There was a commotion on the street. Every kid wanted their “fotu” to be taken. Their excitement and smiles were a delight to watch and capture. I noticed a lady watching me. “Why don’t you come out?” I asked. “My mom in law won’t like it” she replies with a smile.There is an awkward silence.I don’t insist. I think of the stark differences in my country. On one hand there are women, no less than men, breaking barriers in every field. On the other hand there are women, with caged dreams. They seek to set them free through their kids. As I turn, she asks nervously,”Can you click Montu?” I nod. When I showed her son’s photo,her smile reached her eyes. I had to click her..even if it had to be through the window.
I walked through the tiny village Anyor.The clothes hanging on colored walls was a sight to behold. The villagers sure thought I had lost it, clicking Sarees hanging out to dry , which was quite a mundane thing for them.
I looked up and spotted a woman smoking beedi (tobacco) and clicked her. She noticed me clicking and said “Ruko!” (Wait)
I thought she would throw the beedi and pose for me. Instead she pulled her pallu to her head and said “Ab kheecho” (click now), letting out a puff in style!
I was amazed. This was no big city. A small town with rigid beliefs. But here was a woman who chose to live life her way, who chose to be herself proudly, fearlessly and a woman who chose her pallu over the beedi 😛
Adeeg, Uttar Pradesh:
Its early morning and the mist is enchanting.
Suddenly I spot an orange hue. I skip a heartbeat. Thousands of marigolds swaying in front of my eyes in the mild winter breeze.
I sprint towards the farm and instantly start clicking, unaware of someone watching.
I look back and see her looking at me intently.
“I am only clicking, not plucking”, I blurt.
She smiles and says ” You can pluck as many.
Of course I had no intention to pluck those beauties, but thats how I met Poonam, the girl with a gorgeous smile and immense charm.
“Want to see around?”she asked me. And who could refuse a tour around the farm, with sugarcane, banana laden trees and freshly grown vegetables (full post on the farm coming soon)
I was amazed at her how hospitable she was. In an era where all of us have started detesting uninvited intrusion from known people, she was happily showing a stranger around.
When it was time for me to go, she said I won’t let you go empty handed and handed over a garland of marigolds she and her sisters had made.
She blatantly refused to take money for it. The gift was priceless and so was their warmth and hospitality. Hospitality hasn’t died. Its prevalent. And we, the educated people living in concrete jungles need to learn a tiny lesson from people like Poonam 🙂
It is Dussera and the roads are full of orange flowers. Everyone wants torans for their homes, cars, workplaces.
The saffron wave is a delight to the eyes. And behind these saffron strings are women who work day and night collecting mango leaves and marigolds and preparing the torans.
As I bend down to click one of them , she giggles and bursts into laughter.
“Didi, why are you clicking me?”
Before I could answer her mother says ” Because you are helping your mom out”.
I don’t know what to say now.
I buy the toran , show her pics and my eyes capture her unforgettable smile 🙂
I am late.
I hurriedly rush to conference room.
All the press is ready to interview the musicians.
I hear her sing with a voice that resonates. A voice that suddenly lifts your spirits. And yes makes you happy! 🙂
That’s when I first meet Natania, The winner of MTV’s Project Aloft Star (A platform for India’s Budding singers)
I meet her before her performance and wish her luck. And something done there in my heart tells me, she’s a winner.
I blurt it out and she smiles.
Her song “Cherry love” is an extension of her happy , cheerful self.
There are people you meet , randomly and they add a little more sunshine and a tad bit of cherry love to your lives. Natania is one of them.
Find cherry love and other of Natania’s songs here.