hero when I made the decision to go, I was trying to do something differently for once - which basically includes the act of doing something rather than sit and whine about how I wish I could.

And I certainly wasn't trying to be a hero when I got on the motorbike. It was our only option to reach the villages. The roads was busted, and we had a time constraint - plus everyone used these taxi motorbikes to get around.

So the three of us hopped on, and I certainly had no heroic intentions when I ended up sitting at the back. Perhaps just didn't want to be squashed in the middle.

Maybe, just maybe, I was wearing a secret red cape without me realising it, burrowed deep in my consciousness along with my domesticated, submissive self.

But whatever the heroics I may have had, I can assure you that there was none when I screamed in pain as my right foot got caught in the back wheel of the motorbike as we sped down the country road.

I don't really know how it happened, and I am thankful I did not break anything and that I am now back on my feet and capable of walking (slowly) unassisted. I am thankful I had the good sense to cling on and resist all urges to fling myself off the bike and onto the ground. I am thankful that only skin came off, although I really don't like looking at my flesh too much.

Well it all sounds worse than it really is.

I could post a photo of my swollen and blue-black foot that looks like something out of a drowning incident, but what I really want to express is how much I wanted to hit myself for my sheer stupidity. I've run out of things to blame.

But anyway, this post is not about me.

This post is about them, which I cannot do justice to because I was utterly useless. At one point one of them tried to find me a walking stick, and the irony of everything was too much and I sat down in the middle of the destroyed and muddied marketplace and just cried.

My injury made a mockery of their loss. And for that, I want to apologise. But to who? I don't know.

The photo set is up. I have no time right now to do the captions again. I am aware there are spelling errors.


IMG_3053

IMG_3176

IMG_3190

They came to me, since I couldn't really move away and was walking too slowly or sitting down for most of the time. "Ami ki chu nai," they all said. They wrung their hands to express their nothingness.

Some had it worse than others. Some drowned, others survived. Some have half a house left, others have nothing.

I still can't quite reconcile that a cyclone did this. It looked too much like an earthquake, the way the ground had been wrought open.

So I am sorry, I wasted a lot of people's time and caused a lot of worry all because I didn't know where and how to put my foot on a 100cc Honda motorbike. I don't know why, I really just want to apologise to someone for all this.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Eye of the Storm

The cyclone came and left, and I could spin a whole story but I am right now on an extreme caffeine high made worse by the fact that I've been trying since last night to get my ass down to the coastal areas and all my competitive and ambitious drives are kicking in full kiasu-overtime so I am having a bit of difficulty just breathing at the moment.

Living with no water supply and electricity for over 24 hour is not really an ordeal but the mobile networks were down and the information blackout was really too much to bear.

The death toll so far is 1,100 but as we all know, the first day figures are never the right ones.

Slightly mad rush in the market area yesterday as candles were snapped up and sold out everywhere (at a ridiculously inflated price) and bottles of water taken off the shelf. Personally almost sprained my back carrying up buckets and bottles of water to my fourth floor apartment from the reserve water tank below.

I ran through all the worse case scenarios. The candles we had would last us for one or two more days, but the water would not.

I had half expected the situation to last for a few more days, and had heard reports confirming this, but early this morning at around 2am there was a flicker in the bulb of the ceiling and my roommates gasped. The lights came on and the fan starting whirring and the whole of Zigatola was treated to the very very loud shrieks of a Singaporean girl who never thought she would be so fucking happy just to be able to say "Yes, we had light last night."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Not so hollow

Who would've thought that the secret to tolerating, no, enjoying, the whiny refrains of James Blunt would simply be a cold, rainy Thursday morning with a steaming cup of tea and a warm jacket wrapped all around.

Apparently I'm in a confessional mood today.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sigh.

I shall write off a quick note about life and its mistress Irony because I am desperately trying to avoid sinking into my usual zombified post-afternoon slumber, which in my defence, is completely biological (proving the ingenuity of the Mexicans and their siestas) and thus not a result of my unwise choice to talk about music genres with my roommate till unprofessional hours of the morning.

