29 Nov 2015

India- in one photo

Now back home after my journey through South India-my first trip to India for 15 years. A lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same.
Compared to 15 years ago-still amazingly friendly people.An appalling rubbish/litter problem.A big increase in the numbers of cars,buses and three wheeled autorickshaws means crazy,terrifying,suicidal driving on totally chaotic roads.Towns and cities incredibly untidy and dirty and plagued by inadequate and broked down infrastructure. Colour everywhere. Still awe inspiring antiquities - palaces and temples.Fewer beggars,many more middle class/affluent Indians,mobile phones everywhere but still so much poverty.
India has a unique culture with so many contradictions. Where else in the world can you see a cow foraging in heaps of litter outside a construction site for a stunning new Maserati car showroom? Or see a gang of men in loincloths working with pickaxes to dig a trench for a fibreoptic cable whilst a bullock drawn cart passes by? Or use very high speed wifi in a old city centre hotel which draws its water supply from a deep well in the courtyard?

The photo above nearly captures it all. Chaotic traffic in a small town. Riders without helmets. Women riding side saddle. Women in very colourful saris walking amongst the traffic. A dirt road in the middle of town. Motorcycles parked everywhere. A sign for computer education and in the LH corner a small, mysterious, bearded man wearing perhaps a loin cloth sitting on the ground. Only a wandering cow is missing.
The Indian Tourism authority has a slogan- Incredible India.That says it all.

I took 320 photos on the journey. It was a major effort to restrict myself to only taking photos worth taking. I tried to apply the old film camera discipline. I have edited them down to just 50 worth looking at.  I set myself an objective of coming back with a dozen good photos and I reckon that I have  suceeded. I will put the photos up in batches in the next few posts. I have not shot tourist sites and holiday snaps and I have not shot beggars and sleeping people. Most of my photos are of people and mostly they are happy people because that's how they were.
Photo by author in Udumalalpettai,Tamil Nadu,S India,Nov 2015 .

Footnote -for readers who are not aware the predominate religion in India is Hinduism which holds the cow as a sacred animal hence Hindus do not eat beef and cows are literally free to roam wherever they want and this includes amongst the traffic in the biggest cities.Yes, I know it sounds weird and it is.

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