Tuesday, February 02, 2010

SO much life (and some death) on the streets

I went for another long walk today, (OK, I haven't told you about the other long walk yesterday) and I was so enjoying the interactions I was having. So many locals here see a Westerner as an oddity, at least in the non-touristed places I was roaming. Combining years of travel and keen observation, I stumbled on a great photography secret today: if you like to take pictures of people, a city is a great place for it because, drum roll.... there are lots of people in cities. (Thank you! Hold your applause.) If you enjoy the photography and use it as an excuse to interact with people, it's just so fun. Snot-covered street kids, rickshaw drivers, shopkeepers, parents of all flavors - they're all possible subjects for the camera lens, and that's an excuse to make a fleeting connection and sharing that leaves everyone smiling and warm.

I haven't mentioned the chaos here much, but trust me that it's inescapable, especially in Delhi. I was crossing an impossibly crowded street, taking my life in my hands as you must, before I reached the shore of relative safety - the sidewalk on the other side of the street. I stepped up on the sidewalk, and in front of me I saw a dead body. Not dead when I saw him, but almost certainly dead by the time you read this. You were spared that I didn't take a photo, because it was a horrifying scene even by Haiti earthquake standards. This poor man was skin and bones, covered in filthy rags for clothes, and what remained of his teeth pointed in all the directions of the compass. But the most disturbing aspect to me was that as he lay there with his eyes mostly but not quite closed, the pink bits of his eyes were covered with flies. I thought he was dead when I first saw him, but then could see him breathing.

I looked around, and traffic was lurching past, unimpeded by the drama. A bicycle rickshaw driver stopped beside me and indicated, as best I could tell, that the man had been there a couple of days. He made a tsk-tsk sound, shook his head sadly, and then tried to talk me into taking his rickshaw. I debated about what to do. Actually that's not true. I had a passing thought that MAYBE there's something I could do. Then I dismissed the thought, and walked away, holding my hand over my stomach for about a block.

Even with this, in spite of this, because of this,

Too much love,

I'm trying something new. The photos below are larger than in the past. All the photos were taken in one evening and the followng day. These are probably my favorite, but there are many more at the link below. I hope you enjoy them!