Sep 9, 2009

Life along the street: India

I discovered India on another one of my extended business trips. I must admit that it was a deep and lasting experience. I have become very fond of this complex, disturbing and nevertheless fascinating country - if that notion really applies to such a large subcontinent with so many rich cultures and traditions! The first thing any Western visitor will notice is how people from different beliefs live with and amongst each other, at least seemingly with mutual respect and without aggression. That certainly adds to the colorful and spiritual diversity of the nation.

What no one of us can grasp in just a few visits - if ever at all - is how a society with such a wide range from absolute poverty to relative wealth can stick together and get along reasonably well... Look at the above picture: one would guess that the man reading his newspaper, briefcase on the table before him, and the guys having a friendly conversation on the platform behind him belong to completely different worlds. And yet, they share the same spot in the shade, under an overpass...

Life for most is tough in India, with long working days for those lucky enough to have a job. This bike-cab driver takes a quick nap in between rides at the side of the busy main street, not far from the Red Fort in Delhi.

And yet, this India is so full of hope! The people are friendly, positive, eager to build towards a better life. I shot the picture on a coach ride along the coastline near Chennai. This scene of mothers and children, looking out into the sea, for me summarized that longing for a better future. What were they really dreaming of? I wish they might live to see it!

Gear notes: D300, 18-200VR

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