Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Indian Travels

My computer has been in a complete mess of late. No order to my files whatsoever. So, I decided to sort things out, only to open up my 'My Photos' file and spend the entire day going through all the pictures I have on my hard disk. And once that was done I started playing around with Flickrs mosaic maker so that I could put some up here. (And to think I should have been working!!).

Looking at all the photos I have clicked while travelling around India made me somewhat sad about the non eventful holidays I had this time I went back. I have almost always wiggled my way out of Delhi on my previous vacations to make a trip somewhere. Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra. I had hoped to visit Varanasi this time but somehow things didn’t work out.

I always maintain that travelling in India is absolutely fantastic. There is just so much to see, and I don’t mean that just in terms of the diversity in art, culture, clothes, food, religions and what have you but also in terms of just literally seeing and watching people. There are just so many people everywhere that observing them on the sly is so easy. To see them in the midst of their daily routines not really caring about your presence is such joy.
People in processions, in gullis, just sitting around or even children in school.

Then there is India’s spirituality that everyone talks about; everyone from the west comes searching for. Some find the idea itself ridiculous. How can one find spirituality in the midst of dust, dirt and scores of people?? Some can’t see it and come away disappointed, demanding a refund. But there is a spirituality that is inherent in India and her people. You only need to look a bit closely to spot it. In between the hustle and bustle and crowds. A lone man offering his prayers to the Lake Pushkar. A lone Llama boy in a secluded monastery in Ladakh. A woman reading namaz in a corner of the durgah at Ajmer. I haven’t failed to find a oneness with nature, a oneness with ones self.

Of course travelling in India is not easy by any means. The roads aren’t always in the best condition. It’s hot for a large part of the year. It’s crowded with people and cows. And there’s the perpetual possibility of being ripped off. But in spite of all of that the rewards of travelling in India are so rich, that even the worst situation possible becomes bearable. Because there’s hope that there is always something wonderful, something special right around the corner.
Isn’t that how travel should be?

P.S: In a shameless bit of self promotion am linking some of my previous photo posts on travel in Kashmir, Ladakh, Agra. Say nice things, will you?


tabula rasa said...

*very* nice things. i like the richness you manage to get into your photos.

chandni said...

its a wonderful heart warming post :)

With the heat and the dust and the cows and the roads, I love my India...howveer sugary syrupp soppy that sounds!

Szerelem said...

TR: thank you! compliments about my photos make me very happy :D
Mosaics on Blogger isnt the best way to put them up but im lazy to upload them one by one and make do with what i can.

chandni: thanks! I love India too - warts and cows and crowds and all. Its just to awesome to not love!

Tabula Rasa said...

i often feel the urge to post photos on blogger but the uploading process is so painfully bad i either postpone it or abort it midway. i really do like the colors you extract (i've thought it before as well :-) somehow my better pix are usually the b&w ones.

Szerelem said...

yup, bloggers photo uploading is the pits! I love B&W photos too but personally I love taking colored pictures.
I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I adore Steve McCurry. He is like photography God for me. I met him a couple of years back and behaved like how most star struck teens would behave on meeting their favourite Hollywood star =D What i love about his work apart from his compositions is the fact that his pictures are so infused with colour.
And when I'm travelling India what I really try to do (or hope to do) is try and capture a bit of just how colourful, vivid and full of life she is.

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Wow. These are lovely! (is that nice enough?;) no no seriously, beautiful!

GhostOfTomJoad said...

"Nice things". Will that do? :-)

But, seriously, comp bad...can't see pix very well. I can just about get an idea of what you've shot and they look nice.

About travelling, I notice you've mentioned observing people. I'm sure our paths must've crossed on one of your travels across the place and I must've caught you observing, slyly or otherwise, and given you the dirty glare :-) But, seriously, I wish people would do all observing on the sly, like you said. B'cos otherwise it gets annoying when you find eyes staring at you, no?

noon said...

To see them in the midst of their daily routines not really caring about your presence is such joy.

- So true. I just got back from a trip home and the quietness here is starkly in contrast to the noise and buzzle there...the park nearby had so many kids buzzing about and waiting for a chance at the swing there...here it is much larger,greener,cleaner but also has much fewer kids at any time. One can just go to the near by park or market (in India) in the evenings for some quiet entertainment watching people!
Why no close ups of these photos - the photos of the kids and the turbanwallahs are great - would have been nice to see those more clearly than in this thumbnail version...

Szerelem said...

Shoefiend:its more than nice enough. Thank you!

ghost: i guess you're right. It is'nt very nice to have someone staring at you in manner of a potential stalker. So all staring must be done very subtly =P.
But i think when you're travelling a large part of the fun is seeing how people behave, live etc. and you cant really not look at them for that, right?
It similar with clicking photos of people. You can ask people for permission sometimes, but its not always possible. Some get uncomfortable and move away, others realize the lens is on them and go about their business as usual.

noon: people watching is great fun isn't it?? and the crazier , more crowded the scene the more fun it is - as long as you have a quiet spot to observe all the madness =)
About the pictures, they are actually large in size, its just that posting on blogger isnt feasible. You can see them (and others) uploaded on Flickr here

MockTurtle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MockTurtle said...

Love the pictures. As TR says, they're amazingly rich and vibrant.
I wish I could trade places with you. A train journey across North India is something I've always wanted to do, but I've lacked the time and the motivation.

MockTurtle said...

PS - sorry I know this is the wrong place for this comment, but I was going through the rest of your blog and saw your post on Lump and the Picasso museum.
I was in Lucerne in 2001 and my first stop was the Picasso museum there. Your post brought back a lot of memories.

Szerelem said...

MT: thank you!
you should definitely do a train journey in India - they are so much fun. I've been lucky to have lived in both the north and south so have seen quite a bit of the country by train and car.

The article on Lump in the NYT brought back a lot of memories for me as well. The museum there was very interesting - quaint and personal.

Anonymous said...

nice pics gal...taj in blue n srinagar my favs...plan to do some travelling myself once college gets over...during the break b/w college n work next year...wan2 see a whole lot of india...will surely take some tips frm u then ;)

Tabula Rasa said...

i finally got around to updating my blogroll and included you. hope that's okay.