“She knows her shit!” says, Z.

For her – everything’s gotta be done, and everything’s gotta be done – quick and ideally NOW (in caplocks!)! I am random compared to her super organized self. She’d scream and say “but I’m not!” and that’s when you gotta smile and nod and agree for the sake of. Rule No. 1: you don’t mess with her.

It’s hard to keep up with her. It’s been the same since the early days of May 2010 when we first emailed each other. I kept thinking… dude, damn too fast. She’s the person who is forever on time at every meeting. She’s the one who will judge you for turning up late. The one who won’t have chai during the meeting but her adrenaline will win against your caffeine. (I’d put all my money on the table! Oh yea.)

“She knows her shit!” – I was told by the only common friend, at the time. That changed. We’re now down to a 100+ mutual friends! ;)

She’s the girl I wouldn’t meet till a month after getting introduced – not in her country, not mine – but on another continent, well partially speaking. She’s the girl who carried a crateful of Amar Chitra Katha comics for my friend’s birthday because I asked her ‘once’! Only to realize on her way back from the bookstore that this is the stuff extra baggage is made of! Ha! But she doesn’t care. She figures out stuff. She is a DOer. 

"I GOT THE BOOKS!", says Mansi!

If gchat had a tag-cloud – ours would highlight: ‘Milo’; the ‘aunty-ism’; travel travel travel and travel some more; iThis iThat; 28mm; Delhi-Khi-iStanbul; insomniac-ism amongst other unmentionable stuff.

She’s not your average last minute girl – she’s… spur of the moment. She’s curious. An explorer. She’s about meeting new people – of trying out stuff she’s done before only in a far more challenging manner – of making sure that every single day of her life and the life of those she’s surround by is different from the day before. Her energy is contagious making each new experience memorable and unforgettable.

She’s an Indian. She lives and loves in Delhi. Her name is Mansi Midha (and not Manasvini!). And I’m glad I bumped into her!

“She knows her shit!” says, Z.

rolling into the ‘flickrlighstalkersvimeo’ phase.

Stages of a Photographer

I am currently active on –

One exposure per motive, that’s where I’d like to be! :)

Source: I love Charts.

rolling into the ‘flickrlighstalkersvimeo’ phase.

Of foundry.

As early as 8am – the hostel used to buzz! Of occupied shower stalls and borrowed shampoos; Of coffee and goat cheese; of conversations in 5 different languages in one room; of cables sprawled across the floor; of waiting for the battery lights to turn from orange to green; of iPad and Macs by the dozen; of cab-pools and stepping out in groups; Of photos and photos and photos; but more than anything else… of Efes! Yes, even early in the morning ‘for the road’ just before stepping out! :)

Efestanbul! Photographed by Insiya Syed.

Hush was never really quiet… with a soul or two lazying out in the lounge on the comfy couch; the sun pouring in the only air-conditioned room that became the meeting point ‘see ya downstairs in five’; the software of choice Mr. Lightroom fast at work – there would always be those who are passionate to capture taking notes and discussing ideas. The hustle and the bustle fed the adrenaline!

The hour after the final submission of our projects. Just before we headed out for the closing night party! Photographed by by Michael Thessel. (Um, yes that's me - the refugee!)

By 3pm after a quick shower and a skype/fb update for family and close friends walk down the Hush road to take a left. Predictably awesome routine as you highfive fellow foundries inhaling icecream at ‘Mado’. Another 3-min walk to the corner where the doner kebab addicts assembled at least 5 times a day. And spending the rest of the day with this new found family of friends! :)

Döner Kebab joint at the corner of Park House Hotel. Photographed by Insiya Syed.

From the moment I found out – I had 3 days left to register myself to a workshop that would change a lot. Foundry Photojournalism Workshop 2010, June 20-26 in Turkey, Istanbul turned out to be a one-way ticket to a reality check. Also a turning point that made me semi-switch my career (Again! From being a journalist to working for TV; to going to radio; and then back at TV to being a wedding photographer!) to being a photojournalist.

Rocking Roomies. Photographed on Brenda Luzmila Bravo's Mac.

And this was a trip that I could not have even imagined – even after getting the ticket and the visa stamped. I had the money saved up for another potential trip that didn’t work out and I was heartbroken when that was postponed! 2 days later a friend mentioned Foundry and a month later, I couldn’t believe myself even when I was on the KHI > DXB > IST flight!

Istanbul, June 20-26, 2010. Photographed by Insiya Syed.

I think at some point, I will have a continuation of this post. A foundry part two that talks about being in Constantinople as one of the three Pakistanis – the other being Nariman Ansari & Qamar Ji – the feeling of being given a chance to ‘represent’ the green and the white! With around a 100 new ‘foreign’ contacts on my facebook, to always be on the lookout to show off the (little) positive stuff that I find online to link and many times, to ‘introduce’ my new friends to a Pakistan they haven’t seen before. And definitely not the Pakistan they see in the evening news.

Qamar Ji. Photographed by Loryne Atoui.

A part two of this post – to somehow explain the trip and the ‘freedom’ I felt in a country I had never been to before. Despite not being able to speak their language, having better communicated with people who embraced me for being a Pakistani! :) And being a 25-year old (at the time I was there, turned 26 a month later!) single girl who flew to Istanbul alone.

Making our way to the hostel at 4am in heavy rain. Photographed by Brenda Luzmila Bravo.

For now – a very belated but the most genuine thankyou to Istanbul – you felt like ‘home’. <3

Some of the work produced at the workshop could be viewed here.

Of foundry.