India Days 25- 29
For as much that changes in Dibrugarh, there is an equal amount that stays the same. I still haven’t received my audio device in the mail and my iPhone is still not useable with an international SIM card. I still have my beat up old dark green Hero to cruise around town on. The boat is still being built. The locals still stare shamelessly. I’m still blown away by the generosity of the Assamese.
For as much that changes in me, there is an equal amount that stays the same. I still really like food, and have been eating too much of the wrong kind. I still have a strong desire to create. I still have relapses in my will power and get lazy. I still have no idea what’s next, or what I want to do with my life. I still love my family and friends.
It’s comforting to know that as I move forward through time, my past isn’t just falling into the abyss. That I am still connected to what got me here. That even though my future is a mystery, it can be approached with a confidence that I am me, and will enjoy it and learn from it. My life and routine have been completely restructured, and it is certainly a lesson in what I want to have in my future.
I have about 50 gigs worth of footage for the film so far, and I’m happy with the shots. It’s been an amazing crash course in film making and I’ve enjoyed the freedom of shooting without being judged. There are many boatbuilders in Dibrugarh, but I haven’t met any filmmakers yet. In my reclusive state as of late, I have had some time to think about EVERYTHING. Maybe too much time, but I have some great ideas for the film and feel at ease about it.
I’ve found, or rather been found by, some local singers that have agreed to sing for the soundtrack. Now I just have to come up with songs that fit the basic moods of a film that doesn’t yet exist. It’s been nice to write music though. The guitar we got in the market has been a great writing tool. It seems that no matter where I am or what I’m doing I have to be creative.
When I was living in a crew house in Newport and wasn’t able to make music because of noise, I began cooking. I was spending 3 or 4 hours a day in the kitchen, doing something I wasn’t even interested in. Here in Dibrugarh I don’t have what I need to easily make music, and it becomes so tedious that I lose interest and give up. So the other morning I woke up with an idea for a sci-fi drama type movie and wrote out the whole plot! 16 pages.
I guess shooting the documentary hasn’t been as creative a job as I had envisioned, though I may need to just alter my style of filming to make it more artistic. In fact, that’s what I’ll do!
As I ride my bike around I have to remember to take it all in and be observant. It’s easy to get complacent and forget how different things are here. There is constant action on the streets and my ride home in the fading daylight brings me right past the bustling bazar where everyone goes at night, there being little else to do. There are mosques with singing emanating from cheap PA systems, temples with Hindus praying ad ringing bells and blowing a horn taken from a water buffalo.
There are holy cows lazily crossing the street as traffic zooms by. Street dogs maintaining their hierarchy. Slaughter stands with freshly butchered goat and chicken, laid out on a table in the sun, under a cloud of flies. Poor men laboriously pedaling their single speed rickshaws with passengers and as many heavy items as they can stuff into. Tata brand heavy trucks brightly painted, with multi-timbral ear-peircing horns, defying the laws of physics as they plow through traffic.
Remnants of British rule is visible in decaying buildings and unmaintained infrastructure. And there is the ever present Brahmaputra river with a levy running the entire length of the city. Every home, and there are many, on the river side of the wall is built on property owned by the government. Walking along the beaten path atop the levy is, to me, the most striking cross section of this town. A colorful garment clad shanty town. Drying in the sun. Awaiting the monsoon. Hoping that there is no flood, or whim of the government to reclaim it’s land.
It is the frailty of life. The impermanence. It is our nightmare, and their reality. Children run around with toothless smiles, happy to be alive, barely covered by their tattered and stained clothes. ” Hello, what is your name?”. Their only way to reach out to a foreigner. A legendary American from the land of plenty. From the movies. Destine to vanish as quickly as he came. Back to comfort. Back to a job that pays more than enough to survive.
And on that depressing note, I’m going to go capture the inexplicable world around me, and try to make some sense of it!