Throwback Thursday to NYC this past May.
This photo is a bit outside of the usual photos I post on this page, but travel photography holds a big place in my heart. I've always been intrigued by everyday life. Observing those around me + making up stories of the lives they lead; where they're off to, what their struggle is, what made their day. I've forever been a curious person + I will likely forever be one.
Just remember that everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own struggles. Try to be patient with those around you, even when it's hard. A little love + kindness can go a long, long way.
Sameh Zoabi spoke of his latest film, Tel Aviv on Fire, as a bubble in the palestinian-israeli conflict. To him, every palestinian-israeli friendship is such a bubble in that reality.
I got reminded of this while thinking back on the café du souk. The café du souk is also a bubble, what Foucault called heterotopias (i.e. other spaces), worlds within the world, spaces that both reflect daily life and collapse it.
The café du souk is such a bubble in space, and in time. Dim-lit rooms filled with people smoking narguilehs and cigarettes, drinking their tea, playing cards to the endless songs of Oum Kalthoum. The perpetual billows of smoke and the resulting permanent haze, the absence of any conspicuous technological device, the mix of young and old, men and women, parents and children, the discrete but noticeable display of lovers' tenderness, would all make anyone feel like they are out of time, and in some imaginary space, perhaps that of a film, or a dream, yet everything in its right place. It was truly fascinating and I've wondered time and time again why this place was so appealing. For a long time I thought it was simply about nostalgia, this café a quick fix for the illness called beingborntoolate. But now I realise that maybe it's because places like these have become a rarity where I (used to) live. Places where for the price of a tea (i.e. almost nothing, which is why polyglot waiters will bring more for free and sit with you and have a chat) you can stay however long you want, be as loud as you want, come with who you want and be together, apart from whatever is going on beyond these doors. And no, it isn't like a bar. A space like that is only possible where neoliberalism hasn't managed to creep in and make productivity and profit imperatives, the reason to be of any entreprise. And perhaps that's why people come. You spend an afternoon there and time stops. It's a place that first sucks you in and then stays with you.
To bubbles like these!🍹
Some of the most insane stories I have heard come from here, north of Mussoorie in Uttarakhand. Lakhamandal is a village lost in time. Myths, legends and beliefs still alive. The practices unheard of. Bringing the dead alive, polygamy, Pandavas, all here.
My first visit here, we lived a few kms away and everyday the locals would play the dhol as an announcement of dusk and dawn. Everyone had a story to tell. Unadulterated and incredible. My next visit in 2017 the change was in your face. Political flags, political posters, touristy toilet signs! Strange unnecessary fences/grills put up. The people started to look away. Stories ignored. Felt like an unwanted invasion. Negatives of travel? The reach it provides? Development at what cost?