I came back this weekend, and as some of you have already noticed, I updated the header on the site with a few images from India.
I went through my pictures as I usually do after a long trip. I delete the pictures that are out of focus or the worst of a series. After sifting through some 800-odd photos, I sat back and waited. Was that it? A thousand flashbacks of memories in India poured through me that weren’t captured on film. There was no way to capture them. I actually wonder why I had tried. And yet I know that in time the pictures I took will reinforce most of the long-term memories rather than the flashes of specific passionate moments I am reliving now.
My mind is quite sad at the thought.
I know I will need to go back to India. Need and want to. The moment we arrived in Italy, with snow on the ground everywhere, S and I both looked at each other and said, “Let’s go back.” From (my) photographer’s point of view, I think I can only record and document what I see when I am able to distance myself emotionally enough from the situation to step back. And I was definitely involved emotionally and physically during the whole trip. The sights, the smells and the eyes of each individual that one might find “photo-worthy” captured me completely in their spell.
So much to absorb, so much to think about.
While I didn’t have a typical trip and we were spoiled by our friends and their relatives helping us in doing everything, I didn’t try to ignore the downsides of India. I haven’t taken a trip in quite some time that affected me as emotionally as this one. For every beautiful thing I saw, I saw several others that brought tears to my eyes.
So I’m depressed. But in a good way. In a life-changing way. I am consoling myself with several Bollywood movies and by sticking my nose every 5 minutes in a bag of spices I brought home on the plane.
And that’s good news for you. Because what do I do when I get depressed? I eat. And I cook! I’m going to intersperse the India posts with other non-India posts so I can savour it a little more. So let’s get started in 2008! Chalo!
Here are a few pictures from the first portion of our trip. We spent it with one of my best friends and her grandparents in a small village outside Navsari (pronounced: NOsahree) in southeast Gujarat (near Surat). I spent several days perfecting my Gujarati (Kemcho!) but could only use it on friends and family around us and not in the rest of India.
In five days, shuttling continously between several small villages, mid-sized towns and beaches and a city of several million, I never saw another non-Indian. Not a single one. It was quite a feeling.
Here a father and daughter took a break from crossing a bridge to look out on the river. I would love to know what she’s thinking.
A friend using the red public phone in India. I saw a few of these being carried on the backs of scooters, so apparently they’re mobile, too!
The sunset seen from one of our rickshaw rides. The lack of windows (or doors) makes you feel really in the middle of traffic and the crowd, which I loved. I of course liked them best for short rides since they can be quite bumpy and exposed to everything from smells to pollution!
The endless rows of sari shops in the Bombay Market in Surat, Gujarat. We made a short stop here for a few hours. It’s hard to see the selection from the outside, but once you’ve chosen a place, you take off your shoes, go inside to their showroom and sit to see numerous fabrics placed in front of you.
I actually loved the fact that cows were everywhere in India. This one continued walking through the market afterward. I loved how they were so unafraid of any cars or people coming towards them. We actually did see one dead on the side of the road but I’m surprised it wasn’t higher with how they drive (more about that later!)
This had to be one of my favorite subjects during the trip. This family was along side our car for several miles in Surat. It was late evening (and much darker than in the picture) so it was hard to get the correct exposure without using the flash, but at least the father was obliging in letting me photograph them and kept coming close to the car. You might not have noticed the wife at first glance – she’s staring intently at me and wasn’t as happy about being photographed.
Happy New Year, everyone!!