We’ve been in India now for six weeks and I’ve been snapping away most of that time. However, no matter how many photos you take there are some moments that either escape or just won’t translate. Here, then is a selection of encounters and sights that I couldn’t capture in pixels.
A five year old girl immaculately dressed in her school uniform, brushing her teeth as she strolls across a waste dump on the outskirts of Delhi.
A young mother with 3 small children living under a bridge surrounded by open sewers and rubbish. As we walk past she is looking intently into a small compact mirror putting on her lipstick
Slum shacks as far as the eye can see in Mumbai – all with satellite dishes tapped, tied and strapped to their roofs.
Bright golden sunrise over the holy river Ganges. The sound of bells and prayers echo along the riverbank and a man dumps piles of garbage into the water from his boat as it drifts silently downstream.
Three guys squatting at the top of a small hill having their morning ‘movement’. A fourth guy, less bright, is squatting at the bottom of the hill.
Things you just don’t get in the UK
Egg shops – small stalls selling nothing but boiled or fried eggs.
Street side dentists
Professional ear cleaners
Second hand newspaper salesmen
Walking along the tiny, winding backstreets of Varanasi I was approached by a young, well dressed man.
“Hello” he said. “Do you want something?” I shook my head. “Coke? Hash? Opium?” I smiled and declined. “Very good quality” he winked. “No thanks” I said “all comes from government approved shop” he declared.
I shook my head.
In Kochi there were ridiculous amounts of crows, huge dark menacing things that would scream and squark all day from dawn to dusk. One morning we were discussing the abundance of crows over breakfast with our host, Joy. He told us that they often pecked people on the head and he himself had been crow pecked on several occasions in his youth. He said that many people viewed crows with suspicion and that to be pecked was considered to be not just painful but deeply unlucky and a bad omen.
He then recounted a tale of a man in the town who kept getting pecked. So frequent and so unprovoked were the attacks by the crows that the man soon began to imagine himself to be cursed. When others in the town began avoiding him because of his bad luck he found it all too much and killed himself.
We tended to walk quite quick past the crow trees after that.
A butterfly, bigger than my outspread hand. Deep black and sapphire blue floating between brilliant green leaves after the rain.
The blue and red flash of a kingfisher as it dove into the river.
The small moment of shock on seeing a white striped snake zigzag through the water as we floated down the Ganges.
Blue tarpaulins dotted amongst the tropical green sweat of Mumbai
The strange perspective of the flat white Taj Mahal appearing through the mist just before dawn.
Kids flying a pink paper kite in the blue skies over Varanasi
Golden afternoon sun flooding the valleys on the drive up to Darjeeling.
…and the rest