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On our own fire- My photography Exhibition November 2023, Zagreb

I squeezed my eyes tightly shut once more in the hope that I would escape from reality, but even without looking I could feel the intense tilting of the bus as it once again entered too fast a new bend in the narrow mountain road. The driver, a Sikh in his early forties, slowed for a moment to avoid a rock the size of a car, one of hundreds that had tumbled down from mountain due to intense monsoon rains and for whose partial removal we had waited nine hours.

Probably impatient because he was late for breakfast, lunch, and maybe dinner, the guy took his foot off the gas only at occasional police checkpoints and at forced stops where there was temporarily only one lane for both directions

From the first seat, right above him, there was definitely too much to see through the huge window, so I looked away again, preferring to watch my xanax drowsy wife and dozens of relaxed locals napping or eating with the intoxicating smells of various curries. All so that I don't look down the abyss a hundred meters below, in a disturbingly wild river, with dangerous rapids up to two meters high.

When his cell phone rang for the thirtieth time, and he, while moving the steering wheel with one hand to overtake a slower bus, answered with the other hand, casually offering a large Samsung to his bearded face, and greeted his mother, wife or boiler repairman in melodious Hindi, I was once again firmly closed my eyes and began to pray to a God in whom I do not believe. Fucking India.



India is a test of how willing we are to get out of our skin to look at ourselves from a distance levitating above our own shadow. India is an opportunity to wake up and move out of the safe zone of denial. There we walk a path that many of us can afford, but few actually dare because of the traditional fear of leaving the painstakingly built structures of our established lives.

An independent journey through that special country is a walk from light to darkness, a duel between recognized and unrecognized, it is the scene of a personal collision, it is an exit from a comfortable oasis and with childlike ease it destroys the distance with which we protect ourselves.

In the vast space of diversity, at the same time full of humility and strange dignity, everything is multiplied by a hundred. Smells, tastes, dirt, intensity and amount of people, wealth, poverty, decibels of noise, and thus our emotions within the microcosm in which we function.

The people there and their existence are our mirror, we are reflected in them as in mirrors of half-broken glass, where some parts meander irregularly and break, and some do not exist, lost in the reverse where it is impossible to see. In them, we reveal ourselves, half-blind and infected by laconic superficiality for decades, with all our internal disorders that we resolutely buried long ago in the gardens of our own unconsciousness.


In that country, if we are honest enough, in a mixture of thick humidity and insidious heat, we roast and suffocate ourselves on our personal fire, barely perceptibly losing weight, so that in the end, years later, stripped to the bone, we manage to reach the essence of what we are really made up. There we translate the language of our subconscious into the language of consciousness, we articulate the structure of the path we are really aiming for.


India exposes us, we love it or hate it, there is no indifference towards it.

It offers every real traveler only two real choices, further search or apathetic escape.

Like life itself.



"Na vlastitoj vatri"


Još sam jednom čvrsto stisnuo oči u nadi da ću tako pobjeći od realnosti, ali i bez gledanja se osjetilo intenzivno naginjanje autobusa dok ponovno prebrzo ulazi u novi zavoj uske planinske ceste. Vozač, Sikh u ranim četrdesetima, na trenutak je usporio da izbjegne stijenu veličine auta, jednu od stotina koje su se obrušile s viših dijelova zbog intenzivnih monsunskih kiša i za čije smo djelomično uklanjanje do maloprije čekali devet sati u nepomičnoj koloni.

Vjerojatno nestrpljiv i zbog toga što kasni na doručak, ručak, a možda i večeru, tip je nogu s gasa skidao samo kod povremenih policijskih punktova te na prisilnim zastojima gdje je u voznom stanju bila isključivo jedna traka za oba smjera.

S prvog sjedala, odmah iznad njega, definitivno se kroz ogroman prozor vidjelo previše pa sam opet skrenuo pogled radije promatrajući zaslinjenu suprugu uspavanu xanax-om i na desetine opuštenih lokalaca kako drijemaju ili jedu uz omamljujuće mirise raznovrsnih curry-ja. Sve samo da ne gledam niz ponor stotinjak metara niže, u smeđu, uznemirujuće podivljalu rijeku, s pogibeljnim do dva metra visokim brzacima.

Kad mu je po trideseti put zazvonio mobitel, a on se, dok je jednom rukom pomicao volan kako bi pretekao sporiji autobus, drugom javio ležerno prinoseći veliki samsung bradatom licu, i na milozvučnom hindiju pozdravio mamu, ženu ili servisera za bojler, opet sam čvrsto stisnuo oči i počeo se moliti Bogu u kojeg ne vjerujem. Jebena Indija.



Indija je test koliko smo spremni izaći iz svoje kože da se pogledamo iz daljine kako levitiramo iznad vlastite sjene. Indija je mogućnost buđenja i pomicanja iz sigurne zone negiranja. Tamo hodamo putem koji si mnogi od nas mogu priuštiti, ali maleni broj se zaista usudi zbog tradicionalnog straha od napuštanja mukotrpno izgrađenih struktura uhodanih života.

Samostalno putovanje tom posebnom zemljom je šetnja iz svjetlosti u mrak, dvoboj priznatog i nepriznatog, ono je poprište osobnog sudara, ono je izlazak iz udobne oaze i dječjom lakoćom uništava distancu s kojom se štitimo, putem razbuđujući najbolje ili najgore od onoga što imamo u sebi.

U ogromnom prostoru raznolikosti, istovremeno punom poniznosti i čudnovatog dostojanstva, tamo je sve pomnoženo sa sto. Mirisi, okusi, prljavština, intenzitet i količina ljudi, bogatstvo, siromaštvo, decibeli buke, pa time i naše emocije unutar mikro svijeta u kojem funkcioniramo.

Tamošnji ljudi i njihove egzistencije su naše ogledalo, u njima se odražavamo kao u zrcalima polupanog stakla, gdje neki dijelovi nepravilno vijugaju lomeći se, a neki ni ne postoje, izgubljeni u naličju gdje se nemoguće vidjeti. U njima se otkrivamo, napola slijepi i već desetljećima zaraženi lakonskom površnošću, sa svim svojim unutarnjim neredima koje smo još odavno odlučno zakopali u vrtovima vlastite nesvjesnosti.


U toj zemlji se, ako smo dovoljno iskreni, u smjesi guste vlage i podmukle vrućine, pečemo i gušimo na osobnoj vatri, jedva primjetno gubeći na težini, da bi na kraju, tek godinama kasnije, ogoljeni do kostiju, uspjeli doseći esenciju onoga od čega smo zaista sastavljeni. Tamo prevodimo jezik svoje podsvijesti u jezik svijesti, artikuliramo strukturu puta kojem zaista težimo.


Indija razgolićuje, obožavamo je ili mrzimo, ne postoji ravnodušnost spram nje.

Ona svakom pravom putniku nudi samo dva stvarna izbora, daljnju potragu ili apatični bijeg.

Kao i život sam.






 



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