Saturday, 31 March 2012

something to learn. at least...

chair, brown bread bakery, varanasi, 28th march 2012

Lying is a question of definition, cultural context.

Here so often people are telling me half truth or lies, excuses which do not makes sense, over exaggerations. ‘My bike broke down’; ‘I just fell asleep’.  ‘It is the only place in unique examples or stereotypes I am not sure.  But they do.  I am not angree. Not at all. Just makes me think.

i am very bad in lying. I flush, get brightly pink. One time I used the pass of a friend to get for free into the swimming pool. Just pas normally my friend said. I passed the guard, over suspicious quick. He stopped me, saw the pass, asked. I hesitated. I di not know what to say, so close to tell the truth. 

All was fine at the end, friend jumped in, said something about a mix up of passes, the guard did not say anything. I am ashamed.

plant, brown bread bakery, varanasi, 28th march 2012
sometimes i think lying is not lying depending on the context. is like swearing or laughing, interpreted and executed depending on the cultural and historical context and accepted its execution depending on the definition of the majority of people.

even in the same cultural context their is personal context, character and talent. talent for lying, laughing, swearing. 

what is the truth then? a question of standart rules, regulations, reglements.

the church has, definitely. the government, even the family. in theory. in practice practicality, pragmatically and aim are sometimes overshadowing the standart rules.

picture, brown bread bakery, varanasi, 28th march 2012
so what happens when most of the society thinks lying is good, such as laughing, or swearing. like saying shit, apologizing and then forgetting about it.

i love talking loud, scream and be far too direct. during my life in england i am sure i offended probably far too many people within a short amount of time, because i said everything i thought.

is it the same like lying?

classroom, brown bread bakery, varanasi, 28th march 2012

the philosophers..

agnieska, roof top of guesthouse, varanasi, 29th march 2012

the gravy was from agnieska and her grandmother. Or better say her grandmothers forests mushroom. from polan. the bread from the german bakery. in india.

my father would be proud of me. he would be. the dumblings had the perfect mixture. Outside a bit week so you can perfectly cut it in half, inside a bit dry so it soaks up the creamy gravy.

It is my last day in varansi. I decided to leave early and rescue myself to goa. 2 days journey at least, 1500 ruppees too much and no air conditioning in the mean time.


lizzard, roof top of guesthouse, varanasi, 29th march 2012

Two lizzards are fighting. The big one and the small one. small one doesn’t catch any insects today, the big one is on the go.

the small one is annoyed, hangs downwards and looks into the empty space. all the bugs are the other way.

Jelousy, annoyance, Frustration does not get you anywhere and does not help. Not sure if that is so hindi like.

Miwosh, roof top of guesthouse, varanasi, 29th march 2012

Varanasi was not the best place for my work as a journalist. Maybe, not for me. One project did not work out because the guy wanted to have money, the other one was too conflicted within internal neighborhood disagreements, another one because of a lack of communication and admittance of the lack and the last one broke down because. I don’t know.

Emotional involvement in the last thing you are allowed within journalistic work. being distant and controlled is an important subject matter. Being that or at least the trial of that allows you to step back and not get hurted. Or affected or asking unreasonable parts.


That’s the theory.


legs, roof top of guesthouse, varanasi, 29th march 2012

praying to god or any god is very difficult for me. coming from a strong katholic (a as probably 99 % in my area)  I grew up with the idea of a higher power. natural as it is, but coming from a very analytic education i step back and see it more as a depending on the context fantastic institution. which keeps people in a very systematic way together. which god I do not care.

and in between I believe in something like destiny. and the greater idea everything is for the best. as it should be. So maybe not too far away what hindusimus should teach u.
rooftop, roof top of guesthouse, varanasi, 29th march 2012

Friday, 30 March 2012

big spender..

stall, dashashwamedh ghat, varanasi, march 2012
india is a bit in a crisis. Nobody likes politicians really. Actually they get blaimed for everything,


shivas, stall, dashashwamedh ghat, varanasi, march 2012
Varanasi and its surrounding has a new government representitive- not sure if you can call him like that.

He is beginning 30, mother Austrian, Father Indian, rich background, worked in a good company for Even German Status excellent Money. And he decided to become politicians

I wanna give something back. our country is not getting anywhere.

Politicians know how to talk, that is why they are politicians. would be nice to hear one time somebody staying i like to be a politician because it gives me power. But truth, Even so ist is Really truth, is never be liked.
 
you know one thing i did, he continued, After being in charge i did not change my number.

