Saturday, May 20, 2006

lemon love

Awhile back I bicycled right by this nimbu paani wallah, screeched to a halt, pulled out my camera and headed back to get a photo of his diplay.

Monday I am off to the headwaters of the Ganges River- a place called Gangotri. My friend Nick and I are hoping to embark on a long trekking trip and we are still in the midst of planning out all the details. I'm excited to be spending some quality time away from both the madness of the city and village life.

It's time to get out in the wild.

See you all when I return.

Love to all.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Three Tailors

Three village tailors.

Love to all.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chills & Ills

A disturbing element has popped its scary and ugly face in the city of Dehradun. Just three blocks from my home, within the Shri Ram Plaza, the huge Vishal Mega Mart has opened its four floors of madness. Sort of like a small Wal Mart or a backed up and clogged Rite Aid- the Vishal Mega Mart offers everything from salt to underwear. The scene inside is far from peaceful and the place is no fun to visit.

The last two images are in and around Shri Ram Plaza. The three turbaned fellows are the owners of this monstrosity. The image of the guy with the sunglasses and his friend is outside of the mega mart. Take a good look at the shirt the guy with the sunnies is wearing. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw it...

The first two photos are from the recent trip to the mountains. Check out Nick halfway up a mountain, paining with bad whirlpool stomach pains.

My friend with the superman shirt owns a small music/movie store on the corner of my road. He's always getting great bootleg films. Recent purchases include- Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Water and Crash. Unfortunately, I haven't watched one of them. In due time.

Love to all.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

a dancer & a smiler

to dance in a trance

and a smile

having fun.

love to all.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Legal 'n Illegal Cultivation

Remember as teenagers we'd go out and buy those cheap fifty cent lighters, snap off the metal casing at the top and then adjust the lighter so the flame rose like an exploded oil well.

The other day I was having a long conversation with my friend, Narayan, about my useless ceiling fan. You see, the fan has five settings- 1 to 5, 5 being the fastest. I told Narayan that my damn five setting was just not cutting the cake. It was fast, but not fast enough and that I was thinking 'bout buying a floor fan to increase my coolness while asleep. Narayan gawked at me like a mad scientist.

"Five speed! Five speed! Yaar!" he exclaimed, "We'll boost that thing up for you Ben-Ji. We'll get that thing spinning faster in no time!"

Apparently in India, knowledgable folks can do the same thing we did with crappy lighters when we were thirteen but with ceiling fans. He's proclaiming to being able to adjust the setting so that the fan spins faster. Hopefully by the end of the day, my highest setting will be a "super fast '5'."

I took my friend Nick to attend the inauguration of the primary school in Tati village. On the way we encountered fields of wild ganja and fields of planted opium poppies. Poppies were everywhere. Since there is such a high rate paid for the poppies, the villagers grow it everywhere. It brings in much more income than, say, potatoes. And much of the poppies harvested make their way to Delhi and beyond in the form of opium, brown sugar or heroin. A beautiful flowering plant (currently blooming white and purple) on lusciously gorgeous and fertile slopes of the Indian Himalayas, to the grimy streets and dirty back alleys of concrete jungles around the world.

There is a young Nepalese boy who I have become friends with at a local guesthouse. He is a very nice kid but has warts all over his hands.

And my friend, Suzy from Oxford, England. I think this is a lovely image of her. Be sure to check out the donkey in background getting a new pair of kicks!!!

Love to all.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

45.5 Degrees Celcius

Dilli, the heart of India, the capital of this country is boiling hot. I was in Delhi this weekend, the sun was fierce and any type os breeze was non-existent. I was too brutal.

I went to pick up a good friend of mine, Nick, from the airport and now we are safe and sound back here in Dehradun. Tomorrow I should be off to the mountains for a week or so. The school at Tati and Hadiya are complete and some funders from the Netherlands are here to inaugurate the school. My co-workers, Nick and I will go to the mountains to see the school, complete and ready for students.

Here some gems from the archives. Notice the homemade hackey sack between the hands of the student in the bottom image.

Love to all.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Ras Malai

Yesterday after work I went for a snack. I stopped by a local sweet shoppe, Ganpati Sweets, and ordered a mixed veg/paneer sandwich. I sat at a table outside and began munching into my tasty snack. Soon a young kid selling ballons, maybe twelve or thirteen, stopped by the store looking to unload a couple ballons. The ballon seller spotted me eating and began to stare at me, mouth agape, wide open. I don't even think he was blinking.

Every time I'd go for a bite, I'd look up and this kid would have his eyes on me, watching my every bite, following the food as it travelled past my adam's apple and down into my belly. As I'd eat, he'd motion for me to buy a ballon.

I held up my finger, "Ek minute. Ek minute." I really wasn't interested in a ballon.

When I finished my sandwich, I went into the sweet shoppe and ordered my favorite sweet- ras malai, sweet, cold and resfreshing. I got two small bowls of ras malai, a glass of water and went back outside. I put one bowl in front of where I was sitting and then the other bowl and the glass of water in front of the empty seat next to me.

I motioned for the young kid to come and sit. We chatted, ate and enjoyed the late afternoon Indian sun. We were both happy people.

It was beautiful.

Love to all.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

diggin' in the crates

I dug in the crates and briefly flipped through some old gems.

The top image is a boy with a toy gun at the mela in Lakhamandal. I was hanging out on the roof with some of my friends. My boys were all busy flirting with some lovely ladies from their village. I was wandering and wondering around the roof looking for something interesting to do. I saw this kid playing with new his plastic pistol. I zoomed down the roof and caught him hanging out next to the chow mein wallah.

The second image is Mr. O.P. Aggarwal, the owner of the Har-Ki-Doon Palace Hotel in Purla, Uttaranchal. I stayed at his guesthouse after our grueling ten hour drive up to Tati a couple of weeks ago. This is him relaxing after opening his store around seven a.m.

I caught this monster in the hot and dusty town of Vikasnagar. The only two good things about this spot was this dude running around town decked out like bigfoot and the white hat that I bought.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

100 Metre Dash

I caught these two kids sprinting down a little embankment at the wedding I was at the other day. It's one of my favorite photos from the wedding because the second kid running down the hill, Varouneh, is completely off the ground. He's flying!

Love to all.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Sounds of a Union...

It's wedding season here in Dehradun. Every night the sounds of wedding bands reverberate throughout the city of Dehradun. I ran into a wedding procession on the street last night. Luckily I had my little camera and managed to take a few snaps. Coincidentally I was heading home from a wedding I had been attending when I ran into this large family enjoying their loved ones' union. Notice the kid carrying the big light fixture alongside the party. On one night of work, ten or so kids follow the music and the crowd, they make a circle of lights around the dancing to illuminate the fun for everyone.

These images are from both the wedding I attended the other night and the one on the street last night.

Love to all.

Monday, May 01, 2006


I went to a beautiful wedding this past Saturday evening. It was a love marriage.

Friends and family were beaming with happiness. There was dancing in the streets. The food was fingerlicious. It was a great evening.

Love to all.