Tale of an adventure - meeting Everyday people wherever they are

100 Strangers, 100 Personalities, 100 Stories

welcome to yet another episode

Published June 6, 2022

Another wonderfully beautiful day today (June 2, 2022), although it started with some gloom. It was overcast earlier in the morning however, as the day went on the sun was shining up in the sky along with some gorgeous clouds floating around. The past few days were windy. And there has been rains some two days ago. When the wind blows it feel very cold and especially during winter rains are a commonplace. So, rainy, windy and freezing cold – well, that’s not completely an unusual winter morning here in Australia in early June. And with the shivering chill I could barely think of anything else other than walking down the streets while enjoying the warmth of the sun that I could still feel under my multi-layered clothing; I tend to prefer layering – it helps keeping the heat trapped.

Finishing my daily actives by the time I stepped out, I had to run to the station to catch the train. Seeing the train already in the platform, I rushed down the stairs with fierce agility – just short of tripping over – to jump onboard just before the doors would slide shut. It was one of the middle compartments, so I had to give up the idea of proudly occupying my backseat on the top deck, and hence I went to the lower deck and found the three-seater empty and settled onto it.

As you go towards the city the train enter the tunnel in some places. There of course you cannot see the sunshine but today there is no sunshine yet, and the air conditioning of the train felt rather comforting.

Luckily by the time I arrived at CBD, I could see the sky getting clearer. And getting off at St James I decide to walk around. In front of the law court as I was crossing the street, I found some beautiful clouds in the horizon and in that sunshine those autumn colors looked deliciously vibrant. “Goodbye autumn – will see you again!” – I told myself, after taking a snap.

Spending half an hour or so and failing to get anyone, I headed to townhalls following my usual route – sneaking into Westfield’s on my way. At Westfield’s I went to the clothing store – UNIQLO – up the escalator. I went there for two reasons – checking out winter collection and finding someone for my project – to kill two birds with one stone. Well, I did make a few approaches there, but the bird was not yet killed! So, I had to move on.

I was at the galleries pavilion next to the townhall station. It was packed; lunch time – people are buzzing everywhere. I went up the escalator to level two. There are mostly eateries up there along with a shop for clothing and accessories right in front of that escalator. While cruising around the shop, I noticed her from a distance standing next to one of those apparel sections by the entrance. And walking up to her from the side, in my usual way, I said: “Hey can I take a photo of yours? It’s for a project.”

And to my delight I heard – “Sure”.

Townhall was busy during those hours – lots of people and lots of activities. Although I have a plan to try out a photoshoot here at townhalls in the middle of all the craziness, I still prefer less crowds. Well, few days back I actually did take photos of one of my other encounters right at top of the underground stairs next to Woolworths while it was raining. But that was because I had no other options. However, there is no rains today. It’s bright outdoors – great ambiance with plenty of options. 

After showing her the project and my blog, I suggested that we go to Hyde Park, and she came along. We walked via Park St and following along the intersection next to Elizabeth St, we went inside the park. There we took a few photos and discussed about her early life.

So, here is Marieon Cunningham born in Indonesia moving here in Australia when she was three years old and growing up in southern highlands – a popular destination for its gorgeous Autumn colors. When I asked, “So, which part is the best to see those colors?”

“Bowral” – she replied. “Near the town center” – she added. Well, in fact I was planning to go there during this season but couldn’t find the time so missed it. 

However, there was another incentive for visiting Bowral as she pointed out just after. “I went to the same school as Don Bradman did” (referring to the legendary Australian cricketer Sir Donald George Bradman, AC (27 August 1908 – 25 February 2001)

Well, so there you have it. Going to Bowral for watching the autumn colors and visiting the historic site of your favorite legend – killing two birds with one stone I suppose!

From jewelry making at home, getting ready for her exciting trip back to Indonesia after almost three years of lockdown, her love for nature, Hobert being her favorite place to live, being pretty spoiled as she is her parents only child, and of course, coming to Sydney few months back from Bowral for searching new opportunities – we had a few laughs during this discourse.

However, the most entertaining thing about her was her total love only for the horror movies – not romance, neither action or drama, nor even the notorious fifty shades of grey! None of them could make her happy. It was only those horror movies that can truly get under her skin!

“So, you are into paranormal activities!” – I jokingly remarked during out chat. And later wanted her to make one of those “paranormal faces” as I also get some amusement watching all those faces even in real life while walking down the street certain times during the year. So, here is what we got.

Well, we didn’t have the props handy, but I would definitely love to shoot her with some chicken blood on her face somewhere along for sure! On a side note, I watched some of those “paranormal” movies in the past and needless to say, I stopped watching them half-way through either because they were too scary to continue, or I fell asleep! Well, not only the moving trains but also watching movies surely does make my day – at least sometimes!
But hang on! To sit down and watch movies you also need to fill your stomach beforehand. Right? And here my delightful stranger has a secret to share with you! But before I get into the secrets let me tell you something about me. Although I not a foodie in any way but growing up in a village and living close to the ponds and fishing being one of my favorite pastimes back then, I was exposed to the fish from very early childhood. So, for those fish lover here is a special recommendation: “Sepat” (not sure if the spelling is correct) – an Indonesian cousin made of the whole fish 🐟 🐠 making it like broth. Now since its winter here in Australia it might be worth trying since soup and broth are perfect for this season.

One thing that came up however, during our chat was this: how you look when you’re photographed – are you looking terrific in the photo! Well, fortunately for me, I love that challenge whether I am successful or not. And many years ago, when I was introduced to photography by my friends, I was super excited about anyone taking my pictures. I have lots of images of those early days. Later, in many cases I got so excited and obsessed about photography and people, that I took myself as my own subject – taking self-portraits – turning the shutter onto me – making myself as the center of the light, camera, and action! There are even many famous photographers who dedicated their lifetime in this pursuit.

There is this old saying: past is always beautiful. But the question remains as how – how to make our past so beautiful and delightful. Few days back while I was taking photos of one of my other encounters, I was told that she didn’t post anything on social media for four years, because she was very critical of her photos. Well, I must admit that being self-critical is a great quality, but I also tend to believe that it is rather a double-edged sword. Life presents us with many difficulties and hence, being too self-critical might strip you off the many fun and joy that life also has to offer! Today, during this discourse, I was told pretty much the same thing as my other encounter: “I never liked my own photos”. Was it because she was also very self-critical?

Well, hard for me to say but every moment of life comes with its own uniqueness – its joys and sorrows. And everyone can grab a slice of this big pie called joy. And here is key: you have to grab it on your own – to create this delightful past you must play your own part and there is no harm to be part of it. You can create some fun memories for yourself no matter who you are or how you look or what you think of how you look.
One of the key lessons that is preached by spiritual minded people like Eckhart Tolle is this: to make these fleeting moments – these NOWs – better and better – not to live in the past or brood over future but focusing on the now. One thing I learned from photography is this: it’s a wonderful tool to celebrate these fleeting moments of life. As such, I tend to believe that making those NOWs better and capturing those delightful NOWs – these passing moments – can be a way to build this delightful past for ourselves and probably for people around us – people that we care the most.

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