I looked, waited.

usually before the elections you give everybody the phone number and afterwards you change it, because everybody is calling you. even if you have an assistant and even during the night. even so it is about a broken angle.

we are sitting at the breakfast table. A quite calm breakfast with just 2 phone calls. maybe stress is a question of definition. but he is convincing, tells me about going from village to village to check if every doctor is on position. which they are not, in one case he saw, in a lot of cases, he assumes. he understand, payment is low. so maybe fixing times, he suggest.


stall 2, stall, dashashwamedh ghat, varanasi, march 2012
also one thing is corruption. difficult subject.

He has enough money, he is not corrupt, he says. corruption bring's dependency, comittment. No corruption bring's fear. fear, as Hegel says, keeps people together, is crucial cause without fear there are no boundries.

the doctors are scared now. he can always, any time appear. And to step over the biggest head in the hirarchy is never a good idea, even in a country where money counts.


stalls 3 to 5, stall, dashashwamedh ghat, varanasi, march 2012
one thing i realized. the problem i think what politicians have and everything which started small and ended big. At the beginning you have your dreams and then they suddenly disappear in every day life matters and the desired aim is out of sight,

He is for maybe in charge for a month. hopefully he is not looking his dreams within visiting doctors and checking on them.

bathing, ghat, varanasi, march 2012

fashion addicts

emunata, assi ghat, varanasi, march 2012
i love how tourist are dressed. foreign tourist who are coming to india. they all wear some kind of baggi trousers, love t shirts and scarfs. in between a lot of jewellery, all kind of bags and even more hennah.

I started to do the project because i thought it is in some points funny. i could make a lough about them. about their foolishness dressing up in a pretentious way. defending indias ownership rights kind of.

but i kind of was wrong.  not just with the clothes. people were nice, excited, talkative, above all naive and interested. and the pictures looked great. the clothes did not look stupid, unshaped on them. wrong texture and wrong style.

maxim and hannah, assi ghat, varanasi, march 2012
people are people are people. just because you have some certain stereotypes in your head they mustn't be right. above all. even they are very personal stereotypes.

back in new york i got always a bit intimidated by those people. those people were living in fancy styled up apartment, work on a bit rusty mac lap tops, ate in in cool restaurants, dressed perfectly understated and relaxed in a sensational perfect way imperfect and were just simple untouchable. because they did not care. the hipsters.

none of the hipster would describe themselves as a hipster. it is a negative associated word among hipsters and non hipsters.

often i thought i am like them. people see me as such. cause i might be like that. casual style, nice place in kind of fancy area, eat healthy and have a mac.i would not consider myself as self confident, ignorant and arrogant.

self perception is sometimes different form how other people perceive you.

shimi, assi ghat, varanasi, march 2012

just a game?

cake and hands, assi ghat, varanasi, 28th march 2012

I spend a week with them. roughly after alka left. sat there, talked and went home them. came every night. bought one flower . every night. kind of.

we talked a lot, fought a bit, they used my camera, i took images of them, kind of a deal. we had fun. it felt good, honest.

cake, assi ghat, varanasi, 28th march 2012

appreciation and how you define it depends on your upbringing. that's as usual.

My parents. Brought me up to work. this at least was what i said, apparently, to my relatives, when i was 10 years old.

These kids hated me at the end and hopefully the one guy i bought the flowers from as well.

I had a deal and i keep deals. cause i keep a promisse. otherwice it would be wrong. I asked him 2 times to release the deal. but he did not. so i could not do anything cause everything would give a wrong impression.
 

the deal was an early deal. I thought ist was a fun deal. i would buy on my last day all the flowers from one child. thought it would be fun to light all of them with my friends.

Those days i did not know all the other kids.

I brought cake on my last day. and wanted to bring Sprite. but did not. When i came the shop was closed. but i came on time. the kids ate the cake, but not the one. the oldest of them who was actually to old for selling flowers but still did it because there was nothing else he could do.

He die not touch the cake. I offered him, one time, two times.

 

the day before he said he would not eat the cake unless i would release the deal. I could not, because my parents taught me to keep a promise.

Afterwards i thought to give them money. to lie at them and tell them i sold the flowers. to be cheeky and show them i am actually a good one.

I did not. not because of just the lying, just because i have to suffer for my stupidity to make such a deal, to keep such a deal.



the older one was one the closest one to me within those two weeks. he waited two times the whole afternoon for me and i did not come because i did not think we would meet. 

i still can't make any stupid jokes about this incident.
boy, assi ghat, varanasi, 28th march 2012
These kids hated me at the end and hopefully the one guy i bought the flowers from as well.

