Tale of an adventure - meeting Everyday people wherever they are

100 Strangers, 100 Personalities, 100 Stories

welcome to yet another episode

Published: February 18, 2022

Another wonderful day in Sydney and I headed off to the CBD for my project. It was several hours me cursing around townhall and Hyde Park enjoying the sunshine and talking to random people here and there. Many of them were busy rushing for their work or lunch or other necessities of life.

I was almost about to finish for the day and there I saw her walking slowly down the hallway at the Galeries pavilion with a green coffee mug in her hand wearing a black mask. I noticed her fitness first t-shirt and I was thinking she might be on a meal break during her job. Being employed in customer service myself, sometimes I face challenges for having a casual conversation during my breaks as serving those customers could get very demanding and hectic. Well, that was my experience on many instances. And hence, I was a bit hesitant but despite those difficulties I still went towards her taking a glance at her from the sidewalk leading to the townhall station where I would catch my train in just a few minutes or so.

On a side note, during that day I had instances when I asked others if I could get five seconds and they walked off sometimes looking puzzled, sometimes excusing some urgency and other times replying to me of not being interested.

On one occasion, I even walked several blocks while trying to talk to a guy whose face was intriguing to me for a photo. He walked so fast that I had to walk double my usual speed. Although I was able to reach him but couldn’t get him into the project as he was very busy and off to work in a short while. I had to sit on a bench to cool down myself due to the sweat in my upper chest out of this brisk walk and weight of my gears. But looking at hindside it comes off as a pleasant inspiration for future pursuits – living on the edges always, pushing for more, aiming higher and higher.

So, despite all those experiences and not getting anyone into my project yet, I decided to approach once more just before I would finish off.

And the same – waving my hand to catch her attention, walking right next and facing directly onto her I uttered “Five seconds”?? She looked calm to my question with a nod. I then briefly mentioned of the project and to my delight she seems interested as to which I explained her the whole project and assured her of how delightful it would be if she would come along and to my pleasure, she agreed to participate.

As I took my camera out of the bag, I requested her to pull her mask down. As she did, I heard her saying “Man your photos are nice” while she was scrolling down the page on my website where similar stories are already published.

I smiled at her and for the first time I could see her face as the black mask was now at the bottom of her chin still tightly clenched. Looking at her face my immediate hunch was she was of Indonesian descent which I found out to be wrong later.

Although between the buildings the light was a bit low, I decided to shoot here right there due to lack of other suitable location on a busy street. As I clicked a few shots I realised there is a glare on her eyes due to the reflection which I wanted to avoid. Although I was tempted more than once to tell her to take those gasses off, I resisted that urge as it might not portray her as she is. So, I kept shooting trying my best to keep the glare off the glasses.

As she started talking, she came of as very lively outspoken and upfront individual. At one of my provoking and nosy questions she laughingly replied, “I hate man”! “That’s what I wanted” – I told myself as to bring her out of the shell of her customer service job – the mundane routines that we all encounter on a daily basis.

I wanted her to be lively even for a moment. I kept asking this and that just to get her engaged and get some expressions out of her as I kept capturing her photos.

So here Yuri, born as a catholic in Philippines, converting to Islam and moving to Dubai and now setting in Australia as a proud lesbian.

We talked about many personal issues, and I was repulsed when she mentioned of her friends’ traumatic experiences out of her affair with another guy – which she finds difficult to reconcile even as a friend. Heck – that’s a lot already! I didn’t ask much about it due to my inabilities to deal with those instances; may be some other day – I thought silently.

Coming from a conservative upbringing under her fathers’ strict control during her childhood she comes off as very bold taking the life head on. Her friend Daniel who was once enamoured of her now remains as her best friend as she is now married to Kubra.

All the best and thanks for joining my project. And if there was one thing I would definitely love to see again – should we ever meet by chance – is that simile on her face – that childlike innocent, vibrance and joy even when the discussion was lightheaded and sometimes even when it was rather serious.

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