A bunch of my images in 2016… A year when I did not travel much, and did not shoot much but immensely enjoyed whatever little photography I did.
A genial monk from Dhankar Monastery in Zanskar region. He was a delight to be with as he showed us around the prayer hall of the ancient monastery. The hall was barely lit, with a skylight in the center providing a diffusion of light. The drooping decoratives all around created interesting variation of light, which was not easy to identify for an untrained eye. At one point where he stood and talked, there was such a joyous gradient of light on his face that my heart skipped a beat! There was a bit of anxiety: what if he moved before I pressed the shutter? The moment would have never come back. Fortunately, it was frozen before it was too late!
Theyyams are tough to describe in words. There are many words to pick from: celebratory, eerie, scary, adventurous, pious,.. They are all right in their own way. There are a variety of Theyyam too, and each one comes with its own charm. The Kandanar Kelan Theyyam has the artist jumping over fire several times. And each time the artist makes him move, the blaze is made stronger by the assistants who facilitate the whole thing. It’s a treat o watch: there is fear, there is awe and there is a deeply ingrained sense of devotion.
This shoot took its share of planning. We would just have a handful of occasions to get it right; the setting and the crowd wouldn’t permit a lot of moment. This meant making all preparations: finding the right place well before the performances began, putting on the right lens and pre-imagining the shots that can be made. Thanks to some excellent, meticulous guidance from a local photographer who had been shooting Theyyams for a long while, it was all much easier.
It’s easy to fall in love with rural Rajasthan. The turbans, the smiles and the generous dose of colours! It helps when an old king sets up an extraordinarily enjoyable accommodation in a nondescript village. Somewhere in the heart of Mewar, where time hasn’t advanced fast enough.
Zanskar is raw! I was out in the open, against the howling wind, completely immersed in the beauty of the mountain-landscape and barely conscious of anything else in this world. This is probably how heaven feels. I was warm in my down jacket even when the wind-chill much have made the ‘feels-like’ temperature below zero. I was standing in amazement for good half-an-hour after everyone went into the comforts of their tents. When it was finally time to call it a day, I realized that my hands, exposed to the wind, were so numb that I had great difficulty folding the tripod and get it back to my cocoon.
Villages of Nagaland is where one can easily fall in love with people. Everyone is so enthusiastic, everyone is so bubbly. You can’t but get carried away in the moment.
Their houses are as cozy as their warm hearts. Speak a word and you are immediately dragged into their homes for a cup of tea. Or do I call it a cup of joy?
Even as much as I loved the light in the image, I was rather unhappy with the outcome of this photograph: I wasn’t able to capture that exuberant spirit of a Naga household, which I so wished for!
The mother-and-son pair were so beautiful, so calm and so endearing, they gave me a heart-ache. In a small village surrounded by thick woods, in Nagaland.
The chief of a small village in Nagaland. He knew he was the boss, and had the style to justify his position.
An absolute gentleman on the streets of Varanasi. Our eyes met, and he smiled, smiled and smiled until we filled our cameras with unlimited number of images. As if he knew we were coming, he was sitting in gorgeous light and a perfect background. Just what the photographer could order.
It always amazes me: people who pray for the wellness of themselves, their people and perhaps for all of the world. I do not know if faith moves the world, but their faith is very moving. And it is visible and apparent how the faithful draw their strength from it. Varanasi, for me, is an eternal engima. I always have more questions than answers. And I am always happy to have it that way!.
I have heard big about the rush in Mumbai local. Being claustrophobic, I am glad I haven’t been a witness to it yet. An early morning in CST, it was still empty. And as you can see, there was a dash of colour that livened up the otherwise grey space.
Somewhere outside Bangalore, one of those kind of places where you can forget yourself.
The waves came and went, and they were very consistent at what they did. It was plenty of opportunity for me to get the precise image that I had drafted in my mind. A few dozen images later, I was finally happy with what I saw registered in the camera. At Gokarna, on a beautiful winter morning.
The blues of blue-city–Jodhpur–can sometimes become an excess. But you will always find relief. There is no shortage of colours in Rajasthan.
And the river continues to flow… freely down the mountains, without all the impressions that are encountered along the way. Near Rangdum Village, Zanskar.