India Days 15- 19
India Days 17, 18 & 19
Things have happened very quickly since Sam and Daniel arrived. They started right away getting things organized for the build. Their first stop was the river, that being the most important feature of the town as far as the project was concerned. We walked along it for some time, me following behind shooting footage. After about a half hour of assessing the river they had developed a long list of questions, and as we were preparing to go back into town, we met a local man who had answers to more questions than we could imagine.
Pronob was the name of our new friend and after a ten minute question and answer session, he took it upon himself to help us with our project. He brought us straight to his friends lumber mill, and then down to his friends home in a village right on the water. We sat in his friend Lilu’s home and drank tea as things were discussed in Assamese. People gathered to hear what was going on and after some time we had secured a perfect place on the edge of the Brahmaputra river to construct a boat!
The next couple days were spent acquiring tools, buying lumber, and trying to find motorcycles and a place to live. It’s been nice just speaking naturally and knowing I’ll be understood, but I am still spending time with my local friends who have proven to be wonderful, generous, honest people. The cast of characters in the film grows daily and yesterday Sam found a tiny puppy and took it back to the hotel, so now we have a river dog.
Filming is going well and I am learning so much. I worry that I will miss stuff and not get enough footage, but fortunately I have a few months to get what I need. I am struggling to come up with the subject matter and meaning of the film. There is of course the obvious boat project, but I believe that there is much more that should be conveyed in order to create a good film.
Yesterday I took a break from shooting the build to get some b-roll of the river. I was followed by some of the Revolving crowd which surrounded the build site down to the river bank. I started taking some shots and was annoyed to have my every move watched, but as I began interacting with them, they cheered me up and before I knew it, they were paddling me across the channel to a central bank. They walked me around and helped me get permission to take footage of fisherman and goat farmers and women washing clothes. in the distance was another channel of the mighty Brahmaputra river and beyond that were mountains which divide Assam from Arunachal Pradesh and the Himalayas. It was peaceful and quiet. There were three young guys as my unofficial guides and they patiently followed me around as I filmed the area. They carried my equipment and took an interest in the process.
Before sunset I went out on the beach with Lara, since he spoke the best english of the three and had him help me keep the horde of children from ruining my time lapse of the setting sun. We had mild success and I enjoyed chatting with him and his friends. Nights here have been fun. Every night there are visitors in our hotel rooms. We all drink and talk and joke. Daniel and I invested in a neglected 30 year old guitar with a split open body amongst other issues. It cost $4 and Daniel did a great job of quickly restoring it to playing order.
Everyone in Dibrugarh has made me feel at home here and I’ve been cruising the streets on my new used bike with confidence. I am beginning to learn the customs and language and have gotten hooked on the local deserts. Last night after dinner, Paplu convinced a desserts store owner to leave his home and reopen his shop so that I could buy some laddoo, sweet balls of varying foods.
My last bit of news is real news. The local news channel came down to the boat site and interviewed Daniel and Sam about their project. I have been told that it is an honor to have people come to their town to do a project like this. The interview aired last night, but the power was out at the hotel. We convinced the manager to get power on under one condition, we had to start the generator. It was an ancient oily diesel motor that we hand cranked to start. It roared to life and we were able to watch the two of them on TV.
Well that’s all for now.