Weekly Challenge – Silhouettes

Sunset On The Yamuna

Sunset On The Yamuna

I took this shot two days ago. I was on the boat in Mathura. The river is the Yamuna, one of the most sacred ones in India, and one of the most polluted.

Despite our best efforts to bugger the environment, Nature does have a way of making things beautiful, yes?

Paganism does rule!

My Years In China 1. Sunset In Shanghai

Shanghai

This section is really my own trip down memory lane. I lived in China – in Shanghai & Beijing – for five years, between 2002 and 2006. I learned the language somewhat, and was starting to learn to read when I left.

Our countries have had many political differences, and still do. Yet, when I went to live there, with some trepidation, I met some of the best friends that I have ever made.

I often said that China is my second home, and I still feel this way.

The above photograph, by the way, was taken from the rooftop of our little row house.

Sunset in October.

Wonderful land, wonderful people when you get to know them.

I may pop by now and then with photographs and memories of my time in China.

Indulge me!

At The Pushkar Mela

The ship of the desert. At sunset

The ship of the desert. At sunset

The Annual Pushkar Mela takes place every year, around November, and is timed with the full moon. It does mix religious faith with commerce as, apart from the rush of pilgrims who come to bathe in the sacred waters of the lake (and, to wash away their sins), there is a very well known cattle trading fair that takes place every year. This has become quite famous, and it was because of this fair that Mr Topiwallah and I were drawn to Pushkar. Never trust touristy pictures, I have said before, and I say it again. The pictures look very romantic, and I hope that the picture above looks sufficiently romantic as well.

So, we walked through the village-town and came to the outskirts where the actual fair was taking place. Hindi filmi (we say filmi, when we talk about Bollywood movies, sorry!!) music was blaring it’s way to the heavens at one end, and hymns to various Gods were blaring their way to the heavens at the other. We made our way through the cacophony, and I started to wonder why the Gauls resented the singing of Cacofonix so much. Poor chap, he was modelled on my singing capabilities, but this was horrendous.

It did not help that we arrived at Pushkar at the fag end of the festival. It seems that, as per our myth, the 330 million Hindu Gods and Goddesses gather here during the full moon festival, and sanctify the pious. 330 million? Holy shit, is what I have to say. I never knew we had so many of them. No wonder our human population keeps expanding at this rate.

Pushkar has been mentioned in the Mahabharata, as well as in the Ramayana, as well as in the Vaman Purana. When the old traveller, Alberuni, was sent by his king to study India in the 11th century, he did mention Pushkar, as did the Chinese pilgrim, Fa-Hsien. The travels of Fa-Hsien, it seems, were the inspiration for that wonderful Chinese book, “Xi You Ji”, or The Journey to the West, in which the marvellous character, The Monkey King, came to be born.

But, for all that, what I saw (apart from many foreign photographers, including Chinese ones, and some Indian semi-professionals) was a bunch of tired looking camel traders and camels. I must confess, I was a mite disappointed.

Camaraderie in the late afternoon sun

Camaraderie in the late afternoon sun

Still, I watched as the villagers gathered around, bathed in the water tanks, and gathered together for a friendly cup o’ chai in the late afternoon sun. You will notice, that the gentleman is sipping from a steel vessel – a katori.

And others, sat around and smoked their weed. To be honest, I don’t know why the West is making such a huge fuss about weed. We, in India, have never even discussed this topic. Hard stuff, yes, is a problem. Weed? No.

The glorious weed

The glorious weed

And so, they smoked, they drank their tea, they conducted their business, and we took our photos.

Life carried on into the sunset, and the camels grinned their sarcastic little grins, as they watched us fall over ourselves to find salvation, and to make a little money. And, to take a few photographs as well.

The year rolled by..

 

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