The eyes have it all - As I move through different lands, one observation I have is about eye contact. Almost always, eye contact, or the lack of it, is directly proportional to the affluence of the place. In richer places, I find that strangers do not make eye contact unless they are in a defined space and it is considered alright to talk - for example an event or a meetup. In less affluent places, people easily make eye contact.
Whenever I see a striking pair of eyes, I remember a story by Ruskin Bond called “The eyes have it”. The story is about a blind man who briefly meets a girl on an empty Himalayan train coach. He tries to hide his blindness by making small talk about the scenery. As the girl leaves the train a few stations later, a new passenger arrives. In author’s words:
The man who had entered the compartment broke into my reverie. ‘You must be disappointed’ he said. ‘I’m not nearly as attractive a travelling companion as the one who just left.’
‘She was an interesting girl’ I said. ‘Can you tell me—did she keep her hair long or short?’
‘I don’t remember’ he said sounding puzzled. ’It was her eyes I noticed, not her hair. She had beautiful eyes but they were of no use to her. She was completely blind. Didn’t you notice?
As it gets hotter in our Burma, some kind folks place water by the street. You welcome to help yourself for a drink. When I was a kid, I lived in Rajasthan. In the summer months, some local residents would fund building a small hut shaped water kiosk. They would hire local women to dispense water via a small opening in the shed. They used a copper vessel with a long spout to dispense the water. You didn’t need a cup or glass to drink. All you have to do is bend a little, cup your hand in front of your mouth and then take a drink. Back then they used earthen pots to cool the water before transferring it into the coppor vessel. The water had a distinct earthy taste. Now they use plastic containers; the water feels boring.
Ciné Lux built in the late 1930s has closed down. I used to cross the busy intersection here to reach my home at street 172. They always showed Thai or Khmer horror movie - I learnt about the Ahp (a South East Asian ghost in the shape of a floating woman’s head with internal organs trailing behind, also knows as Krasue in Thailand) via the posters here. It could be an excellent location to shoot a horror film now. Maybe there is an Ahp inside.