Monday, 6 April 2015

A Passage to India … 'It is what it is'

Hi everyone, thanks for stopping by, taking the time to read & to comment too - it is always a real joy to read your comments & return the blog visits ….

I have been away on a little Indian adventure with Ms M, my sister-in-law.  She has, for as long as I have known her, wanted to return to her Colonial roots in India & late last year, I said: If you want to visit India, I will go with you ….

And so in that simple conversation, a holiday emerged & having no ties, I let her plan the places she needed to revisit in India - not an easy thing for me to be a passenger on someone else's journey but I recognised the importance of her coming to terms with, & laying to rest, her Colonial past & the 8 years she spent in India.

My mantra for the trip - It is what it is - the famous quote of V.S. Naipaul;  no preconceived ideas about the continent or the people, I would take it as it comes.

Revisiting yours or someone else's past involves a lot of patience as they are in a time & place that is disconnected to the here & now & for the passenger, that journey & obsession is not their story to tell nor their journey to make, so passengers have to do the trip in a parallel way.

My journey would be visiting & exploring India to just enjoy the experience & to do what I love best; to engage with people & cultures through the lens of my camera - through photojournalism.

With several train trips & 5 domestic flights to cover with a mere 15kg baggage allowance,  I decided that I would still carry my large Canon 5D Mk11 camera with a favourite lens, the versatile 24-105 wide angle lens. I love my 70-300 long lens but that would add bulk & introduce dust to the sensors when changing, so I bought a new compact Sony DSC HX50 camera with a 20 megapixel image & a 30x zoom for the times when a zoom was needed & for the video capability it offers too.

Anyone who carries a large camera will know that it is heavy, hot around the neck, requires a certain confidence & tenacity as it needs to be taken in & out at security & it attracts attention, but people engage if you just reach out & break down that barrier ….

Photojournalism requires you to confidently engage with people in markets, on the streets, in temples, in their ordinary life & with just a smile or gesture, ask to share their life through your lens.

And engage they did - in turn they honoured us by inviting us to be part of their journey, by being in their photos, meeting their family & being a part of their life - what a privilege.

Everyone has a story to tell & if you just step back from your own story, you will hear it

 A passing family on their motorbike - this is a common sight in rural India

Such poise - at the Taj Mahal

I love your blue outfit, you look stunning because you smile with your eyes, one of the lovely ladies at the Golden Temple in Amritsar ….

Would you take a photo of my family?

My son & I are visiting the Golden Temple - can you take our photo?

Men posing after asking for their photos to be taken at the Golden Temple in Amritsar

The colourful ladies at the Golden Temple in Amritsar - the colours are so lovely

So very elegant & composed - in Pragpur

Cheerful & friendly market traders in Pragpur

Pragpur - a seamstress / tailor working on a garment but taking time to pose

Can you take one with my Mum too?

Pragpur tailors - so very talented, running up a suit in this tiny shop

Pragpur - watching us then obliging for a photo … such a lovely lady

Pragpur children on their way home from school - they had such a good command of English

Lovely ladies happily posing for me …

Naina, the lovely granddaughter of the owner at the Judges Court, Pragpur. She was holding the fort for her Grandfather; a credit to the family, articulate, interesting, caring & very good company …

Ms M in Pragpur

Roasting peanuts in Shimla / Simla

You wear your hat so well, may I take your photo? Shimla

Our toy train driver - Shimla to Kolka

Our guide on the toy train with a fellow guide

Travelling companions on the toy train

The sweetest family who shared our Toy train journey …

 Some girls on a passing train - posing for me …

 On a train platform

He was in the Michael Palin documentary on the Shimla railway - take his photo ….

Our guide in the sunshine while we wait for a passing train …

Greetings from the passing train …

May I photograph your beautiful hands? In Kolka

At the Jama Masjid Mosque in Delhi

 A heritage village walk in Agra

 Local children on our heritage village walk

Women working at the Heritage Centre

Gifts from the Heritage Walk guide

 What a lovely smile ….

Group travel ….

Seen working in the fields

This lovely lady at the Chand Baori Step well near Jaipur

Our guide Hubert Lal,  helping us to make sense of all the history at the Jantar Mantar astronomy centre in Jaipur


Carpet weavers in Jaipur

Knotting the carpets - up to 1000 knots per inch on the expensive carpets ….

Market views - Jaipur

My favourite colour of pink …

A local sweet ….

Bangles being made by a family in the market place

Silver leaf for sale in the market in Jaipur

Fabulous colours in the Amber Fort in Jaipur 

Clipping the hedges ,,,,

Our fountain of knowledge guide - Hubert ….

How absolutely fabulous are these colours - reminiscent of Annie Sloan colours

Shades of rubies in the Jewellery shop in Jaipur ….

Our boatman on the Ganges at Veranasi

Pilgims at Veranasi

Bathing in the Ganges

Placing a light in the Ganges in memory of a loved on …

Lights floating between the boats on the Ganges

 A vegetable seller catching up on the days news. We encountered so many avid readers ….

Ironing being done with a coal iron on the streets of Veranasi

A priest in the temple making a call on his mobile …

 A sacred cow being fed in the streets

A man pausing between milk deliveries to read the newspaper

Going down to the Ganges to bathe

Tea making is such a national past time ….

Early morning reflection …

The sun rising over the Ganges

 Tea time ..

Our boatman after dropping us on the steps / Ghats

Tea time ….

 The nuns at Mother Teressa's convent in Calcutta

The potters of Calcutta making statues for religious ceremonies

A transvestite on the streets of Calcutta

Colours of the powder for foreheads near the temple in Calcutta

The enigmatic & enthusiastic guide from Calcutta walks - our guide for the day …

Introducing us to fresh coconut water to quench our thirst in the 38C heat …

India is a land of great contrasts & the lens of my camera allowed me closer to people & their lives - for that I am grateful. Visit Shimla with me too  ….

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into life in India through my lens;  more to follow soon. Thanks for visiting ….

Dee ~♥~


  1. Dear Mrs Dee,
    You have done me no favour. I know once I show your blog to my husband, my dream of seeing the northern lights will be a dream for another year.

    Your photos are absolutely stunning and you have again done yourself proud. You have captured the beauty of India at its absolute best.

    Me thinks I need to start making plans to visit. I would love to get together with you sometime and hear all about your trip.

    With love from
    The Tipsy Tart

    1. You are too kind dear Tipsy one - I loved India with its amazing culture & people - so much to see & do, so much to capture, so much to take in. I could easily have stayed longer ….

      If you need a travelling companion in India hehee


  2. The photos are so beautiful and the people so friendly. Did you and Monica travel to India alone? How very daring if you did. I wish I had some of your energy. LOL. xxx

    1. Thanks Monica - we booked through a travel agency & were met & had designated drivers & guides the whole way so we knew we were safe because Audley Travel take great care to make sure everyone has the trip they really want. x


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