Us & Them – Sri Lanka

Who am I? I wonder. A pearl perhaps, in a necklace of history, woven by the oldies around me, who cease not, to boast of their past. Who am I, but just a tear drop, in an ocean of identities, of claims, of conflicts. But a dream, in a sea of confused realities. They called me ‘Serendib’, that which was discovered by chance! And I wonder, again. You could have been lost, traveller, but I have always been here. Forever, in temples that store a tooth of the Buddha, in the folklore of the tears of Sita, in the spirit of a legendary Ashoka’s Dhamma. I was always here, as a thought, a belief, a land in the legend of your legends, the pearl of an island, the keeper of a stories thousand.

Did you forget me traveller?

For I was here when you brought the Dharma to my fortress, dressed as Mahindra..

Image

& I was still here till so late when those waves struck us together..

Image

But did you forget me traveller? For I waited for you in those green hills..

Image

..Waited to shower you with smiles, when all you wanted was just a glimpse

Image

I stood here, while you painted my walls with colours of thee, Dutch somewhere, somewhere else Portuguese.

Image

And colours I did have of my own, those splendid hues of blue, which men & fish alike, would day after day cling to.Image 

I was there In the taste of the cinnamon, sweet and savoury both, akin to that of a conversation with the family that grew this  ‘kurundu’  

Image

I was there, in the sheer astonishment of my folks so humble at anything new..  

Image

..In those headlines of a newspaper that’d soak the occasional morning dew

Image

And also among those lines that divided my children..

Image

But even today my friend, I continue to remain in those cricket-loving roars of  “I AM KUMARA SANGAKARRA!” that unite them!

Image

Yet, I wonder, did you forget me traveller?

———————————————————————————————

Have you been to Sri Lanka? What were your thoughts about the place?

———————————————————————————————–

This is a part of the writer’s series, Us & Them, documenting the people of the places he visits. Some of the earlier posts under this series are-

Us & Them – Rajasthan

Us & Them – Kashmir

Us & Them- Kids in Ladakh 

 You may also like:

Sun, Sand & Sri Lanka

5 Reasons you must go to Sri Lanka NOW!

 

 

The Many Faces of Mumbai – The wait for Thee!

Over the past few days, I have been obsessed with Mumbai. It’s the city I have been living in for quite a few years now. I have hated it. And at those times, when I’ve been away from it, I’ve missed it. I’ve cursed it. And those times, when I’ve roamed around carefree at odd hours in the night & still managed to find something to eat, I’ve thanked it. Quite frankly, it’s an enigma, the more you try to understand it, the more it puzzles you. It’s an elusion, the moment you think you have made it in Mumbai, it brings back to ground with a crash & a thud. It’s a confusion, of people and their ambitions, of cultures and their religions, of emotions and their manifestations. Perhaps the only place that gives an Irani and a Bihari equal opportunities to aspire for and realise their dreams. It’s a deluge on the senses. More than 18 million voices to be heard, faces to be seen, their minds to be understood and their hearts to be felt, their cuisines to be devoured, smelled, and relished. 18 Million! It is with this objective that I set out starting this section of the blog. To bring to you a picture, every now and then, of the many faces of Mumbai, its people and its places, and everything around, that they find their expression in.

Today, we start with the iconic Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai, a belief for several, and an inspirer for several others, including the Oscar award winning music composer, A.R. Rahman and his songs! The title of the pic, ‘The wait for Thee‘ tries to capture the spirit of the Sufis that this landmark signifies.

The wait for Thee..

What would you want to see more of here? Do leave back your suggestions in the comments.

—————————————————————————————-

You may also like –

Biking your way through the Heart of Mumbai

Us & Them – Kashmir

Us & Them – Rajasthan

Us & Them – Kids in Ladakh

In the spring of 2009, I visited the magnificent land of Ladakh for an internship with a Non-Government Organisation. Part of the state of Jammu & Kashmir in north India, the beauty of the place takes your breath away! In this photo essay I share, pictures of some of the most wonderful people I met along those several journeys we took in Ladakh during our stint there. These are mostly kids, guess they very appropriately signify the innocence and simplicity of the Ladakhis.

Here they go.

Kids at the cafe

These were the kids of the owner of a cafe where we stopped while on our way to Kargil from Leh. Their initial shyness turned into playfulness as we continued to play this game of camera hide & seek with them.

Chhotu :)

The only boy among the kids at the cafe – but perhaps the most mischievous of them all. He had a running nose and the characteristic burnt cheeks.  But his eyes clearly give away the mischief :)

Girl at the cafe

One of the little girls over there – finally gave in to the pleads of the several cameras around her and smiled :)

Joy of a Chocolate

The amazing joy of getting a chocolate, remains the same across the world

Kids outside a house

Two boys in a house in Leh. The shyness associated with the kids in earlier pics was nowhere to be seen here. These guys were more like models posing for photographs. :)

Tibetan Kids

And here, the attitude is replaced by wonder. At the crazy thing, namely the cameras, that they saw with us. These were students at a school for children of nomadic Tibetans in Sumdho, near the Chang Thang plateau in south-eastern Ladakh.

Six eyes, different views of the same valley??

At a village by the name of Fanjilla. The weather in Ladakh is so harsh that you wouldn’t realise when the tan of your cheeks turns black from red.

School at Udmaroo

At a school in Udmaroo – Far north of the whole country

Mom & Kid

No words needed here – at Pangong Lake

Girl at Fanjilla

Trapped Dreams?? – A Girl in Fanjilla

Kids Salute

Signing off – with a pic of the happiest people I’v come across. Nubra valley.

————————————————————————————————————
This is the first in my series – ‘Us & Them’ – capturing the people I’ve met along my travels