What do you do after writing about women of Gujarat? Why you go ahead and write about the handsome men of Gujarat!
As I said in the post before, I managed to click so many people because of Bernard, he is a pro, it was easy to stand next to him and click pictures. Gradually I started clicking people on my own.
The ladies in our group would call Bernard dadu which I presume means elder brother in Bengali but to me it always sounded like grandfather! I would tease him too that everyone was calling him a grandfather!
While our bus was creaking on its way up to Kalo Dungar (Black Mountain), the highest point in Kutch, a group of men with their camels came down to us!
Sangram was also there with his camel. He told me the village depended on rain based farming too, other than tourism.
Arjan was selling ber at Kalo Dungar. He walked about 8km to reach the spot and he was all of eight years himself.
To this man, with his cool shades and horse, I only asked if I could click his photo, to which he readily agreed!
Mia ji is the sarpanch (headman) of Dhordo Village, the gateway to the Great Rann of Kutch. They run the ‘Gateway to Rann Resort’ at Dhordo as a community project. There are pictures of him with Amitabh Bachanan and Narendra Modi! He talked to us about his village, which has three ATMs now. A girl from the village is doing her M.A., a first. He was so proud of his village and he credits it all to the Rann Utsav!
I went for the heritage walk in the old city of Ahmedabad. Once again, I only asked him if I could click his picture to which he readily agreed.
It was fascinating to walk through the lanes and by lanes of the old city. But then it is going to be a separate post in itself.
Baba was selling vegetables near the old Ahmedabad stock exchange. He asked me to click his picture and I happy to oblige.
Like many others, he too was a regular at the Swami Narayan Temple and the pigeons knew him!
It has been fun clicking people, and now that I have got started, I am going to keep at it too!
PS. I was invited on this trip by Gujarat Tourism.
If you have been reading my blog for a while you might have noticed I hardly ever post people photos. The reason is street/people photography used to terrify me. Do notice the past tense, things somehow changed when I started photographing the beautiful women of Gujarat. Of course I clicked men too, but they will have to wait!
As soon as we got down at the Bhavana Farm Stay at Little Rann of Kutch, a group of girls caught our attention. They were selling jewelry and they wanted us to buy some!
Shilpa was the cutest and most persuasive of the lot. She wanted me to buy something from her shop immediately. I promised to buy the next day as I was tired. I did buy an earring, as promised.
She was also the part of the same group. She too extracted a promise that I would buy later from her and I did!
I ended up buying an earring from her too! But that was all I could, after that I had to ignore everyone else but they still posed for me!
The women wore such pretty colors, their jewelry was exotic too! I would ask them to show me something like they were wearing and they would just giggle in reply!
I visited three resorts in the Little Rann of Kutch and every resort had a group that sold jewelry outside the resort. I spotted this beauty at the Rann Riders Resort.
There was a cultural program at the Bhavana Farm Stay at night. And while mom and aunts were dancing the little one was sitting by herself acting cranky. I decided to babysit her for a while. I gave her my cell phone and taught her how to browse through the pictures! She didn’t bother her mom after that. In fact, when the dancers took a break, mom and aunt also browsed through the pictures. They asked me if there was any photo of my kids, They were happy to see Chhavi’s photos.
What I started doing at Kutch, I kept up at it in Ahmedabad too. The Mai was feeding the pigeons near Swami Narayan Temple. She told me she comes there daily. I am sure the pigeons know her and wait for her.
Finally I clicked this one on my heritage walk in Ahmedabad. She was sitting next to her heavy iron but work would wait till she was done with the newspaper.
I would credit Bernard for this transformation, where I ended up clicking up so many portraits. He is a photographer from London. He was traveling with a postcard which featured his previous work in Gujarat. He is a pro at clicking people photos. Initially I would stand by him and click pictures. He tried to communicate with everyone he photographed, that when he could not even speak the language! At times I acted as an interpreter for him! And that got me going. Soon I was talking to people and clicking them on my own. I hope I will not lose the confidence, now that I have found it.
