This post is an ode to Bhavpreet; an artist, who happens to be a photographer. And I happen to be her husband. Being in the industry of media I come across people from various streams of life, and never have I seen such enthusiasm to travel as I’ve seen in Bhavpreet; be it winter, summer or pissing down right from the heavens, nothing will stop her. While on one of her fashion shoots she muttered, “How much makeup are we going to put on?”. I found it quite bemusing that she would mutter about “our makeup” especially since we were behind the camera. She no longer remembers saying that when I insist she did. She wasn’t judging the models, but ourselves, and the make-believe world we’d created. This make-believe world had kept us happy, and the more settled we got the more restless we felt. It had us feeling insignificant and restricted. And then in those lights and the entire shebang we were looking for a way out. The irony!
This trip to Ladakh is one of those many trips we’ve made since.
How we perceive the world through our given senses? Take the example of this night photo above, which is a long exposure one. While we can see the details through a camera technique, many animals have these techniques inbuilt. So, what is night for us is not necessarily dark for other living beings. Now, I can begin to imagine how it could affect their psyche, or rather the other way around is true; in the quest for survival they evolved into these beings who are different than us. In a surreal sort of way this applies to us as well. Well, I don’t mean we could develop night-vision instantaneously, but we can bend and evolve our mind if we have the intent to do something we didn’t know we could do before.
We have these fringe feelings. Feelings that dominated out thoughts in childhood; remember those random questions our parents had no answers for? Then they would compliment us for “asking smart questions”! Then we would forget about them in an attempt to grow up. Putting that VIBGYOR around our being, brackets that keep us in control, make us more socially acceptable. Ladakh made me think that maybe we have the capacity to go beyond the VIBGYOR, beyond the Ultra-Violets and Infra-Reds. Maybe re-aligning your compass might help, where your ultra-violets and infra-reds don’t remain extreme ends of your imagination but become rather fully realized parts of your conscience within your ever expanding range of thought.
You must have realised by now, after ignoring the title of this blog that I’m going to tell you fuckall about Ladakh!
The cycle of being.
There is no better place to think about the cycle of being than in the abode of the Himalayas. Formed by the shift of tectonic plates, wouldn’t it have havoc-ed ravage in pre-himalayan plains? Havoc would be an understatement. But out of this apocalyptic natural phenomenon we now savor the fruits of nature; its beauty, its air, the cultures that evolved from it.
This proves that the cycle continues, whether we want it, or like it, or not. This takes me to an instance- After Leh we visited Uttarkhand for the second time, this time in the Rishikesh-Chopta areas. While in Rishikesh the feeling of the 2013 floods hung heavy in all our conversations. That night, in my homestay room, I woke up for a bathroom break and saw the Ganga through my window, we had the closest room to riverbank. She wasn’t even aroused, she was her calm best, but such was the momentum of her and the air around because of her, that I realized what a tiny spec I am in that cosmic force. It instantly connected me to the studio we were shooting in Mumbai; both the situations made me feel small, that Mumbai studio and The Ganga here, the only difference was the later was liberating.
Destruction is a way of life as much as birth, and life will bring destruction, as much as destruction will bring life. That is our Ying Yang. What happens through human intent in the epochs in-between builds our collective intelligence and imagination; my unsolicited 2 cents!
It became evident through our travel that while we were seeking faces with no makeup, seeking the real people, they were vehemently seeking for a life like ours. What I really saw was a mere reflection of myself in them; The Unity of us.
I was never interested in explaining Ladakh as a landscape, but more as a mindscape; the later influenced by the former ofcourse. We can say this about a few places in India, a fascinating land fast evolving into the new homogenised western worldview we call “Progress”. My parents were always worried, just like I am now, that nothing of our nation would be left for the future generations to savor. But then, here we are, savoring it alright! The nation, like nature, will find a way to thrive.