Art & Culture · India · Life · Photography

Someone to lean on – Photo Challenge


Do you recall, not long ago/

We would walk on the sidewalk/

Innocent, remember?

All we did was care for each other.

Major Lazer and DJ Snake go on in this catchy , yet annoyingly stupid number to extend the argument that any risk taking, inclusive of facing day to day challenges, requires a partner – a partner in crime so to speak.

As a travel photographer, I am constantly struck by examples of Partners as photography subjects. I find some inanimate, and some alive well worth a photo. A pair of pigeons, a boy and his dog, couples in love, strangers as a pair that I’ve photographed over the years. I present a few here.

This, atop the fort of Junagadh, Gujarat when I found this boy consoling his horse – he got a bit tetchy of the crowds. [Dec 2014].

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Boy and his horse, Junagadh, Gujarat

In Eastern (Dharmic?) traditions, a combination of male and female energies is considered a requirement. Dharma dictates that one undergoes a ‘phase’ in life – ‘Grihastha’ [Lit: householder], before moving onto the one of detachment and finally the liberated soul stage [moksha]. Even the Hindu’s holy trinity – Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver) or Shiva (destroyer) are considered incomplete without their respective consorts. Here is Shiva’s son – Ganesha – remover of obstacles – with his wife.

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Ganesha and Riddhi – State Archaeological museum, Bhopal, July ‘ 13

Nor are the gods content with only ‘being’ in that state – Shiva went berserk with grief when Sati (his first wife) died. His dance of Tandava nearly destroyed all creation, but I digress. Even today, when the faithful buy a bronze nataraja, they pair it with a small statue of of ‘parvati’ . Such divine partners are shown to be always in-sync, though their devotees are often not so [seen in Shimla, at the Viceregal Lodge cafeteria

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“You listen to me” – Shimla, May 2014

Hindu mythology goes a step further and recognizes the aspect of partnership in the animal kingdom. The mythical nag-devta (snake deity), a protector god that harks back to tribal influences over Hinduism – is rarely portrayed alone. If on one pillar to a temple entrance we see the ‘nag’ (male), nagin (female) is on the other. Their love is immortalized in song, drama and many Bollywood films. If a man were to foolishly Deprive the female serpent of the male, she would move heaven and earth to find him and to dispatch the human from this world. At the Siddheshwar temple at Solapur, Maharashtra, I found this smooth black venerated sculpture – entwined like creepers , inseparable.

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Siddheshwar temple, Solapur, Maharashtra

Not that partners need be a couple, necessarily . A friend who not only watches your back, but is prepared to thumb his nose at the world, as long as you’re together. I saw this in Pune, India – at a restaurant whose name possibly commemorates the coronation of a British emperor of India. Right under the ‘no smoking sign’ a couple of old timers –

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”No Smoking” – Coronation Restaurant, Pune

A partner helps you lift a load, takes it off your shoulders – literally in this case – photographed June ’14 at the Golconda Fort, Hyderabad. Sure, one man could do this, but at the cost of a sore back.

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A load off his shoulders – Golconda, Hyderabad

It takes two to tango, or to do a folk dance – this, witnessed March this year, at a local temple here in Jaipur. At a festival gathering, a tourist with her backpack joined a local, a little girl. Holding hands tightly they went around an imaginary axis; the crowd separated, giving them their space. Their steps didn’t match the music but happiness and smiles writ large on their faces more than compensated.

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Two for a dance – Jaipur, India

How often do we meet partners like these, in our travels, there’s an immediate though momentary bond – a cherished memory for a lifetime. Do you travel solo? Do you sometimes feel the need for a partner – even for a bit? 🙂

[This post in response to the Weekly photography challenge – Partners and is tagged to the daily post – deprive]

 

 

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