The story behind; why I love Delhi
“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”
~ Paulo Coelho
That moment was a little bit more magical than others. It worked, it happened and that kind of flow is exactly why my love for India is so big. It is always happening as soon as I set foot over the Indian borders… From the first day I did, way before all the warnings and questions, India to me is a feeling. A feeling that cannot be possibly described in words. All the moments from that day are a story worth telling because most people nowadays don’t have much faith in strangers, in believing some people just want to contribute to something ‘good’ they see in you.
I remember meeting Siddharth at Marie & Pranay their wedding, my first Indian wedding; and what an amazing one it was… We started talking, mostly about life, about philosophy and being creative in your own way. He was willing to help me work on my idea: shooting a timelapse, barefeet, in the middle of Delhi. What?
Meeting in Old Delhi
We would meet each other early morning a few days after the wedding to discover if it could work. He brought his friend Subhojit Paul that day. We parked our car, started filming while walking and those hours still feel like a dream. I did what I normally do: I talk to most of the people I meet and I share the joy of being free in that moment. Siddarth helped me to translate, we worked on ideas, talked to complete strangers and Paul naturally started to document the whole day. We ended up in a little street in Chandi Chowk (Moonlight Square) one of the oldest and busiest markets in old Delhi. It is crowded, narrow, full of people and colours and that was perfect for the message I have. We stopped in front of a chicken shop, a famous one in Delhi and always crowded. Always. My new made friends asked for the owner and informed if it was okay for me to stand in front of their shop for a while. The owner was so happy and friendly and immediately gave his guys instructions to help us with anything we would ask for. He turned on the lights of his shop, asked his neighbours to hide away their bikes and watched the whole show. We started filming…
Meditation in the middle of the street
For 19 minutes I stared at the same point on that narrow street and I didn’t move a muscle. Colourful sarees came by and all eyes were focused on me all the time. Children tried to catch my eye and Paul and Siddarth had regular little heart attacks when a motor bike or taxi almost drove over my bare feet. I did not bend or move and neither did I feel fear.
When the shot was done, we were invited on the rooftop of Aslam Chicken. I looked out over a cloudy Delhi took a deep breath and decided: Wow, this is what I want to do!! I do have a message and there is no better way of showing it! I loved every second of it. The guys from the shop all came upstairs one by one, they wanted to shake my hand, take pictures and a group picture was made. They brought me a chair, fresh drinks and felt honoured that we shot the movie in front of their shop. The owner refused to let me pay for the drinks and I wish I asked for the Facebook of the owner, they wanted to see the result so bad! The way they cared for me and helped us, the way my friends protected me and showed me why they love their city so much is still one of the best memories I have from all my trips. I get asked so often: “Is it safe to travel in India? Where should I go?”
Trust by instinct: the beauty of life
I am working on some ideas and articles regarding this, but my best tip? Have faith. Trust the magic that is there when new people meet. Show who you are, show your fears, your vulnerability and people will meet you in the same way. I felt like a movie star, I felt so much joy. Above all I felt power. This is how I travel and once again I proofed that trust by instinct brings beauty in your daily life.