All posts filed under: Tales from Rural India

Last Few Days of Winter from my friend Rinku’s Home, in Naggar- Himalayas: A Photo-Story

You know I love Delhi for its years old rich history, but more often than less, it has only been a pass for me towards the mountains. I love the Himalayas more. And in last one decade and half, I have found myself reaching to Naggar than anywhere else. It may also be how this quaint small village found me finding. Also Read: Birdsong- the first poem i wrote after reaching Naggar In 2007, while riding my bike from Delhi, looking for a place to stay for the night, each person i asked from directed me towards Naggar. Nagar in Hindi simply means a ‘city’, or so i thought that once i reach the city i will find a place. But the altitude kept getting higher as i rode in the night getting skeptical of ever reaching any so called ‘city’. But when I finally reached there, the first thing my senses noticed was the fragrance of Devdar trees. It was dark in the night and cricket sang the song of the moon. There were …

Life Of Verrier Elwin: Past and the Present Of the Tribal Cultures In Central India: A Photo-ethnographic Essay

Elwin’s research work in India took place at a critical period leading up to the Indian Independence from British rule. Verrier Elwin first met Mahatma Gandhi in 1928 at his ashram in Ahmedabad, where he had gone to represent the Christa Seva Sangh at the International Fellowship of Religions. Gandhi’s philosophy of satyagrah  as non-violent resistance against the colonial rule had a strong impact on Elwin and he were drawn into the national movement for Independence. However, as he became more deeply involved in the welfare of the community that he lived with, in central India, he began to question the relevance of Gandhi’s severe views on prohibition, celibacy and vegetarianism for that environment. In his autobiography he wrote. “long letter from Mahatma Gandhi urging me to perform daily yagna or sacrifice, of spinning; as no one here for hundreds of miles has ever seen a spinning wheel, decide not to, but suggest rice pudding as a daily sacrifice instead. Elwin’s personal reassertion of loyalty and identity was unequivocal. At a time when most of …

Leaves from a Jungle: The Life of Verrier Elwin living with the Gonds in Central India – I/II

My co-travellers here on the Road to Nara, must already know and have experienced by now how much there is to absorb in India that is Bharat. Every state works like an organ. Each region in contrast to the other in food, language yet somehow bonded by sense and tradition. In my brief career as a traveller, I have desired not just to travel as much, but also to learn, research and document life of other travellers who once walked and measured this nation in a different light, time and dimension. The ones who somehow recorded the flow that once was; those happenings which can only be dreamt of today but can never again be touched. Also Read: How Jyoti Bhatt inspired the new age Travellers and Documentarians with his life? I was an NCC(National Cadet Corps, youth wing of Indian Armed Forces) Cadet during my university years and had a brief opportunity to rigorously walk throughout the Central Indian State of India, Madhya Pradesh for over a month. During one such walk on a …

Jyoti Bhatt : A Tribute to a Living Legend : A Photographic Essay on Rural Gujarati Indian Life(1971-1987)

Today, he is 87 and I will only wish that somehow a film compiling his works, his life, no matter however directed, should come out before we lose all of it. His experiences of that time and era must be recorded.

Pandava Forest and the Brahma Kamal: The Nights of Change in the Higher Himalayas – I

But before finding Brahma Kamal, Nara had to go through the forests where Pandavas once roamed. Pandavas!   The mighty heros of the Indian Epic, Mahabharata. Who after defeating the Kauravas, after slaying their own uncles, brothers, friends in a battle that went on for 18 days, not night. The rule was to rest and sleep in the night; until Pandava’s sons were murdered. The rage from there onwards became the reason to kill; not merely win. The carnage started then. Pandavas killed each Kaurava till the last count one by one. It was a bitter victory. Pandavas went on to rule for 36 years. But the guilt of killing their own kept breathing in their minds. Pride over the years melt into feeling sinful. As sharp pangs of remorse led the Pandavas to leave their kingdom they had won; leaving their worldly clothes, ornaments, and even their weapons; to find eternal peace, to attain Moksha. It was during this search on their way to heaven, while walking for years in the mountains; numerous stories, …

Truth, Evil and the Sun

When we reached Gopeshwar that night, Gana seemed speechless. But Neel looked at him with satisfaction giving an expression like then he has seen. We sat around fire, while waiting for the food to arrive. Open your ears said Neel and he began speaking like reciting an over practised hymn. The men in the east, he said, are trees; those in the south are flocks of animals; those in the west are wild plants. And those in the north like ourselves, who cried out while they ate other men, were the waters. When the collective sound started filling the air, he started explaining about eating. The act of eating is a violence that causes what is living, in its many forms, to disappear. Whether grass, plants, trees, animals or human beings, the process is the same. There is always a fire that devours and a substance that is devoured. This violence bringing misery and torment will one day be carried out by those who inflict it. Pouring milk into the fire- every morning, every evening- …

Life and nothing more- II

Continuing from Call of the Now, for the Great Himalayan Road Reunion. : ँ : To Srinagara, to zojila, to Leh, to Hanle, to the land that invoked my spirit, beyond the Indus, towards the Karakoram, to the parents of my children in Turtuk, to the man who flipped, to all the treks that lead to mahadeva and Gaura; to the top of that Himalayan mountain where the first tyre burst, to i don’t know what pass that came after where hundred’s of horses ran just to take left, and we took towards sky. Stone laden river bed that kept us moving on a conical mountain all afternoon, many called it a road. Through a broken bridge, through the ditches connecting another ditch on the World Yoga day. To stopping in front of the snow, and drinking it. To dipping in the coldest river Tirthan, to filling stomach from the river Chandrabhaga. To standing all night under the milky way. To crying for my parted child, to buying eyes for Rasool bhai. While laughing at …

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 …