I had a deal and i keep deals. cause i keep a promisse. otherwice it would be wrong. I asked him 2 times to release the deal. but he did not. so i could not do anything cause everything would give a wrong impression.
 

the deal was an early deal. I thought ist was a fun deal. i would buy on my last day all the flowers from one child. thought it would be fun to light all of them with my friends.

Those days i did not know all the other kids.

I brought cake on my last day. and wanted to bring Sprite. but did not. When i came the shop was closed. but i came on time. the kids ate the cake, but not the one. the oldest of them who was actually to old for selling flowers but still did it because there was nothing else he could do.

He did not touch the cake. I offered him, one time, two times. the day before he said he would not eat the cake unless i would release the deal. I could not, because my parents taught me to keep a promise.



flowerkid, assi ghat, varanasi, 28th march 2012
Afterwards i thought to give them money. to lie at them and tell them i sold the flowers. to be cheeky and show them i am actually a good one.

I did not. not because of just the lying, just because i have to suffer for my stupidity to make such a deal, to keep such a deal.



the older one was one the closest one to me within those two weeks. he waited two times the whole afternoon for me and i did not come because i did not think we would meet. 

i still can't make any stupid jokes about this incident.

Monday, 26 March 2012

o a bit of an internal discussion

my 2nd guesthouse, assi ghat, varanasi, march 2012


i am in a dilemma. the topic I thought about today thought a friend of mine before. when she was in varanasi. now she is not anymore here. but i am here. I want to earn money. the topic is good and interesting and important.

I wanna do it for a small newspaper, text, one image. she wants to do it extensive. intense lot of pictures. different publications for sure. would i prefer hers? i guess yes. can i do it? no.

so what to do?

i always see all this photographers in a war. coming in a trouble, following the same traces ending up with the same picture. who had the idea?

i guess it is about the detail. sometimes. depends. everybody takes pictures of football but pep bonet took pictures of football players without leg. everybody takes portraits of people on the street, but bresson did in such a way you never forget the faces. etc. etc. that’s photography internal discussion.

boy, ghat, varanasi, march 2012
i always steal ideas. content and visually. I go out, look, read, listen.  that’s research I guess. but when do you stop stealing? When somebody talks next to you about a shop that sells steps to the moon or when somebody just mentions there is a shop somewhere in the world. Do you stop because a stranger writes it in a paper or because it is your friend?

and what is stealing. can I claim copyrights on my visual style as well. I take pictures with people standing in the middle so you are not allowed to. Nowadays it is said there is nothing new. everything is done. In writing, in music, in photography. i am always wondering if they said this already 200 years ago. not with photography, maybe with writing. and then came schiller.



Thursday, 22 March 2012

the result...

clothes, manikarnika ghat, varanasi, march 2012


she looked at the money, her old hand turned around the note 50 rupees. Her face disappointed. i am sitting at the floor. The guy next to me. People are spending usually 500 1000 rupees. For her blessing.

the walls are written with words, cannot read it. What does it mean , i ask. He does not know. She does not know. She just gives s me a quick blessing. Touches over my head. Next to her a bit to eat, a bowl, a jar. no furniture. But spacious and pen view on the ganges and the funeral place.

I took a picture. Just one. there was no funeral happening. So I thought it is ok. Probably it was.. for everyone. Except from this guy. Stood next to me. Started to talk. I said it is ok. I did not know. He carried on. About a fight, happened yesterday, about permission, costing a lot of money and about the hospice and donations for the wood, for poor people who are dying in the hospice alone. Fair enough.

I agreed cause I understood, a deal and I was curious, so I went with him.

Tourism is business and everybody needs money. And in tourism money comes from people. Very straight forward. And that is ok.  You want something and somebody is giving it to you and the exchange is money. So he was right not me.
But there is no fixed deal. I did not know. An invisible deal. Still a deal.

just imagine. You would be not allowed to do take an imagine of the statue of liberty? Or the Odeonsplatz, or the Berkircherl in my village. If not you need to pay or you threatened.

In my village there are so little tourist you search for places tourist wanna come. Threating would be the last thing tasks them for.

But communication is a question of cultural context and language matter o ability. Both I s my perspective and not them.

I gave her the money, stood up, left. did not say anything, walked down the dirty stone stairs into the funeral area, covered with piles of wood.

‘ if you wanna take imagine of the place I know guy you can give money can give him money for that’
I look at him. Wait. I think I holy this place and the death of people and prefer not to take an imagine in order to honor them’

Guess that what you should do anyway.

