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.
We wanted to do some shopping at Gulmarg itself, as we were not confident about the conditions at Srinagar. When we visited Kashmir it was restless and felt a little unsafe.
And we found that even though there were many hotels, restaurants and snow boot renting shops but only place to buy shawls, t-shirts etc at Gulmarg. For me buying something for my daughter is a must, that is my entry fee to get back to my home!
The Shopkeeper at Gulmarg, Kashmir, India
For my daughter I bought a poncho which she absolutely refused to wear! I realized everything has to be soft or she refuses to wear it! Eventually we had to give it away.
After I finished my shopping at the only shop, the shopkeeper said, “you were so soft, otherwise women bargain quite hard.” I bought a stole quite similar to what you see in the display. It is a beautiful design but it cost me a bomb. On second thoughts, maybe I should have bargained! But then I am so bad at bargaining. I don’t even know where to start.
Living in India bargaining is a everyday skill, you are supposed to bargain at the vegetable vendor, the auto guy, the flower vendor, the crafts shop etc! I remember clearly in Ladakh that one shopkeeper reduced the price of a t-shirt on his own saying I thought you would bargain! He said as everyone bargains we increase the price in the first go!
I am wondering if this Gulmarg shop was the same! But then I have bought the stole, I quite like it and I paid price which I thought was fair! So I think that will do!
But I will have to wait for the next season to use it as winter has gone away from NCR!