Sunday, January 18, 2009


Every day during our travels around India—three weeks in half a dozen cities—we encountered sights that left us gaping in disbelief. Some things were beautiful beyond belief – the temples, the Taj Mahal, the silks and jewelry and tapestries and palaces. Others were just shocking: bodies being cremated on the side of the Ganges, the families of beggars sleeping on the sidewalks, the traffic snarl of trucks and camels and water buffalo and rickshaws all playing chicken while driving on the left side of the overcrowded highways.

Daughters Eleni and Marina and I had great adventures and epiphanies that I want to blog about, but at the moment I’m too sick. Having made it all the way through India without a stomach upset, I flew 14 hours back to JFK from Bombay and got off the plane with a killer cold which has left me too weak to produce eloquent prose just yet, so instead I’m posting photos of some of the colorful people we met—will tell you their stories later. We got to know maharajahs and beggars, thieving monkeys and hard-working camels, temperamental Hindu gods and goddesses and saintly Indian sadhus (holy men.)

Here are photos of two tribal girls (sisters I think) who live in the desert near Jaisalmar and enlivened our camel safari with their dancing. Also an elderly seller of peacock fans in Jaisalmar who was very proud that his photo was once featured on the cover of a German magazine.

In downtown Jodhpur we encountered a little girl beggar who had dressed and painted herself to look like a Hindu goddess, and on the banks of the Ganges, young girls who sell flowers and candles to toss into the Holy River asked us to take their photo. And everywhere we went, sacred cows (and water buffalo) calmly blocked traffic, especially in the narrow streets of Varanasi. That’s Marina on the right trying to maneuver around one. The folks of Varanasi, however, know how to make the best of the sacred cows and water buffalo and the cow pies that make walking such an obstacle path – they mold the cow poop into patties and dry them on the stairs leading down to the Ganges and use the dried patties for fuel.


Robin Paulson said...

I can't wait to hear more about your adventures. Also, I'm very relieved you all returned home safely.

lactmama said...

I too am waiting for more info on your adventures.

The little beggar girl who made herself up as a goddess - amazing and heartbreaking at the same time.

A thought:
your trip began in the fear of a possible terrorist attack.

It was quiet in most of Mother India, but, this reader suddenly became someone who lived in the 45 second take cover zone. We had bombs falling not far from our home for several days.

Lets hope things will be quiet for a while and that THE ONE brings good things for all of us.

Looking forward to more words and photos and to see if there is another photo of the bracelet lady and her child.

I love it when we are able to give people the first photograph of themselves. Small miracles.