Thursday, December 29, 2011

Into Your Arms in Bangalore, 24/12/2011


That starts in the Cubbon Park

A family is lunching together on a rock near a transistor with music ...
" Excuse me..... would you please take me in your arms?"
The father or the grandfather replies:
" No, we are eating now."
The daughter replies:
" Why? How does it help you? Why do you want someone to take you in arms?"
I start to give some answer, listening the guitar from their transistor.
And the father says:
" Thank you for your question but we are not free."
And the woman replies, with a big smile: " Sorry about that. Thank you."

Few steps further, a couple:
The woman replies: " Oh please no! Check with somebody else."
The man replies: " Yeah. Why?
The woman: "No please ask to somebody else. We are not interested."

Few steps further, a woman who, after being very surprised, takes me in her arms, very softly.
"Oh hug you? Ok fine. What ever? It's not a big deal."
Her name is Nilo.

Few steps further, a mother who refuses but pushes towards me her child. I say:
" Why should he accept if you refuse?" and we are laughing and I leave them.

Then we go to take an ice coffee with Richard and Jeetin, waiting for Priya and Kristian.
And I hear the keyboard and the song: "We wish you an Happy Christmas, we wish you an Happy Christmas, we wish you an Happy Christmas... And an Happy New Year!....”

And I start to walk again in the street....
The fisrt man replies: “No! Please!”
The second man replies: “No english.”
Hug me?” I said, with the gesture...
No idea, Madam, no idea...”
A couple replies: “ No no, we are tourists here. We are from Singapore.”

A shopkeeper accepts immediately, but as he has some problems with his arms so he asks me to go inside.
Copyright: B.Didier/P.John
 He doesn't try to sell me anything.... I'm surprised... His friend takes me immediately in his arms....
Do you feel it's really helping in the life?”
And I remember the story of the divorced man in Brussels who was so afraid about physical contacts and who was so smiling after hugging me. Just for few moments like this, I want to continue to walk and to ask to people: “Would you please take me into your arms?”

I turn the corner. I continue to walk with this question.
A woman with sunglasses takes me immediately in her arms:
"Have a nice day! And Happy Christmas! And it's nice because nobody asks me like this!"
Her name is Satya.
Copyright: B.Didier/P.John



And a man who is sitting on a low wall:
"No. I'm married
"Oh but this not the question..."
" No, no.... I'm very confused... I'm fine thank you."
Copyright: B.Didier/P.John


And a man replies: " What arms? What kind of arms?" .... " Well ok, come here!"
Copyright: B.Didier/P.John


In the shop of glasses, a seller is very confused, not sure about my question. I don't ask after new glasses, I ask after a hug... Everyone seems immobilized, watching without understanding what is happening. " I beg you pardon?... Why Madam?" " Why not?" And I explain that I'm a performance artist and walk in cities to explore this question. And suddenly the seller takes me in his arms.

In the street, the paan seller refuses. He's scared because of the police.
Nearby, another seller is also scared. But he looks at me very strongly.... His piercing look penetrates mine. After a while he proposes me to go in his house "You'll see my house....You'll eat my lunch....I'm a snake charmer...." His name is Bagoo.
Copyright: B.Didier/P.John
At this moment, I start to be scared. Was I wrong? Maybe....


At the entrance of an antiquities shop, a guardian takes me in his arms. Spontaneously.
Copyright: B.Didier/P.John


At the corner of the street, the autodriver tries to understand where I want to go...: " Where is Arms? " and finally proposes me to go to some massage.

A woman who sells clothes on the street doesn't understand. She looks afraid by my white face. A man comes to translate and she asks "why" and finally she takes me into her arms. And we are laughing together. Her name is Yemma?
Copyright: B.Didier/P.John


At Kochi's café, a couple is taking a cofee, face to face.
"Would you please take me in your arms", looking at the woman.
Her husband translates. After the wife hugs me, they invite me to sit for a while and discuss together. Together...

And I go back to the Cubbon Park. There a family is sitting. Muslim women and children...
The grandmother is sitting on a box and takes me in her arms.
Everybody looks happy...
And there we are invited to share their picnic: a wonderful chicken byriani!
Some hours later, when we arrive at house to celebrate christmas, Richard and me question ourselves:
"Where in Europe people you don't know will invite you to share their picnic?"
This day was the best Christmas I've ever known in my life!
Copyright: B.Didier/P.John



Thanks to Priyadarshini John and Jeetin Rangher for shooting, to Richard Martin for the video
Thanks to Manola Gayatri and Yacintha for welcoming and supporting me for this project in Bangalore
Thanks to Isabelle and Bruno for helping about translation and blog

Today, I have a wish: to make an exhibition in 2012 about "Into Your Arms in India" in Brussels and invite Indian artists who took part in this project, giving of their time, their talent and their energy.
If by chance some people should be interested in helping me find to find places and supports please don't hesitate to contact me. As a friend told me: "If you break the word "impossible", it will work";)


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