The Ghost Dancer

Watching a tv commercial that lasts around 30 seconds on average, one does not usually think of all the hard work that has gone into creating it. Surely, advertising is persuasion, its not supposed to make the viewer analyze but to create a need, generate consumption.
Recently, during a long night shoot (tourism ad), I have watched a traditional dancer, whose dynamic routine included not only energetic body moves, but also very theatrical face expressions that were assigned to each figure. Most of the crew were seated or even lying down, some were standing. The dancer, however, had work to do, her show to put on, meet the director’s demands, give the best possible performance in order to get that perfect shot.

Camera roll…
– give me more energy
– do the same but stop moving to the right so much
– same again, shift more to the left
– do it faster
– do it again
– stop, start over, the light was bad
– why the fuck the camera went out of focus? lets do that again
– stop, the music was late, start over
– give me stronger expressions next time
– why did you not look into the camera, I need you to do that

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action
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perform, perform, perform

dance, move, fast, slow down, more energy, less energy, look left, look up, look right, look into the camera, give me more

Half of the crew is drinking tea, coffee, Red Bull; some of them have fallen asleep, I am lying down behind the scenes, watching a beautiful art being brutally divided into pieces. Precision is being tested, being taken to the extreme.

Beautiful woman dancing, over and over again. Giving everything. Each and every time. No time for sentiments though.

Action, cut, 3am, dance, 4am, lets change the set up, 5am, fix the fucking light, 6am, camera roll, 7am moving on to another scene, 8am keep dancing…
She was exhausted. She was keeping up with all the demands. Fierce face expressions, complicated hand gestures… Fluent and dynamic moves. Shine in her eyes not disappearing. I could almost see her soul.
A TV ghost that will be seen for a moment and disappear after a few seconds.

She left me both impressed and a bit sad. Too bad I didn’t ask her name, I didn’t take a good photo… I will remember her as The Ghost Dancer.

Sell, sell, sell

Posessions vs Experiences (or True Happiness)

As the concrete jungle spreads around the ever faster developing world, the amount of purchasable goods is growing at speedy rate -and so is the artifically created need to spend money.This habit creates the need to work harder and longer, in order to be able to pay for the house to sleep in, not live in. To afford the car that’s parked outside for the better part of the week. And accumulate more clothes, accessories and gadgets reserved exclusively to show off.

Front of Ion Orchard Shopping Mall in Singapore

Singapore


I’ve been there, trust me. I really enjoyed buying all the crap I thought I needed.Convincing myself it was great value.Or good quality.Unique. Useful. Didn’t really need a reason to spend.Routinely surrounding myself with more and more objects, clothes- some never to be worn,cosmetics,books never to be read. Building a wall made of posessions. Materialistic post spending high satisfied for a while.Until next Friday when the urge would crawl on me again. Some call “retail therapy”, I’m more inclined to think that it’s simply a process of filling some kind of a void.
Obtaining material possessions is not a key to well being.

I’m glad I changed. I spend money on independent, long term travel choosing mostly indirectly experiental purchases. I’m no longer the perfect consumer, no longer a slave. I live relatively cheaply, visiting unknown places and interacting with fascinating surroundings. I love actively wandering on this magnificent soulful planet.I’m not cluttered with objects, I refuse to be a zombied-out brand slave. It’s important to be aware of what truly matters, to see the bigger picture.

Sometimes less is more, really.I may sound like a broken record but why waste precious and limited time in the work-earn-spend-repeat cycle?
Love your job or quit it.
Again, time is valuable and it flies, you won’t get it back.Make your life exciting, share it with the ones you care about . Acquiring more and more goods is not exactly living your life to the fullest, is it?

Reevaluate priorities, if you’re not as happy or satisfied as you wish you were, open your eyes and decide what’s really important. Your life is a result of choices you make.Do what makes you truly happy and, most importantly, what allows you to grow as a person.

couple watching romantic sunset in India sitting on a rock hit by wave

Sunset in Gokarna

I see too many people burning out, don’t let that happen.
Live more than you buy.
Unless nothing sparks up your fiery apetite for life as much as getting a new suit. Or you feel blissfully happy at the thought of purchasing yet another Victorian style marble coffee table for your living room, as it has potent antidepressant properties and makes you feel in touch with your true self on the deepest levels.

