I have no intentions of turning left.
“ Turn Left!“ The sultry female voice commands.
“One of the things I’m grateful for is children who challenged me when I was wrong, even though they had to suffer my wrath.” – My Father
On a Monday afternoon, roughly three years ago, a group of my friends and I drove over to Walker Bros. Pancake House (Hello, Apple Pancake!). As we settled in, Azam sat across from me as our waitress handed us menus. A few minutes in to some pleasant conversation, one of our mutual friends began to tell a story. I wasn’t listening, and continued to laugh, and comment while he was speaking. To be quite honest, I was being downright obnoxious. And I knew it.
“I’ve never been in a room with a South Asian photographer, filmmaker, and teacher, before… I mean, how do you do that? How did your parents let you get away with that?!”
This past Saturday, I spent the day photographing a Pakistani guy propose to his girlfriend on the ice at Rockefeller Center. After looking for a place to crash, I ended up in Harlem, at my friend Musa’s apartment. His brother Esa was also visiting. Musa is an award-winning filmmaker, while Esa is a talented and successful educator. In addition to their careers, they both have passions beyond their day jobs. Along with their family, they have served as inspirations for me as I continue my journey to discover and pursue what I love.
I spent about four months in Syria, living in a neighborhood called rukn al-din, in the northeast of Damascus.
While there, I lived in a house with several other Muslim men (and one Christian) from around the world. Eventually, everyone in the house except the Syrians and the German did not speak with me, refused to let me eat with them, and branded me a Sign of The Day Of Judgment. Suffice it to say, I make an impression wherever I go. More on that in a follow-up post, though.
1. Cafe Latakia, run by Malek.