22 December 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

You must be busy with Christmas preparations. Today is 22nd ? I don't know. Now I am in a new house and we don't know the neighbours yet. They don't seem interested in knowing us too. This is a direct result of globalisation. No one has time to know people for the sake of knowing people. No purpose. Now every thing has purpose. I have been doing things with no purpose all my life. Now I am completely out of place. My present situation is a bit shocking. It takes time to get used to not smiling at your neighbour (I tried but got cold stares in return) or for being treated like a statue.

Most of human communication is non verbal.
The body language says ' Hey man, I don't want t know you or I don't have time to know you'

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This pelican says ho ho ho ! He is happy. Merry Christmas !

My sister normally sends anything good that she prepares to the neighbours. There is a constant stream of goodies coming from our neighbours on Christmas and other festivals. We happily eat and they happily eat what we send. My sister takes delight in giving recepies. Now I am afraid what if the neighbour falls sick after eating what we send ? It was ok in the old neighbourhood but not in the new one. We can't take chances. I know you are laughing.

Anyway we will be moving back to the old neighbourhood after six or eight months when the house construction is complete. It takes time here in India.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Went to Bangalore for Suresh's exhibition. It was a huge success. Terrific response. 'Art in Nature' was the theme. You can see most of the pictures exhibited here in Suresh's blog WILDPIC

From there I went to a couple of villages in Karnataka. Kokrabellur is a sweet village near Maddur on the way to Mysore. Bellur is the name, Kokra is bird in Kannada language. Some Pelicans, a bit early though, I'll go there again in Feburuary.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

These pelicans are communicating too !

Took pictures of the village life. very sweet and sincere people, always ready to help.

Can I keep my bag here ? I'll pick it up in the evening.
Oh Yes ! no hesitation.
OMG ! what if there's a bomb inside ? No worries for them

Tea is one rupee. You don't get much to eat. My friend Shankar had packed me a couple of sandwitches which I shared with a little girl Sudha. She accepted without hesitation, I would hesitate to do the same believe me. When I sit on a rock under a tree after a long walk, people stop and ask if I need any help, I speak a little Kannada.
Why are you walking in this blazing heat ? here take my cycle. The chap insisted.
Thank you I love to walk.
But you look so tired ????

They want to know where I come from.

'Oh Chennai ? a lady drying red chilies said. 'gold is very cheap there'
Is it ? I've never heard of that, I've never bought any gold in my life' I said
For them Chennai is as far as the north pole. She offered me tender coconut water.
They are not afraid of talking to strangers. They want to share, they want to know you.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I always show them their pictures in the small camera monitor. I love to see the delight on their faces. This man too has something to say.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

These simple folks teach me a lot. To communicate, to know people, they bring me out of my shell. They are not afraid of the risk of losing something.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This smile was in my mind when I boarded an over crowded bus at the end of the day and I did not feel tired. Forgot her name.

We have not stopped existing. There is nothing wrong in knowing people. There is no fun, there is no joy in just existing for ourselves.

I'll post more pictures of the villagers later.

I had no internet connection all these days, I'll respond to your comments on my previous post today, and I haven't visited your blogs in a while, I'll do that today.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I hope these smiles brighten up your day like they did mine.


Hope you have great fun and share your joy with some one you do not know. Its ok if they think you are mad. Lot ofpeople think that I am mad.

I love you all



Edith said...

Hi Rauf, a merry Christmas to you too and all the best for the year to come.
They are great pictures and yes they make one feel good.
As for your neighbours: Have you tried to invite them for a cup of coffee or tea? Stand right before them, look them in their eyes. Try to ask them for help, things you easily could do your self, but just to get contact. Edith.

Anonymous said...

Very nice pics..My fav wld be man on belgadi(actually it's a cow I think though) and of course the last women..
Yes there is a certain distance ppl maintain in big cities.Not even sure if it's a big city or some ppl r like that.Wld think It's more to do with ppl hardly having time for their own self..we are always running,to create that perfect wrld setting & so mind is full of list of pending things to be done in mind rather than something else..They can smile but that wld be so fake that they try to cover it by not looking at the giving smile.Was there myself once upon a time..Won't say have changed much but I try..It takes quite some time to unlearn such things..
Wish u a very Happy New Year and Merry XMas..And hope ur new home turns out to be full of joy for u and sis

Hayden said...

