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Airport Rambling

May 24, 2011

I’m at an airport terminal in a country that is in between where I am coming from and where I am going. I’m sitting across from the Korean Traditional Culture Experience Room at beautiful Seoul Incheon Airport and listening to some unobjectionable, if dull, traditional music playing on the speakers. A young man, in some sort of flowing garb that must be traditional Korean, stands there smiling at totally uninterested strangers who rush past. In front of the cosmetics shop next door, smiling painted Korean women sell duty-free make-up equipment to tired passengers. I feel like I’m suspended somewhere in space. In any case, in comparison to most American (and definitely Indian) airports, Incheon is like a futuristic space station.

The feeling of alienation isn’t helped any by the fact that I am traveling between worlds that couldn’t be more different from each other. Everyone who has traveled between vastly differing continents (Europe-North America doesn’t count) has felt some version of what I am feeling. But just a few hours ago I was in an auto-rickshaw on Malad Link Road, anticipating every bump in the road, alert to every turn and red light. All around me the sensory chaos that is Mumbai from the heat to the fumes to the honking horns and the pedestrian traffic filling the streets in the never-ending street fair. And in a few hours (well, another 16 at least), I will be on a largely empty wide-laned highway into Orange County, California. Serene, tree-lined, sterile. In Mumbai I was headed to a mall for a meeting, malls being the only decent place left where you can meet someone in the Northern suburbs of Mumbai. Incidentally, that might also be true of Irvine, but that is because EVERYTHING there is in a mall. Besides that there is very little common to the experience of these places, except perhaps the person who experiences them. And even that may be a fleeting thing, the “person,” that is. After all, isn’t the person just a repeated pattern of a set of garbled ideas and clouded thoughts? But wait, this is supposed to be a blog for a movie.

Well, we’re done with production now for sure. I am on my way back to Los Angeles and I am ready. Now the hunt begins for funds to finish the film, for an editor, and for the time to weave a story out of this mass of incredibly diverse footage. This editor, of course will have to be a rare beast, someone with passion and energy and skill, but not someone who has already used all of that to rise up to an hourly rate that I cannot afford. I wish upon no one the challenge of having to make a film with as few resources as I have. 

But at the same time we’ve come this far and it’s been a tremendous journey. We’ve been so fortunate at so many points, (and plain lucky at many others) during our shoot that everyone on the crew had come to believe that we were blessed. We dreamed of finding Sudhir Kumar and voila at our first World Cup game in Bangalore, we found him and he agreed not just to let us shoot his life but ended up letting us spend a few weeks with him (and he ended up being the genuine article); we hoped we could find a young cricketer with a good story and accidentally we ran into our girls, Akshaya and Kaikesha; then we hoped to find a boy cricketer and Prithvi Shaw, a tremendous prodigal talent with an incredible personal story dropped in our hands; we didn’t even dare to dream that we would interview cricketers of the stature of Yuvraj Singh And Sourav Ganguly, and yet it happened. 

No doubt each one of these occurrences took a tremendous amount of work and research and boldness to create but they did happen. And for everyone involved with the shoot who knew how little we had in terms of money or connections, each of these successes was a minor victory. So I have to believe that as I come back to LA, our luck will continue. That people, like the ones reading this blog and your friends and cousins and crazy uncles and distant acquaintances and pets will keep coming out of the woodworks to nudge us along as they have been.

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