TAKEN AT YELAGIRI
Last summer I went to Yelagiri,
a hill resort in Tamil Nadu. Nearly one thousand and
fifty meters above sea level, Yelagiri is draped in fresh
vegetation and a cold weather. Passing hair-pin
bends, we reached the top late into the evening.
That evening, by the side of a campfire, was
unforgettable. Jokes, beer and the fire gave us warmth in
that icy night, we had dinner by the Poonganoor lake in
total darkness. We enjoyed the place to the level what a
hill station could offer for a person who lives in hot
weathers. Next morning, when the sun showed up, the real
beauty of Yelagiri and its people dawned on to our eyes.
I take you through my view-finder in the following pages.
Woman with baby.
Yelagiri is plush with its green
vegetation and cold weather. Naturally people there
looked very different. Most of them are not familiar to
the urban comforts. These people live the natural way.
Their houses are built with red clay and their roofs are
thatched. No electricity in most of the houses. This
mother and her baby posed for us in front of her house in
that beautiful morning.
These children are
watching the preparations their fathers and mothers are
making for the Pongal Pooja.(Festival of Harvest). Two
long bamboo sticks are planted parallel at the entrance
of a fenced area where the sheep are lodged in the night.
These sticks are
festooned with orange flowers and green leaves. Painted
pots of rice are placed beneath the sticks to be cooked
during the Pooja. Decorated bullocks are also part of
These children will have to repeat these ceremonial
rituals when their time comes. Tradition is like a rock.
It is there for ever with its nativity unspoiled. And it
passes on to the future through
children who come, see and tread on those surfaces.
That afternoon was brilliant. We
were returning by walk after lunch at a friend's place.
On the way we noticed this small girl sitting on a
doorway, watching over her puppy relaxing in the warmth
of the afternoon. The red mud wall and the thatched roof
gave me a perfect setting for the picture.
The walls were plain. No carved doors; no latticed
windows. The shadow of the roof and the dark doorway give
a symmetrical appearance to the frame. This girl's demur
look is an interesting alternative to her sleepy dog.
The Super Model.
This girl was sitting among the
Weather was chill that morning and she was cupping her
palms to protect her cheeks from the cold. I could not
ignore her for the compelling beauty she was glowing
with. The big eyes, the blossoming smile with a tinge of
blush, the clothes and the green bangles in her brown
hands contribute depth to this simple picture. The
distracting color of the frock of her friend who is out
of the frame also gives an extra dimension to this shot.
This half-profile portraiture is commonplace in any of
the soap or fairness cream commercial. But I hope that I
have captured a very natural reaction. Of this unknown
This grand entrance, the
ornamental pillars and the tiled roof appear to be
monarchy as the housing in Yelagiri normally goes. The
area between the gate way and the portico is called
'Mutram'. Mutram is laid in clay followed by a coat of
diluted cow-dung. The area is extremely clean and
footwear is not allowed on it.A chic tries to cross the
'Kolam'. (Patterns done at the entrance by the women
every morning with a kind of flour)
SNAPS TAKEN AT MANAPAD
This time I shot Manapad in
black and white too. That day at 7 in the morning,
'Vallams' (Boats) and the catamarans were returning.
These men were eager to push the vessel to the shore and
to get their catch auctioned for they return after an
No other profession requires this grit these men have, to
handle the mighty nature. I was happy that they had a big
catch that day because most of the days nature rewards
them with less or nothing at all in spite of their hard
and dangerous trip into the sea.
Sandy grave by the sea.
life is always miserable. He braves the sea everyday for
the pittance he earns. If lucky, he returns home.
Danger is always out there waiting. It catches them from
below in the form of a shapeless substance. Water.Some
perish in the merciless water. With none of their loved
ones around. Death too is miserable.
I saw this dying boat in Manapad. Standing testimony to
the sad life of a fisherman. For this boat, death has
become graceful. Gentle and slow disintegration into the
sand. By the side of the
sea. For all to see. Like the wish of a fisherman !
This was shot in an
elementary school in a small village, Amarapuram,
near Manapad. This cute little girl was sitting
in her beautiful outfit, on the school floor,
with her chappals in front of her. The school
building is actually an old church. There are
five classes under the single roof and only one
teacher for those five classes. When all other
children were trying to read or write noisily
between their eagerness to look at us, this
little girl was unusually calm and serene. When I
turned my cameras towards her, she not even made
any attempt to show her curiosity for those
equipment. It seemed to me that she ignored me,
when she wiped her
running nose with the back of her palm. I liked
that power in her, to conceal her feelings.
Innocence may be. She impressed me anyway.
Pearl of Rain
Here is Marimuthu. He is
in the same school. He has been separated from
the rest of the children for the state of his
attire. No uniform. That maroon and white uniform
is a minimum requirement to be inside the class
room. Marimuthu's uniform is not ready from the
tailor, I am told. Atleast he has been allowed a
corner behind the church's door for his civil
dress. He has got the privilege of listening to
the lessons. Marimuthu in Tamil means pearl of
rain.When I closed in on him, he hid himself
behind the door. He was frightened,it seems. When
I went further near him for a slight better view
of his eyes, he hid himself further behind the
door. A sound of sob started from him. Pearl of
Rain was crying. I left him at that.