It was what he had expected.
Sahib scanned his eyes around
the empty village, photographing what was left. He flipped his notebook,
jotting furiously: “New headline: Village devastated by earthquake”. In the
corner of his eye he glanced at a young girl wearing a Burqa running into the
orphanage – smiling. He followed her.
The time had finally come.
Sahib walked up to the
door. He was desperate to know what was on the other side. A tremor of unease
overcame him. “Fuck it, fuck it”. He turned the handle to the door, knowing
fully – this is it – that he had been holding back the anticipation to report a
story for the last few days, weeks and months. But the reality he was faced
with was something he was not prepared for.
His nose captured the
pungent lingering stench. His ears caught the cackling of the barred floor with
each step. His eyes attuned to the harrowing black’s and grey’s of the
It was not what he had
He walked outside, hands on
his head, looking at the earthquake ruined village against the vast foliage of
greens and the mountainous terrain of blues. He knew this village was poor –
after all he was a journalist – but knowing and seeing are different, knowing
and understanding are different. In a state of shock his mind urged him to leave,
but at the same time curiosity planted his footsteps to the ground.
As he immersed himself into
the darkness of his thoughts, the flutter of laughter inside the home broke his
silence. An overwhelming sensation of curiosity consumed him as he looked upon
the brightly lit faces of the rag covered children, burning to know – why are
they so happy after the earthquake?
Walking back inside the
orphanage, Sahib noticed a young boy filling his crumpled piece of paper with
drawings, colours and musings. He watched as the boy approached his friends –
holding a plastic camera – and took a photo. It was at that moment that Sahib
realised he was staring in a mirror of his young journalist self. Looking into
the boy’s dark brown eyes he was transported back into himself as a child. The
boy had the same drive, determination and ambition, but sadly those dreams were
shattered by the earthquake.
Sahib kneeled on the floor,
gazing into the clarity of the boy’s eyes. Eyes of tragedy, loneliness and
anguish. His mind was filled with the burning desire to know and understand the
boy’s fascination in photography. A plethora of questions poured out of his
mouth – what keeps you happy? How are you coping after the earthquake? Why do
you take pictures of your friends and not your village? – like sand from his
grasp. The boy’s answers to his questions, opened his mind. Happiness for the
boy wasn’t new shoes, new toys or even a new camera. Happiness for him was the
chance to have a family. A family he never had the chance to have. The boy’s
photography of his friends allowed him to focus on the light of life rather
than the darkness of the village.
His eyes brimmed with
At the time, the
significance of what he had discovered hadn’t dawned upon him. But after
talking with the young boy, he pondered about his life – the many TV’s, the
many books, the many beds – that left him with no feeling of joy as pure as the
kids. He had come to realise that it was not what he had expected that
fascinated him, rather the surprising and unexpected. He gazed upon the
individual faces of the children, a gateway into endless stories waiting to be
unlocked by a key. His camera.
His eyes were the lens. The
world was his image.
The bubble that he used to
live in was burst by the knowledge that he could explore the human condition
through the stories of people. He wanted
to embrace this newfound appreciation, by embracing the children. He adjusted
his camera on the stand, running quickly to the group of children. As the
camera flashed, a permanent smile stuck to his face. Sahib showed the photo to
the kids, a portrait of distinct smiles, realising the best photos were taken
when the people he captured had the same feeling as him. When he captured a
photo, he captured an instant of time, emotion and memory. The look on the kids
face, captivated him.
As the air stained with
orange and pink, Sahib lay down on the grass looking into the individual
blades. He wondered what the next journey was going to be, the next story
waiting to be unlocked. With that he flipped his notebook ripping the previous
page – a mistake – for a new headline: “Villagers emotionally rebuild after
earthquake”. He eyed the sunset whispering to himself.
“The time was yet to come”.