As you may be well aware, I have a rather ridiculous obsession with the feline variety and its offspring, or for that matter, an innate affection for almost any sort of wildlife lucky enough not to be called by the names of mosquito, caterpillar, cockroach and flea - because these are not animals, they are spawns of the Devil and put on this earth to make my life miserable and hence I am justified in my hate.

And yes, I have reflected upon my feline obsession and have concluded that it is likely an evolutionary consequence and a self-defence mechanism since we are all intelligent human beings (some more than others) and if we figure out (consciously or subconsciously) that some creatures (like other human beings) are generally not worth the effort, time and obsession - we naturally find other more intelligent creatures (like cats) to divert our obsession towards.

We thus come to the point of my post which I promised would include the slut-child called Irony. I have been trying very hard not to indulge myself in my feline obsession because the last time that happened I ended up breaking the law which is sacrosanct in Singapore and most other countries (I think). And I also ended up with not one but three cats.

So, I think I deserve an award for having dutifully stayed away from cats in the last one month and not feeding them or showing them any form of affection which is about as easy as me turning vegetarian, and that says a lot.

But, (there's always a 'but') one night I came back to the apartment to see a very nice calico cat sitting quite daintily and right smack by the gate I had to pass in order to get home. I figured, I have been so good for so long, and I have no food on me anyway, there's no harm in just smiling and looking, right?

Wrong. Because just as I knelt down to get a closer look something else tumbled out of the darkness behind Calico, which I thought was a large rat at first, but with my kind of luck, it turned out to be a goddamn fluffy black kitten with the bushiest tail in the world, and it proceeded to display insane levels of cuteness. Its sibling, Kitten Number 2, tumbled out right after it and all three cats went on to merrily destroy the carefully constructed feline-proof walls I had built around me.

How did I end up living in an apartment block that was also home to two fluffy kittens and one calico cat? I'm not too sure, but I think that slut-child has something to do with it.








Sunday, November 04, 2007

This email made my day.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "a Ugandan photographer" <xxx@yahoo.com>
Date: Nov 4, 2007 5:06 PM
Subject: Re: Yes I would like to know more.

Dear Jessica
This is more of a miracle than a reality. It is hard to believe, but hear it is before me. Last week I was searching the internet for a possible promoter abroad - in where in the world but had not found any yet. But within the 7 days, you come in with an offer.

I'm just so happy.

Man and Beast

Man and Beast

The guys hired a boat and we cruised down the Gorai River, one of the many tributaries of the mighty Ganges, which carried the melt and monsoon waters from southwest Bangladesh down to the Gulf of Bengal.

I wondered where my sandals were.

Two years ago, my sandals broke as I walked along the riverbed. The Gorai River was almost completely dried up then. Many rivers in Bangladesh are seasonal according to the monsoon, and man also have a serious sedimentation problem.

So I gamely left my sandals on the fine, fine sand in the middle of the water-less valley. So much for responsible tourism.

Now, the river is full and almost threatening to burst it banks in some areas. The river cliffs showed heavy signs of erosion - clearly, the Gorai River was back in business.

We stopped at an embankment before turning back, and I wandered off towards the sunset. As I approached a steep and muddied slope leading down to a stream which connected to the main river, I saw a man bathing his two magnificent water buffalos.

I think this is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

I used to say that I would cry if I ever had a chance to see a whale up close, but I suppose my tear ducts are cheap that way because I was utterly moved at the sight of these two creatures.

I knelt at the edge of the slope till my legs went numb and their bath was over. The old, wizened man coaxed his beasts up the slope and towards me, and I stood up and fought all my better instincts to run. And so I stood, quite literally face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder to a creature of such beauty and raw strength, and there are really no words to describe how I felt at that moment.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A funny thing happened last night when I discovered my iBook's Voice-Over feature and I had a fine time humiliating my laptop and making him say all kinds of nasty things that would make my roommate blush if she heard me.

So this is what it has come down to. Having fake and self-constructed conversations with my iBook array of voices (My favourite's Bruce, because he sounds like he means it).

But I swear it's horribly fun.