India 2.0: Eat, Pray, Surrender (a photo prologue to a three part post)

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke

A complicated, intertwined blob of ideas and feelings are swirling amok in my head and my heart right now. Like the intricate maneuverings of a hand with a loom patiently stitching together a unique pattern for a silky Indian shawl, I can’t think or write fast enough to capture the vocabulary fit to describe what India has been like for me during this trip. Only until the pattern is done and the shawl is ready to be purchased as a piece of art by an unassuming traveler and storyteller, will the experience fall into some state where discernible articulation is possible. Amidst the heat that has snuck up on me and has felt like concrete on my skin, flavors and textures that have not ceased to burst in my mouth, the architecture and history porn, and the bedlam and mayhem I face and accept everyday since I’ve been here, I am once again, categorically and unquestionably smitten by India. Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu was unforgettable. And now, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, especially South Mumbai, have carved their special corners in the cavities of my heart.

A Quiet Moment in Ahmedabad, Jiten

It’s not easy though, to write about India while still in India. G knows, I’ve tried. And it’s not a problem of not having anything to say as senses feel like they are on steroids. In fact, my extreme and exag ways interlace and lock quite nicely in this maximum city as the overstimulation goes on overdrive. The problem really is where and how to begin …How do I begin to write about a place so chaotic, so crowded and full of contradictions; a place so colorful, and jam-packed with flavors that just won’t quit? How do I explain the intensity of the Heat I thought I already intimately knew growing up in Manila? Where do I begin to describe the ebb and flow of the streets where the willing, surrendering soul can eventually meld with the anarchy , just as long as he/she learn the ways of the inexplicable pace and movement of the waves to not get killed on the road?

Writings on Mumbai, edited by Jerry Pinto and Naresh Fernades

Words are too limited and incomplete right now to describe the first moment I laid eyes on The Gateway of India. My body reacted for me and I got a nose bleed instead.

The Gateway of India. Breathtaking.

In the middle of taking a photograph of a man in green blowing bubbles, and after a postcard salesman tried to slip me some weed, blood started too ooze out of my nose and on to my favorite scarf. I wiped the blood with the back of my hand and memorized that Mumbai moment as onlookers stared at me, the nose bleeding voyeur who stuck out like a sore thumb.

The man in green and the bubbles

And what about the people I’ve met…where do I start when it comes to talking about just how great they have been? It’s both an exciting and daunting task, to write about how their stories and lives have moved and inspired me, to aptly pay homage to their significance (I see you) and to express my deep gratitude to them and to G, for making this trip exactly what it is. Amazing and unforgettable.

From my best friend, sister and gracious host, @sacha_wc; Jiten and Jaya, the coordinators at The Calorx school in Ahmedabad; Viren, our brilliant guide during the Taj Hotel Tour, who can speak a gazillion languages; plus all the strangers I bumped into, smiled at and asked for directions, I am extremely grateful for you today.

Papad Salesman at the Crawford Markets

Veggies on the street

Silver Sales Lady at Law Garden in Ahmedabad

Speedy Delivery, Pali Hill near the Promenade

Sad man by the Red phone, Colaba, South Mumbai

Rick Meter. This was a dangerous shot to take.

Reading, Writing and Living Mumbai

Promenade, Carter Road, Bandra

at the Flower Galli, Crawford Market Tour, South Mumbai

"Temple" near The Calorx School, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

So Eat, Pray, Surrender. An up and coming three part post of my (mis)adventures in India: Ahmedabad and Mumbai legs. 🙂 Stay tuned as I let the pictures tell the stories today. In the meantime, I need to live the questions, I need to live everything right now so …”perhaps I will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” I am hoping, at some point, I will find the way and the words to write about my experiences in this truly maximum part of the world. Hope is a good word and memories catch up with us rather quickly.

grateful slice: India, Mumbai,Ahmedabad and Rilke.

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95 comments

  1. Ms. P

    Thanks, JT. The kid on the bike was a total accident. He was framed by two really ugly motorcycles that I had to crop out. Since I’ve done that though, that shot has become a favorite too. Don’t you love the Gateway of India. I’ve seen a lot of these historic landmarks and structures in many places, but this one took my breath away. I have four albums up in facebook too if you want to see…:) That’s easy to do albeit time consuming. Writing about all this…as you’ve just read, is a different thing all together. It will get easier, I’m sure. 🙂 Rilke promised.

  2. Kapitan Tandem

    There are no accidents.

    As for the gateway, it looks “nice” in a photo, but I’m sure there just something about the majestic grandeur of such sights that cameras can never capture. I’ll probably have to see it firsthand to be able to relate completely.

