Category Archives: documentary

the lodge of journeymen …

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waiting for the journeymen

If you want to you can read a “short” history on the interestingly titled “the masonic trowel“…it’s not so short though, and it’s quite hard to get through, i warn you…

more indian beauty: indian beauty parlour…

Am taken to the beauty parlour of choice by an Indian friend, in block of flats in Vijayawada.

P1070278It’s much like any small business you might find in someone’s apartment, we have to take our shoes off at the door, walk through a living room and into the parlour…

P1070275the beautician and her assistant – it’s a Hindu household , the yellow markings on the door and the Muggu (welcome drawing) on the floor are the clues…

P1070238the view of Vijayawada from the window

some treatments on offer:

P1070251Threading – the depilation method of choice round here…30 rupees (35p) for eyebrows. Not too painful, very effective and an absolute bargain!

P1070269Split ends costs 100 rupees (£1.14) – hair is sectioned, twisted and the split ends that stick out are snipped off with scissors…it takes a LONG TIME.

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I in turn get the best pedicure and foot and hand massage for 500 rupees (£5.70) i ever had, it takes over 2 hours and is worth every penny. Everyone in the parlour marvels at the fairness of my skin…i on the other hand am embarrassed to reveal my pink mosquito bite splattered legs…they want my skin and i want theirs…brown, smooth and with no blemishes…oh well…

P1070241Waiting…

P1070267the beautician tells me they also do weddings and with that shows me her own beautiful wedding photo from 1981 – but it could be from any time really…

indian beauty: mehendi artist…

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A young man was applying mehendi (henna) onto hands and feet outside a supermarket in Vijayawada. To do these intricate hand drawings he was charging 250-300 rupees (around £3). I watched him do 3 sets of hands (about 6 minutes per hand), he never stopped or hesitated once and he never made a mistake, the work is incredibly intricate.

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On the down side, for the client, you have to not touch anything for around hour till the henna dries and can be washed off, you are then left with a stain of the design that lasts for a few weeks. Unfortunately this process is impossible for a fidget like me i think…anyway you can see the whole process (speeded up) below…

swami sings…

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Rakesh is observing a Deeksha of 41 days dedicated to the God Ayyappa…these days are a kind of penance where the participants live a very reduced and spartan life, the idea being that at the end you are physically, mentally and spiritually stronger. Rakesh tells me no women are allowed in this kind of Deeksha except for old women (???!!!) Apparently Ayyappa was a single God and he did not like women…hmmmmmm

transumanza 2012

…i know it’s almost time to leave Biella when the transumanza begins; the twice yearly ritual of moving animals, here mainly cattle, down from the mountain and into the plains for the duration of the extremely harsh winters they have up in the hills around here. The sound of the large bells the cows have around their necks resonates for a good 10 minutes before you actually see any of the livestock and it’s my favourite sound…an announcement of autumn…as heard in the film below.