(C) matylda

Things we take for granted

I’m sitting in a room filled with shadows growing bigger and wider only to become tiny again in a shapeshifting theatre of dance on this temporary stage consisting of scruffy walls and dusty corners as the tiny spark of candle fire moves to the tact of wind blowing through the window. Even though typing by the candle light certainly has a charm of it’s own, I wouldn’t mind the electricity being back on. That will be the case, sooner or later. Until it’s off again. For another few hours or so. In Nepal, you see, power cuts are an everyday reality.(And not only here! ) The entire country runs on hydropower distributed throught the different zones or groups as they call them. No electricity where I am means it’s somewhere else now, I could even check the so called “loadshedding calendar” to find out where! To me, it’s a slight inconvenience I’m slowly getting used to. But for the local people it’s the norm.Life goes on normally with or without electricity -even when it goes off for hours. Simply because there’s no choice. In the rural areas I’ve seen entire communities sitting out by their houses enjoying lively conversations in pitch darkness, and kids playing around as if nothing happened.Very surreal, let me assure you.

Developed world is a comfortable one to live in.Availability of resources makes it all so easy. Smoothly operating transportation systems, fast and easy access to information and healthcare.

transport

I was recently staying in a mountainous village called Bandipur.To cut the long story short, I decided I needed to get some probiotics.Luckily there was a small pharmacy(actually a hole in the wall type operation) just around the corner.Plus an ayurvedic medicine seller not too far either.There was also a small hospital nearby. And you know what? I had no luck finding the good strains of bateria I craved so much.I tried everywhere and failed to get what I wanted, poor locals were confused. Confused as in “never heard the word probiotic before,leave me alone please.Shaking their heads in denial even when presented with the medicine brand names that I knew are being sold (apparently elsewhere)in the country. We ended up purchasing fresh cow’s milk,letting the fermentation process work its magic and that did the trick. Of course, after arriving in a big(-gish) city I was able to purchase probiotic capaules without being stared at in full of uncomfortable confusion silence.

Most people don’t appreciate “things” unless (or until) they suddenly become deprived of them. I have to say I learned humbleness,to be thankful and appreciate more. When I’m back in more developed and comfortable world, I perceive the reality of day to day life differently.I see things I never noticed before.Things we take for granted.Softness of our matresses, the fresheness of bedsheets, beautiful variety of foods available to us, the products we can easily buy-often under one roof. We can simply throw stuff into the washing machine and it does the job so there’s no need to spend time doing it manually.We drink easily accessible water and we can enjoy hot showers daily.We can use Internet almost anytime and almost anywhere.I could go on and on…
wash

Please think about it the next time you complain about your job, the traffic or anything of this sort. Appreciate your life and what you already have. Sure, some have it easier, but millions of others don’t.

(C) matylda

Zombies at Singapore Changi Airport

Most people I know are too busy making money during the best years of their lives. Some become workaholics.Or take mortgages to buy stuff they think they need.

Anyways, what happens when they can no longer work? Well, can they not? Yes they can. The answer is- SINGAPORE. I spent a good amount of time at Singapore Changi Airport, (not that I slept there…ok I did) , world’s best airport by the way. I was sitting in one of the terminals, killing time, when I saw him. That elderly man I felt so sorry for. He could barely walk and had a permanently bended back and yet was out there pushing a bloody trolley. He was so slow, his eyes were almost closed and, you know what, he looked like someone taken out of the coffin and put back to life by an invisible puppet master. That might sound mean, but really, I couldn’t understand why he was there and for a moment I even considered giving him a hand. I explained to myself that his boss must be good hearted to let him work at that age; employers in Singapore are required by law to offer employment up to age of 65. This guy was older than 65, that’s for sure. And then, I saw more of them… Suddenly I found myself inside a zombie themed movie scene. But there was no filming crew, it was reality.They walked around slowly, taking small steps, sometimes pushing the trolleys. Mostly pretended to work, but come on, they weren’t really able to do much. To me, they qualified for having personal elderly carers, each and every one of them.One creepy thing to think about- are they just gonna die there one day? Fall into the trolley? Fall down onto the luggage belt and circulate around together with bags until someone notices?

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Life isn’t all about being young and having fun. We are all going to age. Sooner or later. Actually sooner than later. Time flies. Wrinkles. Health issues. Possibly mental issues. There comes a time when once beautiful rose loses its petals, we cannot escape it, that’s one of the laws of Nature. But, to put them petalless roses into a vase and display on the window?

Did these men choose to work ? Or have they no choice?