taking a walk in india and beyond

May 31, 2011

they don't need a classroom to learn to sketch

some people put in money and years to master the art of making the perfect sketch stroke. but for the one-minute-portrait artists of janpath, learning and making money go hand in hand. kabir khan (extreme right) tells two newcomers to observe the area and sketch what they see. it's only a matter of minutes until the first customer chances upon the scene to get his/her portrait made.

rough beginnings.

(janpath, new delhi)


ohhh, if there's one thing I hang onto,
that gets me through the night.
i ain't gonna do what i don't want to,
i'm gonna live my life.
shining like a diamond, rolling with the dice,
standing on the ledge, i show the wind how to fly.
when the world gets in my face,
i say, have a nice day.

(from the song 'have a nice day' by jon bon jovi. t-shirt image on the wall shot at janpath, new delhi)

mark your place and sell it, damn the rest

these cloth posters sold in front of a defunct showroom at connaught place in new delhi are a mix of gods and humans. something for everybody.

the buddha is a favourite among backpackers, and it is fast catching up with delhi university students as their t-shirt icon, next to che guevara.

rajesh pal from allahabad, uttar pradesh, who recently got the prime sidewalk space to sell his items, says he has hit the jackpot. "but i paid a large one to some people to survive at this corner of connaught place," he says.

it's business as usual — until rajesh is evicted and his corner taken over by a roadside astrologer or a cloth seller.

May 29, 2011

band disband

the performance is over.

he gets a small gift wrapped in a newspaper for his service.

it's time to go home.

(for more images in this series, visit bands of brothers)

May 28, 2011

bands of brothers

no wedding is complete without a band. maybe times have changed and people prefer to celebrate the tying of the knot with or without the blowing of a trumpet, but these people in their admiral uniforms will be around until they die, or marriages become extinct, whichever comes first.

men from the 113 infantry battalion, rajputana rifles, perform at a wedding ceremony. they give their services to families of military personnel.

on this day another military band competes with the rajputana band of brothers. a red versus green rages on.

the band marches on. it's a busy day yet again. the fun and feasting can wait.

this is the moment every band member has been waiting for. they reach the groom's house, put down their instruments and wait for the rewards. 

(the army bands were hired by a senior police officer for his son's wedding, imphal, manipur. for more images in this series, visit band disband)

May 25, 2011

more balloons

cost of a street balloon in 1991 (remembering from school days) — 10 paise, and you got a bundle of 10 for 1 rupee (remember the 1 rupee note? lol).
cost of a street balloon in 2011 — 3 rupees, and it gets punctured too soon. (imphal, manipur)

 there's a wide-eyed boy with a red balloon 
all my life I've longed for this afternoon 
(june afternoon by roxette. for more images in this series, visit the only way is up)

May 24, 2011

the only way is up

kids, everywhere and anywhere, like them balloons. (imphal, manipur) 

(what is success? it is a toy balloon among children armed with pins — gene fowler)

you and i, and a little toy shop
buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got
set them free at the break of dawn
'til one by one, they were gone

ninety-nine dreams I have had
every one a red balloon
now it's all over and I'm standin' pretty
in this dust that was a city

if I could find a souvenir
just to prove the world was here
and here is a red balloon
i think of you and let it go

(shortened version of '99 red balloons' by nena. for more images in this series, visit more balloons)

May 23, 2011

cover the face and ride on

rickshaw-pullers in imphal cover their faces while ferrying people about town. the weather is pleasant. they don't need the piece of cloth to protect their faces from the heat. they do it for a different reason — most of them are graduates (bachelor of arts, bachelor of commerce, etc) who got no jobs. "it is embarrassing to be a rickshaw-puller in a small town where everybody knows you, so you have to hide your face," says tombi sana, who has been driving a rickshaw after finishing college. recently, the government has banned them from covering their faces because some insurgents infiltrated civilian areas posing as rickshaw-pullers.

May 20, 2011

state museum, manipur

former prime minister of india indira gandhi inaugurated the manipur state museum on September 23, 1969. from a humble beginning, this museum is now a full-fledged cultural centre comprising several galleries.

the 'pung cholom' dance is an important part of manipuri sankirtana music. this dance is performed as a prelude to the famous 'ras lila'. the dance continues in a smooth rhythm and ends in a thunderous climax. performers jump high and dart sideways without breaking the rhythm of music while working on the pung (a kind of dhol).

the ras lila is a classical form of manipuri dance inspired by the love story theme of lord krishna and radha. the dance is graceful and mainly consists of slow movements. it is placed among india's most-acclaimed classical dance forms. the costumes are elegant in bright colours, mainly red and green.

May 18, 2011

national highway 39

from numaligarh in assam to moreh near indo-myanmar border, covering approximately 430 kilometres.

(what's your road, man? — holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It's an anywhere road for anybody anyhow — jack kerouac)

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equipment: canon eos 50d , canon powershot g12 , canon eos 7d, nikon d3000, pentax mx-1, panasonic lumix SZ10 software: adobe lightroom 5 images hosted on picasa web albums, link available on request special thanks to m s gopal all rights reserved


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