Freedom to Examine (Faces of India)

It’s difficult to talk about India without sounding like a middle aged mum (who had an absolutely transcendental experience riding an elephant’s back up a grueling hill in the desert sun).

India can’t be labeled, pinned down or generalized, only experienced. Each state is its own world. And each city is deeply rooted in culture, music, food, and art. But perhaps my favorite take away from the journey was interacting with the people of India. A common thread that seemed to connect everyone, was an overwhelming sense that most people were filled with a deep curiosity. A curiosity about nature, psychology, God, painting, travel, books, food, music, love and everything else that ignites our minds. Typically, when I’m out filming, I’m quite shy to approach strangers. But overtime, I became more confident in approaching people. I think it was because my presence wasn’t met with a stern or annoyed demeanor. It was the opposite, it was people being generally curious as to what I was doing. And when I nodded to my camera for approval, it was usually granted with a smile.

And afterwards, we’d have a short conversation that ranged from cricket, Obama, ancient gods or why Americans always order chicken tikka masala when they dine. This footage is 2 years dated, so I’m slightly bothered with the camera work, but this was true run and gun style filming. I always want feedback, positive or negative. Please let me know what you think in the comment section of Youtube.

Freedom to Examine Words: J. Krishnamurti — Song: Teché Wé — Album: Pulsar — Arist: A.M. Beef — Shot and Cut: Jonathon Dickey


Seoul Explorations: Namsan

It’s a curious thing, living in a foreign country during a global crisis. The immediate gut reaction is to return home, flee to safety, seek shelter and let the storm pass. When the outbreak first occurred here in South Korea, the western world agreed with the same sentiments — avoid this part of the world at all cost. However, over time, the west began to struggle, on a scale unmatched by most countries in the east. And now, my past feelings of worry about personal safety, have transitioned to fear for my friends and family back in America. As these worries spin around my mind, nature continues to thrive. As people remain sheltered, nature has in a small way, reclaimed some of its former glory. The skies here have become  amazingly blue — the older folks around here commented that the clean air is reminiscent of past times.

Seoul is a fast paced city. After years of practice, I’m now able to sway along with the morning commuter bus without making a fool of myself. And mind you, buses here move like hellfire, one miss of a handrail and you’re the goofy foreigner who just can’t quite get a grip. I’ve seen old ladies with a mountain of grocery bags hoisted to their side take rubber burning turns all while maintaining ballet like stature. True poetry in motion. Meanwhile I’m holding onto a handrail, white knuckled, trying not to suffocate in my mask.

Crowds don’t bother me too much. But the stagnation that comes with city dwelling does. It starts to dull my senses. Every grey building becomes an insult to inspiring thought. City life takes its toll on my patience too — when I have to check myself before chucking a coffee mug at one of the many moped madmen bombing past me on the sidewalk, I know it’s time to escape the city for a little while…

Scouting out his next crowded sidewalk…

There’s plenty of short hikes one can escape to on any given weekday around Seoul — yet Namsan is special. 남산 (South Mountain), is one of the points in which the ancient walls around Seoul stretch through. Abruptly transitioning from pavement, concrete and steel to a forest encompassed by a green canopy overhead and brown earth below, instantly mesmerizes the senses.

It kicks the city funk right outta your gourd. The hike is relatively easy, but the mountain (during spring and summer) offers a dive into the greenery that one may forget exists after dwelling in a metropolitan apartment for too long. In other words, when I need me some nature, Namsan’s got it. Once I’ve had my fill of tree hugging, night falls, and Seoul Tower turns into a neon wonderland.

Bapu of Rajasthan

This is a short video about a man named Papu who lives in Pushkar, India (a holy city in Rajasthan). He is a talented and ingenuitive musician. He comes from a long lineage of nomadic musicians named Bhopas. He learned to sing, and to play the ravanahatha from his mother and father, and they did so from theirs. He may be amongst the last generation to remember and perform these tunes. Soon, these ancient songs may be lost in the deserts of Rajasthan. This video is an effort to preserve a very small piece of a massive epic. Papu is a modern day Homer of sorts, traveling around and sharing stories from nothing but memory. With this in mind, I present to you, Papu of Pushkar.