‘ can I get a bit of money for me?’
I looked at him. Surprised.
No

He left quick, into one direction, I am into the other. Guess our communication was clear.

just to make a point.


pupils, along the ghats, varanasi, march 2012

the black river- the ganges is also called here. because of pollution.

Nothing new. already since 1985 organisation under people such as rajiv gandhi try to do sth, something, but instead it just seems they spend money. 

The pollution and the ganges seems to be one of the typical india cases. There is a need, there is a ngo and there is money. but no effect. varanasi is own of the worst areas of the ganges pollution.
            
pupils, along the ghats, varanasi, march 2012

A long line of kids standing along the riverside, they are holding hand. Some quietly, some bored, waiting. It should take today an hour. An hour of quiet demonstration. About 200 or 300 schools are participating, the teacher said. Not sure if that is true but it is a lot. The line last from assi ghat till the main ghat, almost. Somebody is sharing out biscuits, may favorite biscuits actually. Perfect in texture, thick, bity but not too hard, and sweet but not too sweet, ideal breakfast.




The ganges is in varansi the holy water. If you die in varanasi and you are burned next to the ganges and your bones are sinking into the water you get into nirvana apparently. Also the water helps you. Like holy water do. and if not it is definitely good for a dip, daily bath and washing your cloth. Also good for getting rid of any waste from factories and homes.

speaker, pupils, along the ghats, varanasi, march 2012
Usually locals and Indian tourist jump into the water (also a holy measurement). 3 times diving, a ritual for spirituality. I never saw foreigners, not one. Except from yesterday. 4 girls, one guy, did not see them in the water, but outside wet.

“Yes of course we will have a shower”

“ and why do you do it”

“ because everybody is doing it”

not entirely sure if they consider that the water is transferring illnesses such as cholera, dyptherie etc...
girls, along the ghats, varanasi, march 2012

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

sometimes a bit is missing....

shiva, jain ghat, varanasi, march 2012

i discovered him out of the nowhere. i turned around and there he was, naked, just with a bit of clothes around his male parts, a stick and totally covers with white ash, even his hair, rastas, thick. he was walking though the crowed, his face moving in all kind of directions.

i need to love. i was s sorry, but i could not help it.

if you ask me  anything about india i have to pass. basing my knowledge around the magazine economy and the movie slum dog millionaire my knowledge about india and varanasi does pretty not exist. ashram and ayuveda seem to be me for the same and nothing.


that’s ok I guess. knowledge can be transferred in different ways and perception is a good aspect to acknowledge. not knowing what to expect or better that any expectations enables for a different perspectives. but also just different and my research for projects is very slow.

the most of the people who are coming here have an idea. varanasi is an old city, the oldest in India. It is well know for its ghats, its temples and its holiness. originally a pilgrimage place people come here to pray. those days mostly from india, probably, nowadays for all over the worlds.

they are listening, praying, meditating. young guys are mostly found next to the shamans. smoking a joint or looking into the river, the woman are into meditation and yoga retreatments and in between you find the experts for ayuveda and music.

western world is starving for the presence, the quietness for a slow motion in there life, or just for something different. identification and image is inclusive. before and afterwards.

the shaman are moving away at the moment. apparently, because praying is not easy anymore nowadays. they are searching for quieter place.

reminds me a bit on gentrification in london or new york.

my shiva is moving around, trying t find a spot where he can sit. some people look at him, some people just ignoring it.

there is a birthday party for a child. the music is loud. he walks through the dancing kids, settles down in the middle of all the partying people.

birthdayparty, ghat, varanasi, march 2012

a good day...

selling, janaki ghat, varanasi, march 2012

it was a good day for them. actually a damn good day. not sure where the entire tourist coming from. they were indian. in front of the ghat. stranded there, just before the ceremony in the evening and the kids, the flower candle seller were jumping on them.

they were quick. shouting, multitasking, serving one customer and keeping an eye out for the next one, not forgetting to take the money at the end. that’s important.

on of these flower candles cost 5 rupees. you have to light them up, drop them into the gangehes around sunrise or sunset. it should give luck.

for the kids it gives money.


selling, janaki ghat, varanasi, march 2012

i see every day the same characters again, mornings and evenings.  The guy on the assi ghat who wants to convince us to by 5 candles for each 5 rupees, smiling. He is a quite tall, trouser pulled up, tight together with a belt. Very proper dressed.

