Tale of an adventure - meeting Everyday people wherever they are

100 Strangers, 100 Personalities, 100 Stories

welcome to yet another episode

Published: June 20, 2022

It was a wonderful day here in Sydney and luckily the chilling breeze is now missing today (June 15, 2022). Well, it was still there but rather very mild. And with the bright sky and warmth of the sunlight, the perfect time to explore was on the cards. I was rather very busy with work over the past few days. It was long weekend here in Sydney. With an additional off day besides the usual Saturday and Sunday, it was the time for people to go for a long drive perhaps, unless of course, you are a terrible driver and don’t want to be on the rap sheet while double demerits are imposed – recking up twice the fine for the same offence. However, there is yet another reason why you can’t go for a long drive over the long weekend – working in essential services. (Un)Fortunately for me I work in one of those venues, so my fate was rather sealed beforehand. Like a bird inside the cage, I had to fly – well, drive – from one end of the cage to the other – from work to home and vice versa!

Now, that the long weekend is over – that people are now back to their own business, it was time minding my business too. As such, after taking care of my survival needs, when I stepped out it was a bright sunny day right from the get-go and as I reached the station it was two more minutes to go while waiting for the train standing there at the deserted platform, I was enjoying the warmth of the sunlight, mostly on my face.

Since my beloved backseat, which caused so much trouble lately, was taken already, I had to settle into a middle seating on the lower deck. I was sort of tired from working daily for the last few days and for a prolonged period every day and as such, today I wanted some rest and I let my head relax onto the top handle of the seating. However, while trying to fall asleep with my eyes closed, I felt the sunlight all over my face – that soft warmth. My breathing is now getting warmer. And as I exhaled, that warmth of my breath would soothe the depression of my lip. The morning sun is about to reach its peak and if I open my eyes the sunlight will make me blind – well, temporarily. So, I had to keep my eyes shut. And as I kept my eyes shut, I started to see red – blurred red; probably because the dazzling sunlight hitting directly onto the eyelids, and the color of the blood – red – going into my visual sensory.

Half an hour has passed this way – eyes shut, and red in my vision. Today I couldn’t fall asleep although I wanted. Getting off at St James, I made my way towards Westfields and there was this guitarist – sitting on the amplifier playing from an acoustic. Listening some tunes and roaming around I made my way to townhalls. I was at the top of the underground stairs that leads to the townhall station next to the KFC at George St and from there I decided to walk around the side streets. That whole area was buzzing with people – lunch time along with some construction work blocking some parts. As I was crossing the intersection that goes towards Hyde Park in the street adjacent, there, I noticed her in front of me and from the side I made my approach taking my headphone off requesting for a photo. And after showing the details of the project we made our way towards Hyde Park.

“Is this what you would be doing today?” – referring to my stranger’s hunt she probed.

“I do street photography” … “roaming around I capture different types of scenes…like people doing stuff… and then I write about it on my blog” – I went on – “This is what I do on my days off”

“On my days off I love to sleep” – she replied with a grin which was rather amusing. Since its now winter, sleeping on off days is perhaps one of the most sensational things anyone would love to do – I thought.

So, here is Serena FARKAS born in NSW with her multi-national heritage – Tongan, Hungarian, and Maltese. As we started to chat, I made observations that she looked very Indian and wanted to know if any of her parents are from India at which she pointed out her Aboriginal (Tongan) heritage was perhaps the reason why.

Although I haven’t been able to get any Indian so far into my project partly because I couldn’t find them anywhere or perhaps, I am too lazy to approach them, however, looking into my own collection, I have been able to add another aborigine several of months back and just like this one, my other stranger was also very friendly, lively and expressive. 

“You like Huskies?” – pointing behind the dog she asked as we got into the park. When I looked back, I noticed one – white with some blacks around her neck – held by the walker with the leash.

“Yeah” … “but it’s like…you know like” … I stumbled

“High-maintenance?” – she stole my words.

Apparently, she was a “dog mommy” – I jokingly teased sometime later – who owns two dogs – American Staffy and Bullmastiff – as she pulled out the photo on her phone to show me.

“So, which part of Sydney are you from?” – I asked curiously.

“Well, it’s actually three hours’ drive from here” – Forster – as she pointed out “It’s really nice up there, really country”.

