At Magen David Square there was billboard-size graffiti on the top storey of the tallest building on the spot. A lone busker sang to accompaniment from a large black box that he’d parked by a bench. I didn’t read the graffiti for what it said and what it meant, I merely composed a picture of it. It was four in the afternoon, and deliciously bright, but I’d checked on the smartphone that the sun sets at five this time of the year in Tel Aviv. It was chilly even when I stepped out of the shadows. After I’d inhaled enough of the crisp air of the square I turned toward the pedestrian street—HaCarmel—to check if I could buy something thick enough to wrap round my camera, for the times when I needed to shove it into my bag.
On the edge of the square I looked into the shops. The ladies’ leggings displayed before them gave him an idea. Walking down the street, I stopped before a heap of monkey caps, bought the cheapest, deepest. The vendor said, “todah” with so much gratitude, I calculated the exchange for 10 shekels in Indian rupees. Packing the cap in my bag and with the camera in hand I walked down HaCarmel and, not finding a photo-op, not enjoying the HaCarmel covered bazaar, I turned into Shefer Street, walked over to Nahalat Binyamin Street which arcs back to Magen David Square.
Nahalat Binyamin Street was brighter, more cheerful, and pedestrian-only. It was flanked by vendors of watercolors and art-printed bedsheets and pillow covers and other art objects and trinkets. I quickened his pace. It did not occur to me to take a picture of a prominent art store that surprised me — it bore an Indian name: Kashi. The store had a near-identical twin on the opposite side, named the same: Kashi. It was a lean tall store, and it seemed sort of exclusive. In a way it was suggestive of the real Kashi. I remember the store as orange-colored, but it was perhaps saffron, the colour for India’s Kashi.
Back in the square the busker’s energy had risen. The man was a light black, and my limited knowledge of the African peoples had me guessing he was from the northern rim of the continent. Thin lines creased his face; creases like they’d been drawn with a scalpel. On smooth, clear skin. He was dancing to a mid-East tune, perhaps Egyptian, or Lebanese, maybe, but definitely from somewhere close to this country. Maadeva raised his camera to the man, noting how when he danced his legs appeared skinny, whereas his jacketed torso was of better girth. He looked into camera but he wouldn’t smile. He did attempt to make an impression, though — he stamped his heels harder while the camera was trained on him.
In the meanwhile, deep, sharp edged shadows had covered the square. The temperature had fallen. I hurried to my hotel by the sea, some thirty minutes away.
This post was originally published on my main blog.