I met this beautiful group of children in Pushkar, India in 2007. This is what I meant about the incredible “ham for the cam,” stylings I’ve encountered when trying to shoot candid scenes here. Watching the youngsters' raw exposition of pride always makes me a little tearful...
In other news, I have been working on a TV piece on controversial eforts to curb child begging in India with CHILDLINE 1098 (a hotline that locals are encouraged to call to report young beggars). As I work away, it isn’t the language barrier, as I suspected, that has been my toughest challenge. In fact most diplomats and NGO workers speak better English than myself (The Queen's English, to be sure). The real issue is navigating the bureaucracy and unconventional work schedules.
Here is a play-by-play of my day today. Firstly, to get in touch with someone, anyone, from a specific government entity I had to dial out on a landline at least 3 times to ensure the number actually locked. Secondly, if I am ringing anyone I MUST have their cell number as they are never in the office, nor would anyone know their whereabouts or anticipated return... that meant I tell a few white lies to hook numbers we don't have on file. Thirdly, when I finally reach a warm voice (after dialing 10 times and letting it ring), more often than not, I find out the individual was just transferred horizontally to another directory/office.
One high ranking secretary joked with me today that he wakes up in the morning fully expecting his office to have disappeared. In fact, it had just happened as he was no longer in the Department of Child Labor... which I was hoping to reach. So, not only can I not get in touch with people to book them, but I cannot figure out who currently runs the department that I hope to speak with...
Did you ever play Telephone when you were younger? How 'bout Musical Chairs? This effort is the best of both....with a dash of the game Sorry for added spite.
It’s all part of the fun. Though, tomorrow it's on! Officials be warned, I’m turning full-on American debt-collector on you!
So much I have yet to share including updates on my pseudo-Bollywood adventure, my potential future as an outsourcee—earning Indian wages, no less (how's that for a table-tuner), and my upcoming journey to a small village 4 hours outisde of Delhi. All in due time..
AND as promised, I plan to finally post video of my first shoot in India first thing tomorrow when I score a high-speed internet hook-up!