Mahatma Gandhi once said India lived in her villages. It’s really not true anymore. With people moving into cities, concrete structures have replaced the tilled land.
In this post I have attempted to put together a few pictures of the disappearing India.
When there was unrest in the middle east, tanks from the west were stationed in record time and soldiers deployed by the hundreds; leaders were smiling for the camera, while shaking hands in the name of peace talks. Photographs of prominent leaders deplaning from jumbo jets occupied the headlines, while counts of civilians who lost their lives were easily missed within the fine print. All eyes were on the war in the desert; all motives were directed toward the oil wells. Even someone who never kept abreast of current affairs would also have known that the oil in the East was at stake!
I remember watching the movie Hotel Rwanda in terror. I was terrified, not so much as to what the human race could do to each other but on the contrary I found myself petrified by what the human race would not do for each other. A line that stuck with me was “I think if people see this footage they’ll say, “oh my God that’s horrible,” and then go on eating their dinners.”
I had to watch a movie to learn of the acts of genocide. I have come across articles in different magazines, both online and print narrating acts of unspeakable violence, witness accounts and survivor stories. Some time I wonder that if Rwanda had a little oil would the fate of that country have been different?
Would all those people have had to suffer if the human race had put humaness in front of convenience, political or otherwise?
Why is that even in death we discriminate? How many people have to die before it becomes a genocide? How do the leaders decide which lives are worth saving? Would they even summon their heads of defence if there was no gain for them?
There are many other acts of atrocities committed by the so called human race. Some of them hit the world news the minutes the first shot is fired or when the first machete strikes ( I am guessing those are the ones with oil involved); the others you will have to google.
And we call ourselves civilized!
‘And he looks at his tickets and he goes..’Wow that really is cheap for flying all the way to Thailand and back’
That is when I realised that he had booked tickets only for one for his honeymoon”
That was followed by resounding laughter.
Lately I find myself coming home for weddings, traditional Kerala weddings. Its as often as two weddings in a week and an another one two weeks later. Yet I come for them all. Why? Because it’s a wedding in the family. I wouldn dare not come and miss out on all the good food and the laughter.
Through my camera view finder I can still see the laughter surrounding my cousins honeymoon ticket episode. He is never going to live this down!
I capture the open mouths and tilted heads. Although the pictures have no power to capture the sounds of the laughter, the twinkling of the eyes will testify to the fact that there was ample joy on this particular day.
Outside under the shamiana food is served hot. It is the traditional Thatt dosa and omellete with add ons. There is an open bar; there always is. It would be sacrilegious not to have one. My cousin brothers are tending the bar. I have often wondered how many they down for every drink they pour. But there is always plenty to go around so I guess no one is keeping count.
Later in the evening after dinner and with a drink still in hand everyone will find themselves settling on the verandah in front of the house. Now that all the guests have gone all shoes are kicked off, voices get louder,the choice of words and flow of conversations get less cautious.
Good company is always accompanied by good food; good food is never without good music. And following this logic, the Carpenters will find their way into the different parallel conversations and merge them all with the opening strains of ” Such a feeling’s coming over me…”
There are three generations here at my uncle’s house. A whole battalion of aunts and uncles, an armada of cousins and a growing infantry of grand nieces and nephews.
The third generation
And as I watch the three generations sitting on the verandah singing in and out of tune the last lines of the song I see the invisible but strong threads that bind us together from one generation to the next.
Oh how I love our big fat Kerala weddings!
Going home is exciting always. It is going back to familiar smells, familiar sights and sounds. Its having all the time and not a care in the world. It is lots of coffee, lots of good food and lots and lots of trees.
On my last trip home,while we were taking an evening stroll with two mad dogs I realised that life in Mallikaserry is unique on many levels. Most of the fruits I eat are grown at home.
Here are a few of the fruits I photographed ( all taken in my uncle’s backyard). The ones I have not posted include Mangoes, jack fruit, guava, chikku, mangosthene, bread fruit, etc.!
A kind of lemon
A kind of Lichi
hmmm …I am drawing a blank. But in Malayalam it is called lowlolika.
Categories: North America