I was drawn to the strength in this woman’s expression and in her hands. She had just finished washing a load of clothes when a loud crowd of men carrying very large, very heavy “idols” passed by the ally.
These two fellows had their hands full cooking up tons of incredibly delicious Bengali food for several hundred guests who’d gathered in a private home to celebrate Durga Puja.
This city (and all of India really) is full of paradoxes but there’s one thing for sure – these folks sure work hard… This guy is carrying a basket full of leafy greens to a large communal kitchen where about 20 men and women are preparing huge bowls of bengali food for a festival feast.
Today was one of the hottest days i think i’ve ever experienced. When I saw this fellow and that rush of water next to him, I was soooo tempted to join him.
Our fearless leader, Tewfic El-Sawy, has a thing for scarves – that’s no secret. This cotton scarf, or “gamcha”, is used by many Bengalis as a sarong for bathing, a cover for protection from the heat and rain, a towel for sweat and dirt, a bug swatter, a spread for sleeping, a mat for sitting…and so many other things. Behind this fellow’s gamcha is his empty basket, which moments earlier was full to the brim with fresh vegetables.
I spied a bare skinned little boy walk around the corner and quickly reached for my camera. Moments earlier I had been trying to record some music coming from the speakers on the walls of this building. My companion later told me that I had just recorded music from a ‘pay for toilet’ place. And that’s apparently where the little fellow is heading and where the bigger one is coming from.
This hard working man carried an incredibly huge bundle of vegetables from the Kolkata railway station to the wholesale market a few long, hot blocks away.
The taqiyah (or cap) worn by this fellow suggests that he is muslim rather than hindu. This makes sense since i met him in the muslim neighborhood of Chitore, outside the gates of a large active mosque.
Selling flowers when it’s a bazillion degrees hot outside must be a tough way to make a living. But this guy was so sweet, I wanted to buy anything he was selling.
Compassion is a call, a demand of nature, to relieve the unhappy as hunger is a natural call for food.