these Dancing Lamas won me a 15-day All Expense Paid Trip to India!


© Penelope Haque – All Rights Reserved – Phodong Monastery – Sikkim, INDIA
I first published this photo of Dancing Lamas on my photo blog – Penelope Gan | Photoblog – two days before Christmas December in 2009 from a borrowed PC in Northeast India en route from Sikkim* to Kolkata. Void of any digital darkroom programme {which at that point I was far from even being an amateur at it}, it was promptly pointed to me as slightly overexposed by the very same man who inspired me to photograph the Dancing Lamas or Chaams – Tewfic El-Sawy, The Travel Photographer.
I took the photo down some months later … and forgot about it…
until good ol’ Guglu told me about a photo contest hosted by India Future of Change.
Typically not a photo contest person – heck! not a contest person period – I brushed it off …and forgot about it…until I was sent a reminder by the organizers of India Future of Change who had extended the deadline.
Unable to get Guglu or ascertain if he had submitted his entry, I decided to send 3 shots covering different themes the evening before the extended deadline expired; having returned from a seminar earlier than I would normally do had I been at work that day.
Again, I thought little of it … and forgot about it…
A month and a half ago, I received an email from the contest organisers and like all miscellaneous mail I received, I had not bothered to ‘open’ and address it, until the weekend loomed. With time on my hand during the weekend, I ‘opened’ it and I was mildly irritated at my procrastinating self. Why had I had not done it earlier? Now I had only a few hours to write a short prose about 2 of the photos describing how the themes linked with modernity.
i was stumped! modernity???
was that part of the theme?!?!?!! seriously??!?!? 
(panicking) I speed reading through the India Future of Change website – oh hell yes! that’s the core theme that ran through the entire initiative.
Needless to say, I wrecked my brains and attacked the keyboard of my good ol’ iBook G4 with gusto!
Hit the SEND button … and forgot about it…
I mean, seriously who would have thought I stood a chance. It was after all one of those things Guglu and I wanted to do together. Only difference is this time around, he didn’t follow through – most probably like me, he forgot about it… too.
Last month I received an email from them again and oh hell yes! I do learn from past mistakes, I opened the email immediately.
Shocked! I let out a scream
which was a very bad thing to do having just being robbed less than 48 hours ago.
My mom had a fright and panicked! imagining the worst …  reassuring her that I was ok and no, I had not seen the robbers, no one is entering and there is no ghost either {the last bit is added for dramatic effects of course}, she was in a different kind of shock to register the fact that my entry was one of the winning entries.
Being typically human, I got a tat greedy and transited from “and forgot about it…” and I do not stand a chance in the heaven, earth, universe and hell of winning to: please, please, plurrr….lease let me win the Grand Prize.USD5,000 will make a difference in my life at this very moment.
USD5,000 will buy the minimum equipment I’d need; a body and a prime lens.
But alas it’s not meant to be … so it’s time to forget about it…  move on, and look forward to the great prize of a 15-day all expense paid trip to India in December 2011.
Thanks India Future of Change. Click HERE to view the photos of the Contest Winners and HERE for the Contest Winner’s information – oh yeah, they made the mistake on my country of origin, and yes, yes, yes, I have informed them.
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*  Opting for Sikkim rather than Bhutan for personal reasons that have been blogged previously, it was a wonderful and enriching experience where the time spent and my close proximity with the Lamas ended up with some comical antics and colourful outcomes that includes being kissed! read: Chasing Dancing Lamas} right to having to break H.H Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche‘s cat’s heart! {read: Déjà vu, Tibetan Buddhism, Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, his Cat and I …}. Whilst harder to access than Bhutan, Sikkim is highly recommended – but do track Mother Earth kindly and preserve Sikkim.
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Many thanks again to Tewfic El-Sawy for inspiring me, his kind words and constructive criticisms, and more importantly his friendship. Do check out his blog and websites for his work on Dancing Lamas.
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9 thoughts on “these Dancing Lamas won me a 15-day All Expense Paid Trip to India!

  1. 3rd class would have read"Dear Keat, CONGRATULATIONS!!!" and not "Dear Penelope, CONGRATULATIONS!!!"I shall keep a pocket size photo of you in my wallet to superimpose you into every part of India I go – whokay???lol

  2. the emails didnt go into SPAM??? lolz. this i really terrific man. i m now really curious which indian route u r offered..and i read briefly that its a 'around' india…my goodnesss!!! they should allow u to experience…3rd class on indian-rail…lah…lolz.

  3. Extremely proud of you. Always knew you had it. Keep the day job though. You need the distraction if little else.If you are in need of equipment for the upcoming trip, we're here to assist. You can pay back at your own pace.

  4. errr.. you buying more equipment or "anon" making conclusions?Thought you are done with your gear – never met a person who's so discipline and sure in that regards.Anyways, a BIG congrats!Ben

  5. You can still enjoy shooting prize-winning photos without needing to spend US$5K on a body with a prime lens. Remember the key word 'improvise'?You deserve to get onto the year-end trip.

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