or the little girl from tulsi ghat, which tends to spend at least 10 minutes trying to convince customers to buy a candle of hers, runs along with them, sits next to them, talks, just looks at them, till they buy.

or the one i met. he had a yellow shirt, i took images, he asked me. one time, two times. I said no. out of principle cause I wanted to do it at the end. Because if I would do it now I would do it everyday and with everyone. Too many kids here. Every other minute one kid asks me.

bad excuse. i have to find a fair system. but do i have to find a fair system?  is it then about pittiness rather than respect and equality. 

guy, selling, janaki ghat, varanasi, march 2012

Your shirt fits to your flowers- I say
Yes I know- he smiles. Wide, open mouth. He might be around 10, sometimes difficult to say.
I smile
Do u want to buy flowers, you can buy whole basket for 100 rupees- he asks again.
I am thinking.

That would be fun. A whole basket at the last day. All for me, a bed of flowers. Would be fun. i smile.
Ok- I have a deal- on the last day I buy your whole basket for 100 rupees. But just on my last day.
he smiles, i smile. we shake hands. deal. Is it equal and fair? not sure. but it is not pittiness. That’s for sure.

guy, selling, janaki ghat, varanasi, march 2012

without words...

computer, brown bread bakery, varanasi, march 2012

he was typing. looked on and off up. checked the room. he was actually a waitress. one of them who is working at the german bakery and restaurant in varanasi.

i got to know him a day before. or two. when i was invited to the hostel, their hostel. to sit on top of the roof top with them, to have a chai.

he read out of my hand.

today he was typing on his computer. the service was slow. very calm mood. i took images, for a project, from him, from the guest.

he said to me he was studying astrology. can read out of the hand. i understand.

i went around the table, sat next to him. looked over his shoulders.

it was a childresn computer, a little screen in the the middle of the big creen. a normal keyborard at the bottom. he talked to me, typed  the keyboard. words.

the wall

wall 1, ghat, varanasi, march 2012

wall 2, ghat, varanasi, march 2012


wall 3, ghat, varanasi, march 2012

what a night

coming from the cinema, somewheer in varanasi, march 2012







coming from the cinema, somewheer in varanasi, march 2012


a deal...

waste, assi ghat, varanasi, 19th march 2012

he was ideal. eloquent, intelligent, smart, teenager, eager and living in my area. and I met him again,

raul.

the first time i met raul was in a restaurant. he came with a woman, white, had some food. did not hear any conversation. only thought- what are they talking about?

the second time i met raul on the way home with asmita and alka. after eating we went home and stopped. said he saw us again. i was the German lady. spoke about boat rides and if we want to do it and that it would cost very little. He talked about experience in varanasi, asked a lot of questions.

he rode on his too big bike next to us and seems so major. we said yes to the boat ride.

the fourth time I saw him a day later,
 you missed the boatride. I said.
he said I know. and told me first about something, than about his brother would have done him something in his drink. Some sayings. i was not interested if he was lying or not, but wanted to talk to him. an interview. ideally a project. I was happy to see him.

The last time I saw him was after the interview. we argued about money. kind of.


raul's brother or cousin, assi ghat, varanasi, 19th march 2012

he asked me for 5 euro note. I said yes. He asked if he could have it

I said no I could not gave it him cause I would not pay people i interview. out of principle. so he asked if he could borrow it.  for a friend.

So I agreed. and then it went on and on. asked if he could keep it after showing it to his freinds, i offered him a deal to give sth back to me instead, thinking help both out of the dilemma, him saying it might get stolen. Me saying he should give it back if he cannot be responsible enough. and on and non. so at the end he asked to borrow money for food. I said tomorrow he said you do not trust me, we argued and finally we left each other.

trees, assi ghat, varanasi, 19th march 2012
not giving money in photography is important.  the person should not give time, thoughts, for getting money back. getting something else back, self-awareness, confidence, proudness, and a voice. But not money. Changes the idea. So important. also for other photographers.

but he spend his time, his commitment, did not go and searched for people to go on his boat tour. what if has definition from journalism is different. give and take. always. for him money?

is the idea to do something purely out of own will not just a western idea, based on content and fulfilled living. having the ability to do something which does not involve money and looking after your life? Having the freedom to enjoy this kind of luxury. 

I always ask myself what would I do. a person come, sucks information out of me, and leaves and earn money.

what do I get? A voice. A possibility to be seen.

he is apparently the oldest in the family. he dad does not work and he has to earn the living. Not sure if i believe him.

raul, assi ghat, varanasi, 19th march 2012