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Gunehar diaries: 2 – I have some broad story ideas now

Today is my third day in Gunehar and I have already fallen ill.

It started with a moderate cold when I got up in the morning. And since then, I’ve been feeling pretty feverish. I can only hope that the body temperature doesn’t rise. Fingers crossed. My ‘shop’ has been identified. I should put up a signage soon – once I feel better. As of now, even creating this blog-post is a pain. But laying on bed and doing nothing is probably even more painful.

My art shop. Technically, a villager’s house in progress. But should do. The entire village is busy cutting off wheat from fields, drying them in any open space that they can find (like what you see in this photograph) and getting grains out. Rains could start any time now and if the wheat job is not completed before that, it’s going to be a big loss to the villagers). Picture by DharmSadhu.
Every house (or may be almost every house) in Gunehar has a miniature temple in their courtyards that’s home for a God that dresses in yellow.
A village kid helps Terra in her preparation for a terra-cotta project that she is upto. Terra, along with Conman are possibly the only artists here who have already started work – that can be seen.
Conman with his cast and crew, seek help from 4T – the organizer.
Takecare, one of the caretakers. Looks more like a model than a care taker. Every time I carry water in these wine bottles from the restaurant to my place, I find kids discussing amongst themselves if I am really carrying water.

Yesterday, I roamed around, up and down the village main road (the length is just around 1 Km or so) with a camera, clicking away pictures. I would have done the same today had I not fallen sick. The process has been helpful both for me and the villagers (I guess). I want them to see and recognize me as a photographer to the point that they don’t care any more. That’s when interesting stuff would happen. And from being a photographer, I would turn into a film-maker who can manage to capture the reality the way it is.

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Story ideas are slowly taking shape. Some of the potential ones are:

  • Whose house has the best view? – I can find say three people who are proud of their houses and try to explore if they care about the view at all! Who do I think has the best view anyway?
  • My take on “life in a village” – could become pretty boring unless something unexpected happens while I am it. Their is lot of typical village activity that can be captured, but I need to figure out a thread to weave them together, in a way that they become a story of some kind.
  • Mystery of the blue and pink hair – we have two women here who have got bright coloured hair. I am wondering if something interesting comes out when I start enquiring on what the villagers think about the coloured hairs. Do they care? Do they have an opinion? How do I know their opinion is candid and not “for the camera”. What is the real reason these two got their hair coloured?
  • The struggle of few artists to bring back a dying artwork to main stream – I have maximum clarity on this story. Kaki is working on Kangra wall paintings with few Himachali artists. What they are doing should help more people take notice of this particular art-form.
  • I also like what Terra is upto (the lady working with clay in one of the pictures above) – and have this feeling that I can extract some story from there. The ideas are pretty vague at this point of time.

That’s it for now. Pray for me to get well soon. Will get back with more stuff soon.

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