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The wonder box


Camera.
Its an amusement park packed into a small box really.
Holding it by its grip transforms the world around. At times, it turns me into a detective out to capture secrets of the world no one was supposed to known. Most other times, after clicking the camera on, I recede into inconsequence to the surrounding. Much like fishing, I do not stir and I consciously remove myself from the life of the world moving by. I wait and I move slowly. The act of anticipation is so beautiful, its almost meditative. But then the pictures I tend to take are anything but striking. While taking the picture, I do not attempt at crystallizing a metaphor of life in a frame, or even to depict a representation of some facet of life. I just try to remember through my camera how awesome the life is. So more often my videos are like photographs (still and intent) and my photographs are like videos (not restricted to just one element, context included).
With my camera, a sort of calm stillness fills me. I enjoy the heightened awareness locating me in my surrounding that the camera lends me.

But often, camera becomes the bridge for conversation.
I was walking one evening on Mui ne beach. I was wearing your average tourist attire of a t-shirt and shorts with a big black camera slung around my neck. At places like these, I become all the more aware that I am a tourist and so I tend to take photographs exclusively of non human curiosities such as landscapes, patterns, insects and so on. I have talked about my views about taking pictures of people or portraits here.
So when I passed by this gentleman here, I stopped for a moment. He was busy in his craft and enjoying it. It was an ideal opportunity for a good photograph. But due to my shyness I couldn't bring myself to ask him if I may, lest I disturb him. He looked up from between his brows and glasses towards me and noticing my awkwardness, gave out a genial laugh smile and started asking "indo? indo?" I said "no no" suspecting that he mistook me to be from Indonesia. (well, in Vietnam, I think, not many brown folks like me have ever gone. People usually thought we were from Malaysia. But turns out, he was guessing right, Indo is India in Vietnamese. Dumb me. ) And then he asked me about the camera. :D

Well, as I started to take the lid off the camera, he became a lot more conscious and less elderly all of a sudden. Its as if he didn't expect to be photographed ever. He was confused and started laughing in incredulity. He tried to get busy with his craft again trying to not pay me attention while I took his photo. It was wonderful.
Then this curious gentleman arrived with a lot of questions to ask and stories to tell.

He wanted to know where I came from, what do I do and if I would care for a smoke. :)
Seeing that I was curious about the boat and having seen me earlier observing them taking the boat to sea, he started to tell me about his boat. Well, obviously none of us knew a common language. All these talk was happening in dumb charades. So after a point when both of us were a bit tired of moving our hands and repeating words slowly we fell silent. He then struck a pose and asked me to take his picture.
Moving along the beach further up, I came across a few women and children. The mothers were trying to feed the little ones. Apart from one, the two other would just not eat anything and would run away. So when I passed by with a smile, the mothers greeted me and asked me to take picture of their lovely kids; partly to use that little time to feed them some more and partly because they were just so proud of their beautiful children.
At first, the kids were still in awe. A weird man, brown in color, talking in an alien language was smiling at them and pointing a big camera towards them. They were curiosity personified.
I had removed my slippers while taking the pics and while I was busy teasing the kids, ocean waves came and took my slippers away. I started running after them and when i got them back and was besides the children again, I found them laughing and being excited. Hey, making a fool of yourself always wins you friends. :)
This one wanted my camera. "with great cameras, comes great responsibilities mister." so i said to him in my head. :)

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