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays, Rauf!

I wonder sometimes, in a village everyone knows each other, so meeting someone new is a surprise and a treat.

In cities we meet new people constantly.

It takes a lot of effort to know people, and in cities they just move on. So one is constantly meeting w/o so much of the pleasure of knowing.

Perhaps that is a part of the problem.

wonderful photos, as always! thanks -

iamnasra said...

I love the faces and their gentle smile...Our world is still fine if there are many faces holding true smile ...You had brighten my day...Here we dont celebrate X-mas but I will wish you both happy X-mas and Happy eid ....and new year if I did not get achance to write you ...By the way ..try smiling if you see strangers, they will be addicted and they will smile to you..if they dont smile oh well you heart had enlightened with your inner smile ...It works for me

Anonymous said...

That was a soothng narrative..you are so right..people seemt o have forgeottent he pleasure of just relating to other people..just for the sake of it, its a need within every man I believe, one that gets ignored a lot.. why? what is the benefit? seems to be the motivation nowadays...and so we become dry and indifferent and perhaps it also means that we dont have to worry about being selfish, greedy, self centered.

Thank you also for your encouraging words in my blog, I appreciate them and feel
humbled as well.

"Angeldust" said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours wishing you all the warmth and wonder of the season...
Do you celebrate Christmas?

This is a quick visit - will be back to share on neighbours and food...

Bug hug

Chinna said...

in a city you can be an island and get away with it. in a village you cannot. or atleast it is not advisable!
we need to attach a new value to or find a new reason for interdependence.

ruth said...

Rauf, your post is spot on. For one thing, different communities have very different cultures about warmth and openness. I even see this at my University from one department to another. My department is quite cold, and it gets to me sometimes. I am a warm person, but when warmth is not returned, I become confused and wonder, should I stop being warm? Another department might be very welcoming, on the other hand.

NYC is a place where people keep a straight face, don't look at anyone, keep walking by homeless people lying on the street. But many towns, even cities here are different, where people are open and smile.

The other thing you made me think of is that lately I have been convinced we are starting to connect with people on an individual level again. I think there is a growing love for people, not just the idea of it, but for individual people with all their idiosyncracies, that some of us are open to. In some way, blogging with friends around the world is part of this, although it's not face to face, nor do we have the same role as with neighbors, family or local friends. I think we are going to see more open love, but it will take time for some to be aware of it.

Your photos warmed my heart so much. You have a gift for showing us into your heart, and into the hearts around you.

Bobbie said...

Merry Christmas Rauf!
I was wondering if you celebrate Christmas or if you were just being kind to those of us who do.

It's very nice to see you traveling again. I love the faces and smiles. They are quite beautiful in their warmth.

My husband is a very outgoing person. He makes friends wherever he goes. I on the other hand am relatively quiet and not overly likely to talk to strangers. He wears people down and brings them out by doing things like waving at people he passes often, until they finally can't resist and wave back. Our friends say he's never met a stranger.

My way is to smile at strangers to see what their reaction will be. More often than not, they have a hard time resisting but you can tell they are wondering what I'm smiling at. I find elderly people are more likely to smile back.

I bet your neighbors really miss you also. Thanks again for sharing your pictures.

mysti said...

Merry Christmas, and may the new year bring you many blessings! Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures with all of us. :)

Suji said...

Great photos Rauf! Wonderful smiles...makes u feel good this festive season. Merry Chirtmas n Happy New

samuru999 said...

A beautiful post, Rauf!
Thank you!
Warmest wishes for a wonderful Christmas, and many blessings in the New Year!


Hayden said...

Merry Christmas, Rauf, thanks for the beautiful Christmas ecard!

miss terri said...

wow! these are great pictures. thank you for the merry Christmas!
i'm glad that you find great value in people. they really are God's greatest glory. i think that people miss that sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos Rauf! I reconize one of the photos in the Art studio. (wildpic's) The photos are wonderful to look at! Thanks!

Merry Christmas! (((Hugs)))

Nirmal Ranganathan said...

Very emotional Rauf... Your talking about our having to smile at people and making friends, just for the fun of it... I was touched...

How true!!... We do end up living for ourselves and cease to appreciate the beauty of smiling at people just for the sake of it... One who knows this art will know how gifted and blessed he is!! That should be an inexplicable experience...

