Tale of an adventure - meeting Everyday people wherever they are

100 Strangers, 100 Personalities, 100 Stories

welcome to yet another episode

Published May 10, 2022

It was a wonderful day today (May 10, 2022) here in Sydney. Unlike the day before it was rather refreshing – the morning sunshine was there from the early hours. Although patches of dark clouds kept appearing and disappearing, the sunshine was rather steady. And when I see sunshine, I always keep hearing Click! Click! Click! at the back of my head!

Today however, I was stuffed with lots of household chores and by the time I was able to get to the station the train entered the platform almost halfway through. Getting onboard, I went to the top deck and lo and behold my backseat is there smiling at me with its beautiful colors shining in the morning glow. There was only one other passenger in the entire compartment. Although this was an ideal situation for me to fall asleep – as is normally the case – nevertheless today, I was awake – videos in my phone kept me alert.

Didn’t notice how half an hour has passed! Getting off at Museum Station I decided to walk around Hyde Park, and it was at the very beginning – roughly around five minutes or so into my walking when I saw her coming in my way. I noticed that long trench coat – light colored – slightly green, slightly olive. In the background of dark green vegetation behind her – as she was coming towards the sunlight – it popped. And I was quick to think where I should put her for a photo!

We actually crossed each other, and my adrenaline surge was not there yet. So, although I had all intension of saying hello at the first sight, I couldn’t. Something stopped me but that was only for a moment. I went back in the same direction as she was heading, and now she is in from of Anzac memorial. Climbing the stairs with her I approached from the side “Hey” waving my hands; “Can I take a photo of yours? It’s for a project?” – I went on. Vaguely I remember her smiling and then nodding to join. Like I do all the time, I showed her my blog and the Flickr community page before we started our shooting.

I cannot remember whether I asked where she was from, but she mentioned of her origin being from Ukraine at the very beginning. Hearing the word Ukraine, I said “I am glad to meet you! I was actually looking for someone to come along from that part of the world” or something along those lines.

So, here is Mariia Bondarenko hailed from hotspot of the Donbas region of Ukraine and now settling here in Sydney as she recently moved two months back after the war had broken out. In some photos she looked like a baby-girl – a toddler – an innocent little child. During the photoshoot one thing I kept noticing was her scared face. I jokingly said “I want that babygirl face” many times during our chat. Needless to say, the decision to come here in Australia saying goodbye to her parents who are in Ukraine, was tough after waking up to the sound of an explosion and then packing her bags two weeks into the war.

While her “official photoshoot in a studio” was back in January this year, her mom – who is a nurse in cardiology department back in Ukraine – always wanted some – actually many, many – photos of her taken while she is still young.

Working in the IT sector and being good with numbers, she told me at the very beginning of our chat, as I showed her my blog, that I have fifty-nine (59) more encounters to go to finish my project (100-41=59) and that amused me a bit.

I tried a couple of locations – different lighting setting – to get some expression out of her. Baby girl, little girl, angry girl, happy girl, spoiled girl and naughty girl. Those were some of the themes I was trying to achieve – not sure though how successful I was but “scared girl” was the one I tried to avoid the most.

I have a colleague in my workplace, George. I gave him a pet name for a very special reason – his hands; very soft and warm all the time and I totally love to hold his hands. So, when “Little Georgy” (George is huge btw) is around I find my way to go right next to him and extend my arms almost automatically in a gesture to “shake his hands”. We always laugh about it and when I keep holding his hands like that forever he would then annoying say “Let me go!” – pulling his hands out of my clutch.

When I shook her hand as we exchanged names ten-fifteen minutes during the chat, I had the same “Little Georgy” feeling in my stomach! Later when I jokingly accused of her not doing any household work, she retorted “I did the dishes this morning!”

My hands are always cold. Many people tell me that; perhaps because I keep them hanging loosely by my side almost always. Few days back when I met one of my other strangers incidentally at Hyde Park, I was told exactly the same thing as she did – “Cold hands, warm hearts”

Although I proposed of holding her hands as we walked to different places around Hyde Park, she decided not to – as it might be culturally sensitive or for other reasons. Well, should we meet by chance ever again it would definitely be at the back of my head as to how to go next to her and find to way to hold her hands until “Little Georgy” will angrily say “Let me go!” – pulling her hands out of my clutch!

On a side note, a very happy Mothers’ Day to her mom. And I hope she like these photos of her lovely daughter.

error: Content is protected !!