    Writing only really gets easier if you settle for stagnation. Hehehehe.

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  5. Lindsay

    Well, if I didn’t want to go to India before (which I did), I certainly do NOW! Sometimes pictures say more than words. Thank you for sharing!

    • Ms. P

      You must visit! I have other posts on India…the southern part…just as stunning. It’s a really interesting, chaotic and awesome place! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Lia

    Ms. P, these are just lovely. I’m looking forward to reading and seeing more about your (mis)adventures now! Thank you for this slice of Indian life.

  7. authenticmodels

    Great pictures and commentary. I know exactly what you’re saying about the overwhelming chaos, colors, smells… but it is all so beautiful you can’t help but love India.

  8. potatosandwich

    India is a country full of great expressions, deep emotions, vivid spirtuality and extreme hypocrisy.

    I was last in India in 1993 and I know the country has changed dramatically, but most of the traditions still exist and will do for a very long time.

    Great pictures, some nice moments captured.

  9. Kathryn McCullough

    I totally and completely get the expereince you describe—the over-stimulation–senses saturated. This happened to me just over a year ago in Delhi and the year before that in Saigon.
    Peace,
    Kathy

  10. ashleypaige4

    Great Photos. You really captured the essence of those people. I feel like I knew them and their story through your photos. Thanks for sharing.

  11. JUNE

    Hey!
    I like your post! Thank you for sharing!
    I like to be somebody like you in future:)
    Cheers!

  12. Carol Davis

    My name is Carol Davis and I’m a fellow blogger and photography intern for the Vasa Transmedia Project. The Vasa Project’s vision is to bring photographers and other visual artists together to share work, ideas, exhibition information, essays on photography and new media in a dynamic and interactive online environment called Vasa Transmedia. We want to invite you to contribute essays, personal work, reviews, etc. to the Vasa blog and essentially become a part of the Vasa Transmedia community. If you are interested we would appreciate you linking your blog to the Transmedia blog and we ask that you add us to your blog roll as well. Essentially our goal is to bring photographers, writers and visual artists under one umbrella. We would also like you to consider doing a gallery talk about your work sometime in the future.You can check Transmedia Blog out at the link below. You can post a request to the blog to be a contributor and we will get back to you with submission details.

    http://vasa-project.com/blog/

    “Transmedia is a global networking project publishing the work of artists, theorists, critics and others on an international scale transcending traditional media categories. At a time when global networked communications are breaking down traditional concepts of space and time and moving beyond traditional forms of publication and networking, Transmedia, VASA’s Blogging Project, connects people to events and people to people. The Transmedia, blog will cover photography, video, sound, digital art and theory. Transmedia will focus on artists, writers and theorists from north, south, central America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.”

  13. BrobiWanKenobi

    My favourite’s got to be the one of the meter in the rickshaw. I understand exactly what you mean when you say it was a dangerous shot!
    Here’s hoping the next two parts have some pictures as well.

  14. Optimisme

    Hey..Great article. I am from Mumbai & loved looking at your pictures. Glad that you are enjoying your stay in India. It would be nice if you could capture a photo of a “Tea/chai stalls” on the road. Take care 🙂

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  16. a kid

    Fuck, India must be the most interesting, beautiful and exciting place to be! I didn’t have the time to read all oh this, yet (unfortunately), but did you went on vacations or sth like that…? I’d love to go there like a month or two on a vacation, with a backpack, a camera and my lovely girlfriend (which hopefully will remember my existence). It must be sooooo awesome, thanks for sharing and really cool pics!

  17. gujjumom

    Would love to see “flower market” and “silver lady”‘s pic in color and i am glad you had a good time in india. Most people enjoy it when they visit any place, just to explore and without any expectation. The Veggi cart is called “Larri” and the Rick meter is on “Rickshaw”, infact if you visit ‘Punjab” you will see 7 passenger rickshaw too.

  18. kadja1

    I love how you express your thoughts…This is an amazing blog. Some of us are seeking the same thing, I do believe…Thank you for sharing these with u!

  19. NDe. Industry

    These photos are absolutely beautiful and I feel the serenity and cultural tradition when studying these photos.

  20. midnitechef

    India is a lot to take in when you first arrive. I’m not sure I got to the point of being unsaturated. Interesting pictures, keep writing!

  21. Shumaila

    Oh! How I miss India. Coincidentally I just blogged about missing the different facets of India and here I stumbled on your blog and I agree when you say how to begin writing about India. Its a feeling you can only experience when you are there. Thanks for sharing this post!

    • Ms. P

      Thanks so much, Cat. 🙂 From one awesome photographer, that means a whole lot. Love love love.

