I feel completely exhausted. It’s my first day in Nepal. I spent the morning and afternoon in a kind of mental trance, at the same time amazed with the scenery that unfolds before my eyes on this exotic stage right in front of me. I feel mentally tired with all the mental exercise that I have to do in order to understand and translate all this information that my brain captures. At the “golden hour” for photography (near sunset), I simply lack energy. I walk to a Nepalese restaurant, make a video out the window and sit down heavily on the cushions on the floor and finally order my first meal of the day.
Some time later, I leave the restaurant, feeling better as if I acquired suddenly new energy. When I reach the street my jaw drops and I feel amazed by the show of lights before me, hundreds of miniature lights fill the streets. The street is full of life. Some are street vendors. Others are devoted to their religious duties. I sit on the bench in the square and watch this amazing scenery. There are monks who murmur mantras, others sing, many seek blessing, each and everyone in a very particular way.
As I allow myself to observe rather than photograph, thinking that I can have the same scene better the following day and a bit earlier so I can take advantage of the dusk light, I look forward to the next day and to seeing this visual show again.
The next day, I leave for the street late in the afternoon. I walk without haste, with no plans, just waiting for the right time. I look forward to exploring photographically from different perspectives, attempting something more creative.
I watch people go by, their expressions, their looks, their body language. Completely absorbed in my task of mentally processing all the information of this exotic faces, colourful clothes and attire, I do not notice the time passing by. When I refocus my thoughts, I ask myself: where have all the people and the festival of lanterns gone? In fact, I notice that the human flow of people around the stupa is far less today. There are no lanterns, no candles … Disappointed, I go back to my guest house. I venture to ask the staff:
– Where are the people with lanterns?
– “No today”
– And why was it there yesterday?
– “Because it was a special day”.
– Why was it special yesterday?
– “Do not know”…
Not satisfied with this answer, I keep asking here and there. With the difficulty of communication, I can only retain some meaningful words from each dialogue. However, when putting it all together I realise that the meaning of it… is that it was a new moon day and people light up lanterns as an expression of affection and desire for well-being to their loved relatives that have already left us, here on Mother Earth.
Without knowing it, I was also blessed with the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time …
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