I find a great teacher in you, Rauf!!... Should thank THE SUPREME for having got me such a lovable friend...

Nirmal Ranganathan

Lord Boo said...

loved the post, Poms! so so true, especially for me, as i see different cultures around me. I find the older people, the ones in their late 40s-60s so much friendlier than the ones of my generation. They don't even have a smile on their faces, whereas if you go the villages, where you find an older population, they smile at you when you drive past them on the road as they walk. so much has changed.

Anyway, me just came home. Also, a little upset, as mum and dad not home either, and don't know when i would get to speak to them next. and i know it's taking time for you to adapt, dear Poms, but i'm sure the days would fly, and you would be back home *hugs*

P.S: loved the b/w pic of the little girl ! what a gorgeous smile - so heartfelt ! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Rauf!
Thanks for sharing your word and words and beautiful pics. You created excellent place. Keep up this great work next year.
Happy New Year and may all your dreams come true!

Cari said...

dear rauf

thanks for the christmas greetings!
i hope yours were jolly and filled with love~~

thanks for the great pictures too!!

im still kind to strangers...why not? there are many great people out there who i can learn and share stories with...i wish more people were open-minded

btw in the last picture the young woman has a tatoo on her hand do you know what that symbol means?

Rauf said...

Thank you Edith, yes I tried, took pictures of kids playing in the street, but the mother frowned at me. kids were fine they became friendly with me, showed them the picture on the camera monitor.

Rauf said...

I had a bailgaadi ride Sangita, sitting on raagi ke' borian, last year, very bumpy ride couldn't even take the camera out of my bag. It shakes so much side to side that you'd almost get thrown out of the cart. Same is a tractor ride, jumping so much felt my stomach in my mouth.

Yes Sangita, people maintain distance. They are normally afraid of losing something, like time. A friend of mine has been living in an apartment for three years so far he doesn't know his neighbours.
The place I lived before even our clock tower knows me.

Rauf said...

Hi Hayden, Thank you so much, long time. Hope you had wonderful holidays.

Yes true people maintain distance in the cities. But Bombay is an amazing city. Don't think there is any other city more alive than Bombay (now Mumbai) People are very helpful. There's hardly any self importance. Wrong side is interference, very inquisitive but I like it I answer all the questions. My city people are very reserved.

Rauf said...

Quite true Nasra. There is a reson to live and live happily. just a shift in attitude can make a world of difference. I don't let a frown ruin my day.

e2d said...

Ok..done. I am going to take the initiative to smile at the good looking dude I see everyday at my bus stop. :)

Of course I am being silly...but I understand your message Rauf and I think it is lovely and important.
Wish you a wonderful year ahead, no frowns and many reason to smile and be happy and a whole bunch of friends and clock towers. lol! I thought what u said about the clock tower was funny.

iamnasra said...

Many thanks for your lovely visit to my blog..I took you on today and jsut gone thorough your photos and guess waht a new poem with one of your photo....

Many thanks to your kindness

iamnasra said...

Let me just to take this as chance to wish you happy Eid..and happy new year...

Rauf said...

Mystic Rose, though I don't take medicines myself but I carry a good stock with me while traveling and I used to jump in and offer medicines on the train or to the villagers or tribals. For fever allergies, aches and pains or injuries. Small first aid kit. So far they have been gladly accepted. Now I am afraid even to offer. What if this guy dies after taking my medicine. With so many allergies around i never thought of alleries all these years. Now everybody seems to be allergic to this or that. Times have changes so much. I no longer say ' hey man take this you'll feel alright, don't panic.' Now I consult the family members or the fellow passengers and I give a long talk before I offer any help.

Yes what you say is true Mystic rose, no one wants to waste time unless there is some thing in it for them.

I have been attacking greed all these years without realising I am greedy myself. I was happy with 800MB hard disk, then I wanted more now I am not happy with 80GB.
I was happy with a few tapes and a walkman, The iPOD was 512MB now I want more. In India people generally ask what do you have in your ears ? I let them listen. They are not interested in western music and they quickly return. Now i carry portable CD player with old Hindi songs for the fellow passengers and two iPODs for myself.
thats very greedy.

Rauf said...

Hi Angeldust, Thank you so much, hope you had a wonderful Christmas. .