When I heard the word “country” I was remined of the village that I was born. Later she told me of her moving to Sydney while still a little kid. However, when I was a little kid, I grew up in that village. And out of many of my childhood memories, one such incident I still remember is this – a very bizarre thing my mom used to do during winter – put some mustard oil on my back while I will be lying on my belly in the front yard. That mustard oil was very tingly – I could barely sniff it for its strong odor. And as such I would lie there in the sunlight in cold winter only wearing shorths to go through this oily sunbath for about fifteen minutes or so before I would wrestle my will into dipping myself onto the icy cold water of the pond to take my bath.

The warm shower is out of the question – it was a village mind you, with little to no electricity. And the only option I was left with was to take a cold – very cold – bath in the pond. If you haven’t experienced how frightening that cold bathing can really be, then you should go to a village and try it out first thing in the morning; this is definitely not for the faint–hearted people, let me warn you. The oil in the body would protect you from catching the cold – mom used to say.

As we were heading to another spot for a few more photos, I noticed a baby lizard on the footpath – probably taking a “sunbath” in this freezing winter – I thought. 

“See the lizard over there” – I casually remarked.

“Have you seen a blue tongue lizard?” – she asked. 

“Noooo” I replied with some confusion. 

“It a native. Australian”… “Saw one in backyard lately”

“So, do they bring the tongue out??” – I was curious.

“Yeah, yeah when they are in danger…” – She went on

“So, you got dogs 🐕 and a blue tongue lizard 🦎 in your backyard… somewhere hiding… scared of you.” – I went on… 

“Is it scared of you, or you are scared of it…?” – I asked her jokingly at which we both started laughing. Well, there are a lot of things that scare me. But we will cover that list on some other day.

She was about to meet her friend for lunch who was waiting for her for the last ten (10) minutes or so. As I was unzipping my bag to get the camera out just before I started taking her pictures, I said “twenty minutes” – loudly – as a confirmation that we would be done by this time. However, I realized later that I took more than that, probably half an hour. So far, my longest encounter was for three hours which of course, I didn’t notice during.

When camera is in action, time goes by and in this case, me and my camera was busy – very busy, so she had to stay put – no choice was given. Finally, her friend called her, and she had to attend.

“This is the first time I am going to see her this year” – she mentioned earlier, at the onset of our meeting some half an hour or so ago. So, it was time to wrap up.

But before that we had one more topic to cover – movies. And when it comes to the subject of movies, the first word that comes to my mind is “Horror”!

This genre is perhaps very popular among women. However, to my delight and also to little surprise she proclaimed “comedy” while telling me about one of her favorites, as I asked: “so, what type of movie it is”?

Further, when I probed “did you had a crush? (on celebrities)” – she laughed.

“Of course, you had. What a silly question to ask?” – I remarked with some embarrassment

“Channing Tatum” … “did you see the movie 21 Jump Street?” – she replied giggling

Well, I had to admit that I was behind the trend at least by several years now when it comes to watching movies and serials. The last one I watched was “Breaking Bad” – an action drama – some five years or so ago.

“If you haven’t seen that movie, you should” – she added.

Shortly after, we bid goodbye to each other. Watching her following the footpath heading towards the city, it was time for me to head home too. As I was coming back to the station, it was cold, yet sunny and was the perfect time for some outdoor fun – not just for me but for others too; many elderlies joined here to play chess. Back in my village during childhood chess playing was very exciting. When the end hours were nearer, I would impatiently wait for the school bells to go off, and as soon as it did, I would run out the classroom, go home to get that chess board – made of partex with plastic covering – blue outside with some black and white squares inside.

Who can checkmate quicker – money bets, snacks bets? We would laughingly tease each other as me and my then mate would sit down on the grass with the afternoon sun on our backs. I had many moves already memorized back then, but now being out of touch for a while, those skills are just part of some sweet memories. Things get better and better as you practice more and more, but you can also lose those skills should you relapse – probably one of the most profound lessons of life. Is life only but a chess playing then? Placing some pawns, queens, knights, rooks, and elephants to this square or that? Memorizing some moves beforehand or constantly planning to implement another – quickly, on the fly – so you can call yourself a grand master somewhere along?

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