So there’s this holiday…

And it’s called Bakri. (Not what you were expecting, eh?) Here’s the Islamic version of a story I heard differently (but no more or less unbelievably)… Monday, December 8, 2008 **Eid-al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) (Islam) Including the Hajj, this three-day festival celebrates Abraham’s test of obedience to Allah (God) when he was asked to sacrifice his son Ismael.  At the last minute, Allah replaced Ismael with a lamb. This festival is called different things in the various tongues spoken by Muslims.  Here in my part of India, it’s influenced by the Tamil version, which is named after the Urdu word for goat – baqri. Anyway, so this festival requires that Muslims make a great deal of food and share it, 1/3 with the poor, 1/3 with friends and family, and 1/3 for the household.  We got another lovely batch of food – parota, something like stretchy tissue but tasty, and a chicken curry in which we dipped the other things. Then I got on the computer and researched the holiday.  Seems right to know why I’m getting fed, eh? Okay, so this festival is about sacrifice.   And part of the whole deal is that Muslims who can afford it are supposed to sacrifice their best domestic animals.  Sheep, camels, cows, goats.  Whatever you’ve got on hand, as long as it meets strict age and quality standards.  Only the best. Right after my birthday, the 2nd or 3rd of December, our neighborhood got even louder than usual.  We’d grown accustomed to the birds – they’re loud and some of them sound insane, but what can you do about birds? Roosters and chickens, no problem. Then, right after my birthday, I started to hear a kitten crying.  I drove myself crazy trying to figure out where the sound was coming[…]

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This is Dena!

I just think she’s the coolest person in the whole world! So we’re starting to wind things up. We’re starting to break things down. Pack it in. Move ‘er out. Yep but we couldn’t just not visually document our remaining adventures here in India so we picked up a little Nikon Coolpix L-18 at the little camera repair shop that couldn’t fix my D-80 before we got back on a plane… Yeah, we’re coming home but we will still be taking pictures that’s for sure.

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The Decision

We came to the Indian Sub-Continent for a multitude of reasons that have been dissected over the past 6 months on these virtual pages but the reason to leave is quick and simple… Money! Oh yes… ‘Money, the root of all evil so they say!’ My primary motivation for coming to India was, as always, visual. To me, to try to explain a place and a culture that I do not know or understand through words is futile but to show how I see people living is quite easy! For 25 years I have been documenting the human condition through captured images (on average) 1/250th of a second at a time and I believe I’m pretty good at showing how people interact with their environment, as long as my equipment is operating! You see, I’m a Nikon man for traditional reasons. In 1987 I bought a Nikon F2-T, considered at the time by 1000’s of professional photojournalist to be the most rugged 35mm camera ever made. As a young passionate man I felt it was my duty to personally put that reputation to the test, and believe me I did! I dragged that tortured piece of equipment through a life of camera hell from the barren wasteland of Oklahoma to the drenched streets of Seattle, from the deserts of North Africa to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I did everything in my power to make sure that that camera maintained it’s well deserved status as the worlds #1 photographic “Tough-Guy”! Then suddenly, in 2006 shortly after our landfall in Hilo, Hawaii, my trusty Nikon F2-T just quit, belly-up, X’s on the eyeballs, cold-blue, quit! Of course, by that time, for monetary reasons (money again!!!), I was shooting most of my life through the lens of my digital camera and[…]

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Yeah

I love my birthday – it’s myyyyyy day. James and I agree that birthdays are the most important holidays. We went and bought me some books, then went to a fancy bakery that does the kinds of cakes I think of as BD cakes and got slices of Black Forest, and this evening we’ll be going to a fancy hotel buffet for dinner. It’s better than you’re imagining, being a buffet and all. Indian food lends itself very well to being kept warm in that buffet kind of way…I just hope they have that Malabar Fish…Mmmmmmm! On this, my thirty-third birthday, I’m also celebrating the successful completion of the NaNoWriMo Competition. This is my page on their website. (Dead link) Now, the goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That makes it a rather short novel, since the standard novel length is 80-100K, but it is still a shitload of writing to get done in one month. I finished at 76,386 words. Pretty cool, right? I wrote most days, getting a ton done when I knew what I wanted to say and not much done when I hadn’t figured out what happened next. Duh, right? Well, I hadn’t thought about that part very much before we started. I finished my last go-round on my first manuscript on October 15th and sent it to a small, select group of people who seemed interested in reading it (avoiding any people who responded to the idea with the deer-in-the-headlights look). That gave me about two weeks between finishing that one (for the moment) and beginning the next one. ‘Cause that’s the rules, see. You can’t start before the 1st. I spent two weeks pulling my vague idea together, doing a bunch of research on the careers of the main[…]

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