"I'm not interested in fashion, generally" - Yohji Yamamoto
This letter destroyed the 250 word limit, but since I’m a sucker for good writing, I’ll let it slide:
In a city where weather, the MTA, opportunity, and conflict are all so unpredictable, I can be certain of only one thing. If the wind isn’t too strong and it’s not pouring rain, Kishan, the bubble man, will be standing near the steps of Bethesda Terrace creating bubbles that stretch so large, they look like translucent elephants floating into the clouds.
I first stumbled upon Kishan during class one day. We were given an assignment to take our video cameras out and explore the city by filming elements surrounding us given our half hour time frame. With a stroke of luck and rebellion, we ended up in the park, and for a solid hour filmed a bubble in every which way one can film a bubble. When we brought our footage back, our peers were fascinated with the way the sunlight reflected off the soap suds and how gently they would pop and create a mid-air waterfall.
Later in my freshman year, the Communications Department required students within the major to declare a concentration: one of them being a focus in film. This concentration was more selective and applicants were required to produce creative work alongside their application. Stressed and in need of inspiration, I walked through the park and stumbled upon the bubble man, yet again.
He immediately remembered my name, something that most New Yorkers realize isn’t a regularity. Stunned and somewhat touched, I asked him if I could film him for my concentration project. He agreed, and for the next two weeks, Kishan and I talked bubbles.
A very good actor, subject- I didn’t know what to call him- his awareness of the camera was fascinating. The control of his bubbles— even more breathtaking. “What do you want me to do now, Sarah?” “Uh, I’m not sure.” “How about you go inside a bubble? That might look cool.” I would nod and hit record. Before I knew it, I was enveloped by a transparent casing, and for a slight second his enthusiasm makes you wonder if your feet might slightly lift off the ground. As if, maybe he has a secret to levitation, gravity, and flight.
I’d ask him: “You do this everyday, don’t you?” He said, “Why not? It makes people happy. It makes me happy. There’s nothing I love more than watching some big guy, well in his 40s transfixed by this giant bubble in the sky. He follows it around.” Bubbles see no age, I suppose.
I set the final film to a classical Chopin piece, and watched, fascinated by how natural Kishan’s art complemented the music. I had a thought- maybe Kishan is beyond a bubble blower. He’s a composer, Bethesda Fountain’s own Mozart, waving his hands in the air and creating these physical notes that hit this part inside of us that we thought left us long ago: our innocence. He endures an ethereal symphony, and if you’re lucky, you can hear his music.