Saturday, March 31, 2007

In Despair

Two rejects of the society living out their wretched lives in a New Delhi pavement. As long as India does not provide reasonable dignity to all its citizens, it can never achieve its dream of becoming a super power.

Delhi's Favorite Pastime

No one is on my one is on my left...So,let's sit down and take a leak...ahhhhhh...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ganesha Street

[This picture is dedicated by m to M]

Ganesha the paunchy elephant-headed Good-luck God, who rides on a mouse, stands by a street side - witnessing how life in Delhi drives by in these sinful times.

Hope he doesn't share his observations with Papa Shiva, the Tandava dancer.

The Library of Muslims

Copies of the Holy Quran are piled up in the inner chamber of Delhi's grand Jama Masjid. Beautiful, aren't they?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Vagabond's Bedroom

It was afternoon. The sun was harsh. The stones of the abandoned monument* were hot. But then he spotted a tree and the shade under it. He went there, lied down, made a pillow out of his slippers, closed his eyes and went to sleep.

Sweet dreams.

*The picture was taken in Old Delhi.

A Traveler's Bedroom

This young man is lost in his own world of dreams. His bed is a trolley and his bed chamber a quiet platform at Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station.

Who is he - a traveler? Is he alone - who may answer? Where is he going - who knows?

A Laborer's Bedroom

In the afternoon bustle of a Delhi bazaar, a tired man sleeps peacefully. This "inspirational" picture must be a necessary poster on the bedroom wall of every insomniac.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rock Climbing at Statesman Towers

A cool and windy Sunday morning it was. But there could be no Sunday mood for this bare-footed laborer as he carried on with his work in the cloud-kissing walls of Statesman Towers in Delhi’s Connaught Place.

Let’s hope he would be given extra money by his employer.

Cricket - Will Lose, Still Play

So what if India is out of the 2007 World Cup Cricket tournament? Just because our professional players are too involved in their endorsement money doesn’t mean that we lack good dedicated players.

These kids playing at New Delhi’s Connaught Place can be the future Sachin Tendulkars and Shoaib Akhtars...who knows...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cricket - A Colonial Legacy

It was once the gentle game of the not-so-gentle British masters. Now it has been adapted by the subcontinent. It once belonged to the Raj but now it is ours. We play it in our way - which is aggressive, jovial, and...fatalistic!

The Democracy of Cricket

Some people play it in greeny grounds. Some play it in municipal dumps*. Some people play with real wickets. Some people play with brick-walla wickets. Some people play in proper uniforms. Some people play in torn trousers. Some people have chai breaks. Some people have tea breaks. Some people win. Some people lose. They all love cricket.

* This picture was taken in a south Delhi dumpyard.

Gang of Cricketers

Friends are ganging up to play afternoon cricket in a New Delhi ground. It is good that the 2007 Cricket World Cup is taking place in West Indies – so many time zones away. It enables cricket junkies to watch the live telecast during the night, and play the game during the day. Uninterrupted. What a bargain!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

KFC Hunger

India is changing. But not fast enough. While bazaars in Delhi are sporting new-age malls, luxury showrooms, and fast food outlets, while more Indians are managing to emerge out of the curse of desperate poverty, the country is still left with millions for whom everyday life remains a struggle pockmarked with humiliation and hunger.

Will this country ever bring a decent life to its unlucky people?

The Tomb Behind the Tree

Delhi has many open spaces and all beautiful and majestic in their own way. But none can equal the pleasure Humayun Tomb offers. Indeed, nothing is more comforting than to sit in solitude by one of the dozens of lonely graves that litters this mausoleum. Ah, to read a Shakespeare or a Jane Austen while glancing at this stony dream from time to time…what more to demand from this life!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Workers of the World, Work!

Mr. Kushwaha and Mr. Mishra, permanent employees of the government-owned Telecom department, work as linemen in a South Delhi district. Mr. Mishra is older and let Mr. Kushwaha climb up the ladder to rectify the faulty telephone connections.

Both are unhappy with their working conditions. "We two are responsible for more than five thousand connections." Mr. Mishra said. "The government is not recuriting new people and the old are retiring. All the pressure is on us." Mr. Kushwaha complained. "I'm retiring soon." Mr. Mishra added.

They then walked away, with the ladder, to some other street.

Sight-Seeing Sisters

These are two sisters having breakfast at a roadside shack. They have come from the neighboring town of Meerut to do a “sight seeing of Delhi.” With just one day for the "picnic", they have to return home by evening.

The sisters plan to first visit the Red Fort and then India Gate. No, the sister on the right wants to go to Qutub Minar. What about traveling in the underground metro rail? The other sister asks. Oh, big city complications!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Anatomy of Desire

What do this young man of Delhi, in a red pullover, desire? True love? A good job? A trip to America? A beautiful girl friend? A body like this Jockey model? A less dark complexion? Or some good sex? Go, ask him.

