All posts filed under: A Photo-Ethnographic Study

Welcome To Heaven: Stories From the Line Of Control that May Enlighten The World– VII. Final

On the Great Himalayan Road Journey to Baltistan, today is the showdown, the final journey continuing from Call of the Now- I Life and nothing more- II Road will tell you- III Remember me with a Lotus- IV The Gun Mountains and other Gods- V The Wait of Baltistan- VI : ँ : — It was more difficult to reach here than i had thought. To an extent I was only one night away from leaving it all and going back home. A whole day had gone in repairing Tyre and servicing this vehicle in Diskit, the same valley that hosted gypsies once, ancient travellers, porters coming from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan carrying opium and other magic potions to the cold desert of Hunder; a stop that they still talk about as the Silk road. This was the ancient Silk route, and from here you either go up to Mongolia or find your way to the Tibetan plateau into China. I took to Baltistan. “And had Turtuk not pulled me in this one time, I may …

The Gun Mountains and Other Gods -V

On the Road to Baltistan, continuing from Call of the Now- I Life and nothing more- II Road will tell you- III Remember me with a Lotus- IV : ँ : Before we reach Turtuk, Baltistan; it was important to dedicate an essay only to the journey. My travels that saw me traversing through these dangerous, rough and meditative landscapes that over the years helped changing me, even my cells. For many years this road has been my road to inner work and of the outside world, and i imagine one which taught me best how to discern. This National Highway that runs from Srinagar, Kashmir to Leh is called the NH Delta- 1 and is the most important road that joins the valley of Kashmir to Laddakh. La that is ‘a mountain pass’, and ddakh is the ‘King’- this land that is the king of the mountain passes, running along the mighty river Indus, parallel to the most active, volatile border in the world, the Line of Control with Pakistan. Ever since the partition …

Remember me with a Lotus: Memoirs of heaven and birds in Kashmir- IV

Narayan, do you know why I am here today? I kept my silence. I couldn’t see my father when he died. I wasn’t there. He had stopped me from leaving home but I left regardless and all my life i have been living with this guilt that i couldn’t even gave my hands for his body. I wasn’t there with him when he wanted me most and it had needled me every moment. You know, when he was young, he too came on this yatra, with someone like you, his friend. I remembered his stories of bathing in the coldest waters of Sheshnag.

How i found my Will? And sooner my health. The Kushti world of Ancient Indian Wrestling: A Photographic Essay -II

It was a week later, since that night of inner churning, when I met Sangram Singh again, and for the first time at his one room flat in Delhi. And most interestingly, he was already drinking, since sunrise. His whole house smelled of tobacco. Lights not brighter than the ones we sat under, in his auto. The green wall behind him wore a Hanuman calendar of the previous year. His eyes swollen, pointed, looking towards me, followed my gaze from the wall to the glass that was kept at the low table beside his bed, rum still left in it. “It’s not good for a wrestler, you know”. He picked up the glass and emptied it in one gulp. When I was young even the smell of this bothered me, but now it’s my nectar. It is this, which makes me feel alive. But Narayan, you look different today, Sangram suddenly getting aware of my presence. You seem all ready? He said looking at my camera. You wanted to see the wrestling place, right? I …

A Dip in the Rivers

From time to time, a dip in the river changes your perception about that river you just became with. She starts knowing you and you her. To start with, first of all she calms you down. Slowly changing your inner nature. And gradually of the outside. It may even happen that hundreds of dips later over the years you may start earning some qualities of that river. Your temperature of the body gets strengthened and so does your smile. And if you are open as you naturally should be, like a child; your ever expanding nature will carry you then to the places that can only be created behind your closed eyes. Sailing along patterns of current, looking at forms, colours, patterns, walls, speculating other dimensions in the dark, to the sounds of birds and leaves, of burning dead trees and water ripples, hearing bodies visually and later, very slowly language. Sometimes a small reaction changes the whole tail of events. Sometimes the start itself is the end. But the dip is important. Because that …

When Krishna calls. A dream life of an Australian Photographer from Paris : Travels in Vrindavan

“O Krishna, the stillness of the divine union, which you describe, is beyond my comprehension. How can the mind which is so restless, attain lasting peace. Krishna, the mind is restless, turbulent, powerful, violent. To tame the mind is like to tame the wind.” – Srimad Bhagvad Gita  I was in my early teens when on my grandmother’s fierce insistence, parents took us on a tour to Mathura and Vrindavan. Krishna had supposedly entered my grandmother’s dream. She lost her sleep, and waited for that day when she would touch the earth of Krishna’s birth. And encircling the epical, ancient, holy Govardhana hill,  गोवर्धन पर्वत on her bare feet. The sun was setting in the land of braj as we arrived, the winds started blowing, grandmother’s eyes went backwards; her body calmed, voice started mumbling the words known to every wall and each monkey sitting on them, as they could  be heard from myriad mouths. Narrow lanes of brick, tall walls wearing Mughal attires turning holy, as the time turned blue like romance, the colour of Krishna, Yamuna …

The motorcycle, Dalai Lama and the Meal – I

Few years ago, I was travelling with once upon a time a beautiful friend. And like all great friendships do, we were growing up becoming something together. And during this long period of growth had found our confidence, our speech, as we took travelling to many a distant lands and one land far; discovering treasures together that helped us earning our eyes, my outer nature and his inner, we learnt together and kept going.   The sun had set again. And unlike last night that had just blown in; we should have found something, somewhere to rest, to eat by now. But here we were still riding, and had been riding our motorcycles for last two, twelve-hour days, while living through one gruelling moonless, freezing night in between, that started late yesterday noon, when we were stopped, stunned to see a river that had come on the road. We parked and got down. One spring had broken loose. Pulling in all mud, the boulders, rocks, with an intimidating noise, and the force of the coldest water …

A Journal of Animal stories in the last ancient fair of Nepal

“There is no other no other culture on earth that worships a woman as a goddess. And has gone to lengths, to make her happy, satisfy her with whatever means a man could imagine. Honoring her, doing little things, like this fair to keep her happy, may be to create another excuse to celebrate, however irrational it may be. Because you see, someone told me on this journey, that if in a family, a woman is happy everything will be favourable. Our goddess needs to happy, at any cost possible” GADHIMAI FAIR : A Journey through the culture of Nepal A sparrow woke us up. After travelling for three days overland, from Delhi to Kathmandu; changing buses including sharing a seat for seven hours with a goat. Through the night, travelling in a time travel bus I was transported from a civil society to a town living thirty years back. A town darkened by the moonless night, wearing a layer of fog only dissected by the headlight of a second world war Mercedes truck. Few …