Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Village Family In India

When wandering around villages in India, what you notice most are the families. Which makes sense since most of the structures are clusters of houses. No big boulevards of shops or industrial parks.

You've got siblings.


And more girls.

Boys going to school, boys hanging out.

And whole families.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Life In An Indian Village

1.2+ billion people live in India. 8 million in Chennai, 16 million in New Delhi, 18 million in Mumbai. So where is everyone else? Get out of town and get into a village. It's possible to stray from the crowded cities, packed train routes and bustling transportation crossroads and find yourself in a rural village. Suddenly, not much is going on, there's no noise and a bit of flora can be found.

It can be downright desolate, buildings placed randomly among fields.

Don't worry, you're always welcome! Maybe there's a small store for a few dry goods.

Women and child.

Village life is agricultural life, so make sure you take good care of your animals.

The men, pausing for a pic on the way to work.

Village bling, brought to you by this woman's feet. Either that or she's been pounding pistachios.

The road out of town (village). Small and lonely.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Nighttime Aarti Ceremony In Varanasi

One of the not-to-be-missed events in Varanasi is a lovely nighttime ceremony at the Dasashwamedh Ghat. The beautiful show is every night at sunset: a half dozen or so holy men making a prayer through song and show to the river Ganges.

There's a real patina to the ceremony, pots swinging and smoking, costumes and singing. It's impressive and the crowds come out to see the spectacle.

Ladies and gentlemen, the show....

The ghat is packed, both on the steps and on boats in the water.

A particularly moved spectator.

Tacky tourists and someone more at home, ready to place a pooja in the Ganges.

One of the performers. More crowds, but room for a sleeping dog.

Another audience angle.

Meanwhile, other things are happening at night in Varanasi. A flower seller with a mysterious figure in an entranceway. Ceremonial guards at a wedding reception banquet.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Portraits Of Varanasi

James, continuing a portrait project he started at the Kumbh Mela (see the portfolio here and here), took a handful of solo photographs in Varanasi. Here are the results.

Boat captain.

Man at the funeral ghat.

Bather and man changing.



Friday, 26 April 2013

Time To Hop The School Bus In Varanasi

What's the equivalent of those ubiquitous yellow school buses back in the United States? In Varanasi, it's a little wagon-like contraption married to a bicycle. The mini hauler is so cute, at least to everyone except the poor guy who has to power the thing.

Who's going to Central Academy?

An empty "bus," ready for a load of eager students. There they are, all coordinated in their finest plaid pants and green blazers. You'd think they all just won golf's Masters tournament.

So cute!

Out the bus goes, being walked instead of pedaled. The boys don't seem to mind, at least they've got drinks.

An ode to Robert Frank.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Laundry Day (Everyday) In Varanasi

The Ganges River in Varanasi can clean everything. Bring your soul, your beliefs, bathe, cleanse and be blessed. Then get back to the mundane and clean your clothes.

These three guys are paid laundry workers. A stone, some water and soap, and you're in business. You provide the shoulder grease.

A woman hanging saris. On second thought, will my clothes be cleaner or dirtier?

More saris laid out to dry, creating a staircase rainbow. Beautiful!

The full array of laundry drying. Sheets, saris, jeans, no wonder the man in the center is taking a break. Two women being their own clothesline.

Portrait of the laundry man.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Murals Of Varanasi

When you're in Varanasi, you're busy thinking about the ghats, bathing, the mighty Ganges river. It turns out a bunch of other folks have been busy thinking about painting murals. The fine artwork is spread throughout the ghats, some themes are religious, some are focused on commerce. The murals add a nice layer to the riverside experience.

This wall is religious-themed, showing tales of Krishna in the center, flanked by a couple of famous Babas. Gene Simmons' brother on the left?

Animal, vegetable or mineral? On the left, a monkey showing up the silly humans? Behold the rare and lovely lettuce elephant!
Signs advertising various classes. Maybe speaking to the laundry class using the ghats? Time to better your life?

Here's Krishna, doing what the Sadhus taught him - enjoying cannabis. Eye know, wild?

Holy cow, flying around Earth, powered by....flatulence? Nice touch to have one of them circle a section of exposed brick.

Murals don't stay around forever. Looks like rabbit is getting forced into history.