Who's There!

A languid Sunday afternoon. Solitary browsing at the Oxford Book Store at Statesman Tower in New Delhi's Connaught Place. Jane Austen on the left shelf. The autographed Kiran Desai on the right. I'm thinking of Maria Irod. Suddenly, clanking of footsteps! Hey, who's there?

Delhi’s Only Jewish Cemetery

There are Hindu cremation ghats on the banks of Delhi’s Yamuna River. There are Muslim graveyards scattered throughout the metropolis. There are occasional Christian graves, too. But a Jewish Cemetery? Yes, there is one next to the Taj Man Singh roundabout. India was one of the few nations where Jews were never discriminated.

These Star-of-David marked graves are homage to that fine point of history.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Missed the Train

The clock at Platform No. 8 at New Delhi Railway Station struck ten. They appeared just as the local to Ghaziabad started moving. They ran after it but the train had picked up speed. There was no shuttle after it. It would be a long night.

The Goggles Walla

This young man sell sun goggles in the walled city of Delhi. But what is he reading so intently? Shakespeare? Jane Austen? Alice Munro? Koran? Or some sex sleaze?

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Enlightened One

This man was lying on the pavement of a busy Delhi highway. Is he a Yogi – a part of the world and yet far away from its hustle-bustle? Is he Buddha – the enlightened one who has achieved Nirvana? Or is he simply a homeless beggar?

The Best Time of the Year

Delhi is enjoying its spring season. The sky is clear blue. The air is warm (not hot). The flowers are at full bloom. The people are less aggressive. The lovers are more relaxed. But this is a short-lived phenomenon. The dreaded summers are knocking at the door. Still, enjoy the moment.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Good Morning Delhi

8:17 am. Cold, crisp air. Horns blowing from the passing cars. Bhajans - Hindu devotional songs - blaring out from the loudspeakers. Commuters browsing the newspaper headlines. Roadside food stalls cooking chickpea curry for breakfast. Tuk-tuk drivers watching women walking by. A gentleman enjoying a warm-water shave. It is a fine morning indeed.

Driving to 2010 Delhi Commonwealth

Even this tourist bus parked outside Humayun’s Tomb has not been spared! Delhi is to play host to the 2010 Commonwealth Games and everyone better know. This will be the biggest multi-sport event conducted in the city that has hosted Asian Games in 1951 and 1982.

There are plans for a major facelift, including new roads, more stadiums, and better infrastructure. Delhi aspires to become a "world class city."

However Mr. Tony, the gentleman seen in the picture, is not hopeful. Working as a “helper” in the bus, he fears “all the alloted funds for Common Wealth Games will be eaten up by politicians.”

The photographer is less pessimistic.

The Mithai Walla of Jama Masjid

It was Ramadan evening. The narrow lanes of Delhi’s Jama Masjid were crowded with festive Muslims. But this mithai walla had no customers.

It was not surprising. His sweet delicacies appeared quite dangerous. The colors were too bright, the fragrance was too sweet, and there were too many flies buzzing on them. In fact, the entire cart signalled possibilities of terrible stomach disorder. It was as if the sweets were saying, "Hello, we are cholera. Please eat us."

The Way They Are

This picture was taken during an early evening at Humayun Tomb in New Delhi. The image is reminiscent of childhood memories.

These two playful kids, possibly siblings, were oblivious to the melancholy of the place.

Time flies but memories linger on. We are altered as we grow old but infancy remains the reservoir of everything pure. This image is a testament to that purity which we all were lucky to be a part of.

A Solitary Moment

This image was taken at Humayun Tomb, New Delhi. The sky was overcast. There was no rustle of the wind. No bird chirped.

Besides, there seemed to be no one present in the monument. No tourist laughed. No one coughed. No camera clicked. This photographer felt alone.

And suddenly a sweeper appeared. The solitude was broken.

Miss Marple in New Delhi

A western tourist captured walking in Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi. Dressed in frock, her wrinkled face shaded by a hat, her gait so frail it was uncertain if she could walk down the steep stairs, this lady was a perfect impersonation of Agatha Christie’s spinster detective Miss Jane Marple.

Perhaps the woman had come visiting for clues behind some murder mystery. A remote possibility indeed, but quite delicious.

The Tragedy of Kashmir

His eyes were deep. His smile reflected sadness. He could be a Persian nobleman. But he was a poor Kashmiri man who was pestering to take up a cheap hotel room for the night.

Employed as a commission agent for a hostelry in the Jama Masjid locality, he thought this photographer was a tourist in Delhi.

It was sad to watch a person of his natural elegance hankering unwilling people to some filthy hotel room. It was painful to imagine the miserable circumstances that must had forced him to leave the beautiful mountains of his native Kashmir to make a two-penny living in the uncouth streets of Delhi. This graceful-looking gentleman is yet another toll in the unending saga of Kashmir's ongoing conflict.