Rambles

I write & shoot (photographs) occasionally

A couple of years ago I grew taller than my mother.

If years, experience, wisdom were centimeters, she should have remained taller than me by rulers and rulers. But genes and nutrition are centimeters.

So I am taller than her.

side effects of photography:

You start to imagine life in snapshots. Your eyes are the lens and your mind is the shutter. Snap: foreground- a group of old men enjoying coffee and conversation, background- a man riding by on a bike. Zoom in: the fluorescent market lights reflect on one of the old men’s glasses with a frosted, snowy pallor, making his eyes unreadable. Focus: many of the old people here have coincidentally or habitually adopted the same mannerisms- sitting with an unworn slipper resting on the ground and their bare leg crossing the other. Move on and zoom: it’s a different kind of culture here- an old man dips his fried dough stick in black coffee (locally known as kopi-o).

Sometimes a camera is too conspicuous.

chatuchak market, bangkok

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small things

Lately I’ve learnt to appreciate the small things. The way you can talk so easily and mindlessly and endlessly to a friend, how rarely that comes along- there’s so much in that worth being grateful for and sometimes I think I take that for granted. Sometimes you finally get to know someone a little and discover the potential in your friendship but it’s too late because that’s where you part ways. Having someone there for you reminds you how easily you could have passed this friend by, but by a wonderful stroke of luck that didn’t happen and here you are having coffee with them, talking about life so casually as if it didn’t just do you the best favour.

things i almost miss in a rush:

  • The possibility of danger that I might trip down the escalator
  • Swollen toe of a wheelchair-bound man selling tissue paper that I almost step on
  • Avoiding the man insistently promoting pizza coupons
  • Flash of a familiar face before realising it was only the same distinct features

I run into the train and find my own empty space, trying to appear like I hadn’t been in a rush. The old man next to me peeps into my gaping shopping bag and I instinctively try to shut it. But then I realise not everyone is blessed with Christmas presents.

lethal

death grows into you inevitably

with the same certainty that years make their mark on you

with time you learn to accept the delivery of news through afternoon phone calls

sing at funeral choirs for people whom you never knew

it is a strangling fig that wraps its claws around you

reaching for the sunlight of your soul

a nasty web that extends its hold

the more connected you are

the more channels it flows along and seeps like poison into the lattice of people you love

it crushes you one heartbeat at a time

until you

become

lethal

active

he’s long gone

too high up past the curvature of

milky white, azure blue earth

yet today he is still here

is active (the guy at the bank said so)

the sum of

whispers of fingertips and shadows of evaporated sweat stains in his savings account

he is a punctured identification card

a frozen smiling face

the guy at the bank takes the obsolete card with a steady hand

types in his identification details that

futilely bind him to our earthly obsessions

and stoically declares his account still

active

chasing the sun(rise)

Woke up to a bloody sky and the thrill of catching my first sunrise. A gash ran across the city skyline, already brightening and coming alive at just past 6am. Rushed out of bed and went onto the balcony outside; Bangkok is scorching but the morning breeze was chilly and comfortable. The busy roads flickered with vehicles that already put traffic jams into play. It took quite a while as the intensity of the red sky slowly faded and a bright spot seemed to pulse where we guessed the sun was hiding. Suddenly, the top rim of the yolk appeared and we pointed excitedly as the sun rose excruciatingly slowly but surely, a radiant circle that seemed birthed from the buildings. It took our breaths with it as it ascended like a burning flame. Around us roosters crowed intermittently; I never thought this possible in the city.

flying home

on the sleepy flight home

a bunch of elderly tourists

with white hair and matching red caps crowd

excitedly around the tiny egg-shaped windows

wonder glowing bright in their watery eyes

that perhaps haven’t been in the sky

or glazed the clouds up high

i try to remember the first time i

admired the sky from a plane

if i was as awestruck and appreciative

but i must have been

too young

on a carefree night long ago

riding the night on wheels

deciphering stars like

alphabet pasta scattered across

a midnight carpet

wind kissing our hair

treading unseen terrain as

gears click in tandem with

silently moving feet

you tell me about coloured stars you used to

see in your homeland

back when the world cherished

darkness over light

voice rising and falling like the

gentle ebb of faraway waves

imprinting on the sand their

very own story

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