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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Jodhpur 1 - Beneath the Fort to family portraits

Impressions of India: 21
I’m currently travelling for 3 months in India, through Goa, Kerala and Rajasthan, with a pretty hot and hectic schedule of boutique hotel reviews. The galleries below are my online photojournalist diary of scenes caught, people met and things found along the way. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I did and am still.

Please do take a moment to log and/or e-mail me your reactions and comments and, if you're on Facebook, attend/join my Indian Adventures photo-blog cyber-event there, or become a Follower, due right on this page? The more people I know are reading and enjoying it, the more fuel it adds to my fire.

This framed poster was hanging on the wall in my budget 'Shivam Paying Guesthouse' near Jodhpur's clocktower (as opposed to the 'Shivam Free Guesthouse' down the road?), and struck me as a fun coincidence.
I must look up Virginie Sueves' work on India when I get home and have free-flowing internet access once again. I won't be at all surprised, given the poster image and title, to find her images have a lot in common with mine.

This super-flexible old gentleman (decades of sitting cross-legged?) responded to my signed request for a photograph, as I ventured out of the gate of the very posh and expensive new Raas Hotel, with a clear 'bring it on' hand gesture. 

He appears again later in the post as, on my return sweep, he was sitting with 2 old ladies and invited me to photograph them too. Many/most Indians seem to just love being photographed, which is wonderful for a roving photographer...
but can often inspire some serious posing too. 

These school lads were so bursting with joie-de-vivre that they quickly surrounded me in a tight knot, screaming for attention and photographs so loudly that I had to cover my ears. I begged them to stop. That didn't work. So I started to scream myself, just as loudly and long as them, while determinedly dragging myself away. This made everyone even more amused but I still don't know if my tactic prolonged or shortened the deafening ordeal.
A blessedly peaceful, harmonious moment found soon after.
And this strange, hidden beast was seen after I accepted the kind invitation from a local shop owner to use his bathroom to wash off the fresh cow-poo I had just accidentally planted one of my lovely new camel sandals in. 
As I returned, cleaned up, to the street, these old-gold jackets with riding festival poster caught my eye. I've since, in Udaipur, ridden a feisty Marwar, whose ears curl prettily towards each other. They are traditionally the favoured horses of the warrior Rajput clan. 
I find there's something very picturesque and soft-edged about peeling paint.
The super-flexible old gentleman again, after he'd gestured for me to photograph his female relatives too.
Another picturesque sleeper, conked out in the heat.
I was on a mission to climb up to the Fort, unguided and on Shank's Pony, so wove my own way through the little, though sadly no longer uniformly-blue lanes. Lots of inhabitans of Jodhpur's famed 'Blue City' have been painting their houses other colours for the past 10 or 15 years. They should surely slap on a Heritage order saying, "Want to live in the 'Blue City'? Paint it blue!" We would in Britain.
A little boy reluctantly applying wet soap to his hair while fully-clothed. Did he stick his head in a cow-pat?
And this lovely girl, P (whose name I'll add once I've found the relevant slip of paper), was my third kidnapper. I strongly suspect she has her heart set on modelling/Bollywood as, once she'd persuaded me to come see her family's house and have some chai (not difficult given that my brains were cooking, and camera sizzling, in the fierce sun), she and her family started doing some serious portrait-posing. I've got her address and have promised to post her a sheaf of 6x4s of the results.
One of her aunts, who fixed me with a deeply-sceptical frown for most of her photos, which made this relaxed, smiling one a breakthrough.
P getting dressed up in the first of several outfits for her portrait.
One of her little brothers, Johnny 'Just one (hundred) photo?'
Their home drinking station. Rounded clay pots, filled with water and sitting beside metal cups, are everywhere in India, in free public drinking stations as much as in homes. And indeed, drinking lots of water in this kind of furnace heat is essential for basic health. 
Another of P's little brothers, slightly-cross-eyed and with a repaired cleft lip,
but, happily, with a frequent, carefree, head-thrown-back laugh too.
And this is P's mother, who looked well into her sixties, and carefully put her glasses on when her daughters requested a group portrait, something a few other older Indian women have done in front of my camera too.
P and her sister trying a different pose...
and finally, after chai, much laughter, a cooled-down brain and camera, and literally hundreds of photos (which meant I was fast running out of memory cards for the rest of my walk), P reluctantly allowed me to continue on my way. 
As I carried on down the Fort-circling lane, I saw lots of people who, intriguingly, looked rather more South American Indian than Indian-Indian. I have no idea why.
Posts still to come before we're up-to-date: 
Jodhpur 2 - From under the Fort back to blue-walled-budget


  1. Hi Cathy,

    I am on your blog from last 30 minutes,each and every pic from yours made me to remember my soil.Being from the place where you are roaming nowadays...its really an emotional recap !!! Thanks for sharing !!!

    And also you madem e to write a post on my blog too.....happy travelling ...hope you r enjoying the best culture rich part of india !!!

  2. richness in randomness and roving intrepid traveller. wonderful. px

  3. Marina Baker said...

    I love your blog and the clarity and subject matter of your phots are just stunning.

  4. My particular favourite is the woman walking through the blue gateway. Perfect perspective, positioning and toning shades. Excellent.