1 December 2010

India 2010: part 1b - more faces

I stayed in a poor part of Rajkot, far removed from the spectacular success and riches of other part of the country. There are impressive stories of runaway success and prosperity in India, but this isn't one of them. Here in the industrial heart of Rajkot, water runs for twenty minutes a day, and there are parts of town where closed sewers have only been recently introduced. It's polluted, its noisy and at times overwhelmingly difficult to comprehend.

Despite the obvious difficulties, there's this relentless sense of pride and dignity. Across the road from my grandmothers place, every day I'd see a group of kids playing outside in the street. Their hands and feet would end up covered in grime, but setting out they'd always be neat, hair combed, faces washed and clothes pressed.

This is all far removed from the reality that I'm used to. When dinnertime comes around, parents weren't asking kids to peel themselves away from the television - they had to be recalled from wherever it was they were playing outside to come in and eat; a sort of fifty year old inversion on the way of life I'm used to. There was a simple joy to the way they interaced that I sometimes think is missing from the world I commonly live in.



Kite-flying is a common activity for kids; from the rooftops you can often see kites hovering over the city or tangled up in power lines.


I didn't think it would still be the case, but a camera seemed to be a cause for genuine excitement for some kids. At one point I was just watching general goings on in front of my grandmothers place when the group of kids playing outside spotted the camera, and there was a mad scramble to get in front of it. Whenever I'd be able to get one framed on their own, they'd sometimes have an awesome, rigid camera pose - not unlike this fellow just here.










Cows are still a common sight in towns in India. They're considered still sacred; if cow decides to park itself in the middle of the road, traffic will cheerfully route itself around it. They're also the garbage disposal for parts of the city; often they'll cheerfully eat up rubbish thrown out of windows.


In Rajkot it wasn't unusual to see kids working during the day. Here a young chai-wallah is bringing tea to shopkeepers.

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