A Photo-Ethnographic Study, Tales from Rural India
Comments 72

In loving memory of Dhapodi Ji

Dhapodi ji became a shepherd once she learnt that she would not be able to give Ambaram any children. I saw her whole life as she slowly walked away, Limping for her daily work. She looked after seventy goats and four cows. Takes them all together for grazing daily finding newer fields and trees to eat from.

Meanwhile Ambaram married again, in search for a boy the new couple got five beautiful talkative girls before a quiet boy arrived from the younger wife. All children are going to school except the youngest girl.

I remember Dhapodi jiji because we never spoke. Over all It must have been over eight days as she brought me tea each day and food in the night before leaving to her hut. Falling sick around her was like i became her new goat. She gave me home medicines like my mother is giving me now for cough.

One night when the family had gone out, i found her working in the candle light in the kitchen. I asked her if i can make a photograph of her for the memory. She smiled and stood slowly on her one leg, went inside almost making me feel ashamed for even asking, came back wearing a bit of jewelry on her head that must have been from her marriage time three decades ago. I think she looked beautiful. What do you think

I photographed her in February 2016 while working on a film.

Tales from Rural India


Hi, I am Narayan Kaudinya. And i welcome you on this journey, the Road to Nara ! I am an Ethnographer and a practicing Indologist. I did my masters in History and further learnt Sanskrit, Yoga and Nerve-therapy. At 24, pushing most academic sounding, office sitting works away, i felt compelled to know and understand the world and my country, Bharat/India. I travelled, and as it happened i took up teaching in Kashmir and further up in the remote villages of Baltistan in the foothills of Karakoram Ranges. For around three years and many states later there came a time when i felt that it was only while teaching i learnt how to laugh, to see, feel, breathe, love and cry -with children, and mostly resource-less parents in the harshest-freezing border conditions. I write, and work as a documentary photographer and Filmmaker, with numerous published, exhibited and some awarded stories. In my travels and life i have let nature lead me, the divine mother, and as a Yogin, my resolve here is to share my experiences and thoughts as honestly, and through them to blossom in everyone the power and possibility in pursuing your breath, that you seek your true nature with courage and curiosity. Here, on this road i will share my spirit, my love for nature, the elements of life that are us. And in doing so, i'll be happy to see you along.


  1. What a sad and heartfelt story of a woman denied the fullness of life for her failure to bear children. Thanks for sharing her story and for giving her life with your photo ❤

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Sheshansh Singh says

    Simple yet sublime. This is what I feel after reading some of your write ups. All of them are simple and beautiful. One feels as if one is on a journey as the journey progresses one finds happiness filling their heart .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even without knowing, what you wrote it is, and how i have lived to find and embrace contentment at all curves that came through. Beautiful Sheshansh. Lovely to have you with your being and understanding. Welcome.


  3. This photo is magnificent..Her jewel is a very personal touch and speaks so much about her. It was not a vane detail but rather, we see her pride in being her:) Beautiful lighting too! It’s a very special photograph.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Pride and her beauty that she chose and i was honoured truly because she was almost not photographed since her marriage. So it was also something that she felt something to be happy about, even for a few moments, but she carried that in her eyes.
      Well, thank you for your words here dear Karima.

      Liked by 3 people

        • Well, once tales choose their tellers, they only need ears and eyes patiently wanting to look within and more.
          I am also sure your poems, ones which are carrying magic worlds in lines as short as a drop but each one filling making nectar ponds too many.
          Love having you around dear Karima. Thanks for being here.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, she is beautiful. She reminded me of Parvati who used to work in my aunt’s house in Mumbai. This was in early eighties. She could not bear children so her husband married again. But she used to look after the family with her money. My aunt was a great support to her. I left Bombay in 1982. I hear about her from my aunt but never met her again. My aunt too passed away in 1991. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pranaam. My parents married in 1982, that is one memory i have of that year. i felt instantly emotional reading that Lakshmi ji. I hope you are safe and staying happy in the times. I am pleased to have you here. Your writings are nostalgic as those few photos that you have shared. The world you are carrying with you is precious for all of us to know from, your views and stories. I am looking forward to keep reading from you. Narayan.

      Liked by 1 person

    • My pleasure Catherine. And you know even though we feel that her’s is a hard life, but i could feel that peace in her. She was happy, quietly living by herself.


  5. I think she is the most beautiful woman I have seen in many years. This story is the most poignant and authentic one I have heard as well. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for checking in on my blog–and I thought I would return the favor. This is a beautiful story, and I look forward to hearing more about your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary, lovely to have you. More so Military and Cinema, wow. I haven’t watched 13th warrior though 🙂 and your work is beautiful.
      Happy to have your words dear Mary. Thank you.


  7. She is soooo, soooo very beautiful. Her eyes are breathtakingly sweet. How lovely. Wow. Thank You, Narayan. You have this wonderful way of just walking right in to people’s hearts. I hope You are recovering from Your cough! Take care!!! 🤗❤️😊

    Liked by 2 people

  8. of course that’s a rhetorical question ❤ you are beautiful too, for seeing her light & shining it upon us 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I re-read this post again, and I am moved by your goodness and kindness. You have the greatness that will lead you to achieve aims beyond your imagination. That I know without any doubt. And I will be there.



    • I always get rushed by, like a flooded river taking everything along herself, you. To tell you i have no idea really. There always has been some friction, some struggle. But a lot of walk, a lot of smile and many a horizons along the way of the golden magic hours.



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