Saturday, March 29, 2008

Taking cow urine.

Three team members went to the meeting with the famous film star Nandita Das.
Senior team member Marjolein, the Indian journalist Latha Sunadh and the confident photographer.

During the long taxi ride he got the idea to look for a shop to buy some nice flowers to present to the actress.
In the end, she is very famous: she even was recently a member of the jury of the Film festival in Cannes, France.
On top of that she had made herself available to participate in the project “The most beautiful people in the world” by offering 1 hour of her precious time.
Precious because right now Nandita Das is finishing her own film and running against deadly deadlines.
Do not fervent and loyal blog readers share the opinion it is simply a nice gesture in that case to bring some flowers?

There was trouble with the cab driver about getting to the apartment building where Nandita Das temporarily lives.
It all became a little tense and still no flowers.
Eventually the team had to abandon the taxi, hire a rickshaw, have it a race to a flower shop, where quickly a simple bouquet was made to speed to the apartment to ring Nandita Das’ doorbell exactly in time.

Dressed simply and totally unpretentious, Nandita Das made a human impression.
Although she is a star, she definitely lives on earth.

It produced a thankful smile when the bouquet was offered and the flowers disappeared into the kitchen.

Sitting down the conversation soon was about the project “The most beautiful people in the world”.
The by now excited photographer explained that the candidates in the project were there because they were feeling they were the most beautiful and had a convincing explanation to give.
And that this rule even applied to film stars.
If she were not thinking she was the most beautiful and had no good explanation, the team would finish the glass of water that had been offered and would go without making pictures.
Obviously that impressed the famous film star who has hundreds of people from the media asking her to photograph and film her for this and that and here and there.
Now she was meeting people who would feel OK if it all didn’t happen.
Nandita Das has a Masters Degree in Social Work and with her career she has one, two things to say about beauty.
It was fascinating to listen to her opinion that came as a flow of words impossible to write down.
Eventually, out of her long, complex but fascinating and learnful monologue a very strong statement could be distilled:

"I would not say that I am the most beautiful.
I have met so many people who were the most beautiful,
that it made me humble."

This is such an interesting statement because it demonstrates the strong inner beauty of the speaker.
One must have achieved high levels of inner beauty to be able to be famous and humble at the same time.

Outside the apartment building her portraits were made and this was a privileged job for the photographer.

© Marjolein van Veen, 2008.

© Marjolein van Veen, 2008.

Nandita Das is of course highly professional in posing and she knows to look into the lens in a way that she looks pretty, attractive, beautiful, tempting and intriguing.
The photographer, seeing her through the lens doing this, has to use all his powers not to take it personal.

© Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski, 2008.

Later that day a heated discussion took place between the photographer and his two senior team members.
The ladies doubted the rightfulness of taking flowers to a film star.
They said: “We would be much more impressed if you take flowers when you go and see a woman in the slums”.

Actually, the truth is that after documenting a woman in the slums, she was offered 5 kilos of white rice, 2 kilos of dal and 2 liters of cooking oil.

But this issue of offering flowers to a film star continued to bother the ladies of the project “The most beautiful people in the world”.
And no common ground could be found on this issue.

Hence, the photographer believed it was the old song of jealousy.
The senior team members seeing their photographer charming a famous film star with flowers while they had to eat in cheap Indian restaurants every day, work hard in difficult circumstances for little money and occasionaly get bullied and critized by their fellow team member only because it is him who takes the pictures.

In the late evening the photographer went out, found a shop where he could buy two red roses.
These were offered to the two senior team members who were highly surprised and most pleased and everything is now forgotten and forgiven.
The power of love and roses...

But the two senior team members had a surprise as well.
For the last 3 weeks the photographer has this really bad and pathetic cough due to his recent illness in the Netherlands.
As a present, the two senior team members had bought him a medicine called Ghanvati.
That helps to relief mental stress, skin disease and bronchitis.
What is Ghanvati?
It is dried cow urine.
In the bottle are small irregular grey balls in a grey dust.
Every day 4 balls must be swallowed.

It is not known if this medicine is made of the urine of cows that are grazing peacefully in a beautiful meadow.
Or that it is from Holy Cows eating the garbage in Indian city streets.

Nevertheless, the brave photographer takes this medication but this is mostly to keep his high reputation inside the team.


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