Last February I went to India, a country full of contrasts that managed to strike such a chord on me that I’m already planning my second trip to see more of India and the people of India.
In India, all senses are appeased (literally). Eyes can’t get enough of the bright colors, from temples to local markets to women’s clothes; every corner has its characteristic smell, most of the times curry-based; everywhere life is loud and bustling; tasting buds are more than happy as Indian culinary tradition is legendary for its diverse and delicious dishes.
Of every country I visit, what usually stays in my mind are the people. I like observing the locals, the way they act, they walk, they talk to each other reveals so much of their habits and, ultimately, of their community. In this sense, Indian society doesn’t lack of imagination, and gladly provides visitors with a great array of viewpoints, fully deserving the title of a photographer’s paradise.
If what makes a country is its people, below is a photo essay I decided to devote to the colorful people of India.
Let’s face it, could I go to India and miss the world’s famous snake charmer? On my second day I was actually beginning to worry, but fortunately on the third day I saw him and immediately snapped a shot of one of the most popular, quirky, anachronistic, unoriginal symbols of Indian culture.
Streets are studded with street vendors, most of them selling fruits and vegetables, delicious I have to say. Sellers gave me a direct glimpse on local life, made of work, struggle and cooperation, the kind of sense of belonging to a community that big cities are losing.
Nothing is revealing of the nature of a place more than its local markets. And in India they couldn’t be but as colorful as their temples, revering of 84 million gods, nonetheless. Noisy, bustling and messy, they make for a truly different morning to be spent with locals.
Daily life in the Rajasthani city of Jodhpur sees everybody getting to work, and women travel with such huge sacks on their head, image that so far I had seen only in Sardinia, my hometown, only in the most godforsaken villages that still try to resist to the winds of modernization.
The local village of Salawas, in Jodhpur’s countryside, boasts beautiful handicraft, the most popular being the ones of carpets and clay. I was mesmerized by the ease with which this man was shaping his creations, one after another.
Kids were one of my favorite subjects for photos in India. They were gorgeous and playful despite the poverty they are surrounded of. Their eyes showed a too early adulthood, an awareness that at that age they should not have.
This little girl in Jaisalmer desert captured my attention for her simplicity, her lost look and spontaneity. It wasn’t quite clear to me her role in the realm of tourism, but as everybody else, she was there welcoming visitors. I couldn’t refrain from taking a picture of her.
Of course many of the kids I met were working, such as this camel rider, who led us to the highest dunes of Jaisalmer desert to enjoy a beautiful sunset.
I loved witnessing the steps of a fascinating ancestral ritual that sees the use of the opium as a way for socializing and keeping firm the bonds within the community. An interesting, and certainly effective, way to make up in case of disagreement.
People of India
It’s still India, right? After sipping the glass of opium and having re-established the balance within the community, the perfect ending of the soirée is naturally a cup of Masala tea taken around the fire.
Indian people have faced and still face a lot of hardships. It’s a population that, like many others in Asia, has suffered unspeakable pain and injustice. India is somehow showing a delay in catching up with progress, and the gap between the rich and the poor is striking.
Nevertheless, people always manage to give strangers a smile and to show appreciation for small things, things that I usually take for granted and that, instead, could put me in closer contact with nature, such as simply having the chance to watch wildlife and being thankful for that.