In the picture above Bernard was directing at least 50 students on a college trip. The venue was the Sun temple at Modhera near Ahmedabad. He volunteered to click the group photograph and they cheered for him loudly!
PS. I visited Gujarat on an invitation from Gujarat Tourism.
December is here and unlike the other years, I am in a full on reminiscences mode. So I asked myself- which picture would I pick if I had to pick only one picture from each of my trips! Now there was a problem with this concept. If I picked even just one picture from each of my trips, there would be 20 pictures in all! I decided to go easy and do it in batches of 5. So here I go, these were the first 5 trips in 2014.
Kutch, Gujarat (Personal Solo Trip)
It was very difficult to pick just one picture from the trip to Kutch because I have 963 pictures in all. I visited the Great Rann of Kutch on this trip with its white salt fields. Yet I went with this picture of the Mandavi Beach because in a way this is how I wish my vacations to be, golden sunlight on the beach with me lazing around! Only I always end up chasing pictures instead of lazing around.
Sariska (Personal Trip)
Sariska was one of the trips where I didn’t get many pictures worth showcasing. However, I did got the closest ever I could, to a peacock. It was easy picking up this picture as there were no serious rivals in this folder. The trip was special because I traveled with Chhavi.
Narkanda (Personal Solo Trip)
I went to Narkanda at the end of February all alone. It was one snow filled affair. With every passing day though, I wonder if it is wise to travel solo in India? And when I say solo, I mean traveling alone on my own, not when I am invited. On invited trips I have never ever felt unsafe. Let us see how I tackle solo traveling in 2015.
This was another trip where I feel I had only a few decent pictures, so it was not really difficult to pick this one.
Finland (with Nokia)
Levi in the Lapland region of Finland was a snow filled wonder beyond compare. The house you see was the Levi Spirit Villa where I stayed. I consider it to be the most luxurious accommodation I have ever stayed in, till date. It had its own Jacuzzi, Sauna and Home Theater among other things! It was not easy to pick just one picture from this trip as I had a crazy snowmobile experience as well but in the end I picked this one for the sheer luxury.
Udaipur (with Justa Resorts)
If you ever find yourself at Udaipur, do go to the Monsoon Palace at sunset. I was lucky that the sky put some extra drama but even without that, the view of the city is just gorgeous. Once again this was a trip that gave me many happy pictures but I absolutely adore the sunset ones and specially the one above.
So, which one did you like best?
At the first glance the place seemed totally clean. Then I started walking on the salt, I realized that it was not so. Immediately after the platform you can get down and walk on the salt. People did leave garbage around this place. It completely stunned me. For me the landscape was so beautiful that I would just not dare to litter around it, not that I otherwise litter in public places. If such landscapes can’t move people to keep it clean, I wonder what would? If big dustbins and signs right next to the place don’t motivate people to keep the it clean, do we really have hope.
To me it was sacrilege that people left behind their trash in this pristine environment. I then did what I have never done before. I picked the biggest offending pieces, a polythene full of trash and a few large plastic plates, and threw then into the dustbin.
A child asked me why I was gathering trash. I replied because the place was too beautiful to be littered! A couple also came to me and said that they really appreciated what I did. My simple reply was that I enjoyed the place too much to let it remain dirty. Mostly because I hesitate I won’t do any such thing. I just enjoyed the landscape so much that I was motivated to let go of my hesitation and do just a little bit of cleaning.
I hardly get outraged but really what is wrong with us Indians? Why do litter with abandon in public places, in beautiful places even when there is a dustbin just a few feet way. I wonder if anyone has an answer.
Will I do it again? I am not sure at all. If the landscape is as beautiful as the Great ran of Kutch, who knows, I may do it again. But in all honesty I will most probably just walk off the next time, like everyone else.