  22. Pingback: India 2.0: Eat, Pray, Surrender (a photo prologue to a three part post) (via You are Here.) «
  23. Aabhash

    Oh! Ms. P, what beauty, from the lenses, you see. Umm… Sorry for the bad poetry, but I’m just stunned. Great street photography and you’re words are as colourful as the country itself. Its absolutely great to read that you’ve liked and enjoyed here so much. Hope you keep clicking such fab images of the cities and keep sharing them too. Would be looking forward for the posts of the series!

  24. Ms Cindy Yip

    <-<-@@ ❤ Love your *well-chosen* opening healing quote from Rainer Maria Rilke especially the line:
    “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue."

    Have yet to read fully this particular post of yours, Ms.P, but loving the photos – thx4sharing ^_^.

    Will take some time to browse your site more thoroughly soon… keep@it! *_*

  25. aisirir

    I understand what u meant when u say thr wer no words to descibe the gateway of india…
    being an Indian, these photos mean much to me as it reveal the beauty and splendor of india.. Mumbai is just the beginning 🙂 I hope you get to travel more in India in the future.. for a breathtaking array of temples, you ought to visit Tamil Nadu..
    Beautiful Photos.
    Thank you for sharing the majesty with the world.

  26. verbatose

    The photos clearly reflect the duality of india. As an indian I feel very proud to be a part of such rich heritage. You mentioned that you have visited mumbai and ahemadabad. If possible try to visit the eastern and northerrn parts like kolkata,delhi,chandigarh, guwahati, bhubaneswar.etc.

  27. Pingback: India 2.0: Eat, Pray, Surrender (a photo prologue to a three part post) (via You are Here.) « Blog Archive « SAngram Bhandari
  28. punkystyles

    Hi there…i find your post very interesting…your pictures are cool too….i am new here/….so slowly finding my way around…..looking forward to more pictures and posts…
    ps

  29. crazygoangirl

    Great pictures! It’s great when a traveler manages to capture the soul of the place they visit! Especially with India being so large and overwhelming and overbearing! Most people feel this when they visit the first time and yet are drawn to this gorgeous country of a billion people and a million cultures!

    I’m glad you got such great pictures of the people 🙂 Look forward to reading your posts…

  30. somnambicsand

    Beautiful photos. I went to India for a summer voluntary teaching program a while ago, but I never made it to Mumbai. I was in Delhi, the surroundings, and then north through Himchal into Ladakh. That Rilke quote you have at the top of this was exactly what I wrote on the first page of my India diary, it really is perfect for that kind of exploration, and the sheer daily living, without a single dull moment. Seeing your post on the freshly pressed section as I sipped my morning coffee has given me wanderlust down to the bone! I think India is addictive, and I’ve been in withdrawal since I left.

  31. Lily Kwok

    Fantastic post on Mumbai! I definitely can understand your sense of being overwhelmed by that incredible city!!! Also, I love your enthusiasm 🙂

  32. ALIVE aLwaYs

    I loved your article, especially the whole episode of Indian saga which you so beautifully expressed, the (mis)adventures of yours. The pictures are familiar, reality I see every day.

  33. littleplasticbags

    I’m very impressed. I spend a lot of time at carter road near the promenade and always think that those boats are beautiful and you have gone and taken the perfect shot!

  34. Pingback: On Leaving this Maximum City « You are Here.
  35. Sakti

    Great pictures and a nice blog. There are various wonderful facets of India. You captured some of it wonderfully. Poor in India is not poor and Rich in India is not rich. Most emotions are spoken without any language not even body language. I do not know if there is a camera to capture those emotions. Also, congratulations on being listed in pressly posted. Wish you all the best.

  36. l0ve0utl0ud

    Wonderful post. I had exactly the same experience when I went to India: my senses overwhelmed, my mind buzzing, my heart sighing. I, too, could not capture it in words. But I assure you, it will all stay with you in memory long after you return home. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  37. The Logophile

    The pictures are phenomenal. What type of camera do you use? Seems like an amazing trip. I must check out the rest of your blog, it is so neat and easy to read. Your writing is truly remarkable. Congrats on FP!

  38. Charlotte

    You’ve done a wonderful job of showing India to those of us who’ve never been. I really enjoyed reading/looking at this post and am glad I stumbled across your blog.

  39. Katina Feagley

    My brother recommended I might like this website. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  40. Pingback: India 2.0: Eat (1/3) … and notes from a procrastinator and a beach trip « You are Here.
  41. Retha Paddio

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days..

  42. Pingback: Surrender with a capital Ess – (India 2.0: 3/3 and a whole bunch of other stuff) « You are Here.
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