No, I don't celeberate anything but I enjoy watching people wearing new dress, celeberation, just too many in India. too many holidays. There are more holidays in India than anywher else in the world.
lots of love and hugs

Rauf said...

Chinna, I can't keep quiet even if I want to in a village. Conversation with different people started in the bus itself on the way to kokrabellur. I was given a seat by an old man, I told him to sit. then three people got up asking me to sit. They took my bag and put it in a comfortable place near the bus driver, The way my bag was treated was very touching. It was like placing a baby in a cradle.

You must go there Chinna, since you speak kannada well. Evey one would come and speak to you.

Rauf said...

I agree with you Ruth, Today people care. I was touched by kindness from strangers so many times. I was having fever in a train to Chandigarh north India. A young Sikh (people who wear turbans) took me to his house, his mom and sister fed me washed my clothes. I was touched by their kindness. After a couple of weeks of trekking in the himalayas my camera bag was stolen. It was irritating, but I never felt the loss. I never felt the loss of the pictures too. I was upset and hurt because the address book in which the name address and the phone number of the Sikh family which took care of me was in the camera bag. There was no way of contacting them again. When I went to Chandigarh next time, I took an auto rickshaw and went around the town searching for the house. Chandigarh is a newly built town all sectors look alike. I was confused, I couldn't find the family. There have been many such incidents in my life when strangers have helped me.

people are different in different cities, so different that we can generalise them
People of Bombay are more patient and organised. Bangalore Hyderabad is completely disorganised. In Delhi, being the capital people need stricter laws. In my city of Chennai, the law enforcement is pretty bad and luckily people are more law abiding. The educated people seldom talk to strangers.
People are afraid of some loss. Since I travel a lot, as you say Ruth, people try to connect more and more. When they find that you are an outsider they usually strike a conversation. I have many pleasant memories, some surprises too.
'I never carry an umbrella' I told a stranger who got friendly with me on a train to Bombay who was on his way to Bahrain. After a couple of years there is a knock on my door, there he was with a big smile. I had forgotten about him. After a couple of big hugs we settled down. He brought a present for me, a japanese umbrella. I was in a state of shock.

Rauf said...

Thank you Bobbie !
No I don't celeberate Christmas, but I love to share and join the celeberation. I was invited for lunch and dinner. could go only for lunch and apologised to my friend who invited me for dinner.
some from old neighbourhood came looking for me and brought cakes and other goodies.

When you are on your Harley with your husband I would approach you and ask questions about the bike and the places you have visited. I would become a friend too. such a romantic adventure. My all time favourite book is ' Zen and the art of motorcycle maintainance'

True, elderly people and children always smile back.
Wish you and your husband a very happy new year and many pleasant adventures in the years to come.

Rauf said...

Thank you so much Mysti, I wish you and your family all the joy in the world and a very happy new year.

Rauf said...

Thank you Suji, Wish you a very happy new year to you too.

Rauf said...

Hope the New year more and more inspiration to you Margie !
Happy new year!

Rauf said...

Happy New year Hayden !

Rauf said...

yes they are Miss Terri, thank you so much
Wish you a very happy New year !

Rauf said...

Thank you Kathy.
Wish you all the joy in the world
Happy New year !

Rauf said...

Nirmal, both of us have learnt a lot traveling together. We had bitter experiences too with strangers, we had fights, funny incidents but mostly pleasant experiences with strangers. Do you remember the friendly Homeopathy doctor on our way back from Agra ?

Rauf said...

Owee sweet Boeey ! Yenna dee ?
New year very cold ? Keep yourself warm. Don't walk about the town like a ghost. Remember we planned to roam around as ghosts when we are dead ? But not in England, we go some other place.

Yes older people are more friendly and they respond. But I had very pleasant experiences with youngsters too. There is always some one to help when i am carrying my heavy bag.

Lots of love and Hugs

Rauf said...

Thank you so much Krystyna, Hope your dreams come true too. I'll try to do my best.
Happy New year !

Rauf said...

Dear Caroline,
Sorry for my late response, things are still not alright for me.
We discover more and more about ourselves talking to strangers.

I have been asking around about the tattoo, nothing conclusive came up. This is a general belief.

the tattoo doesn't look like a fun tattoo, as you say it has some significance. This is what I think would have happened.

Villagers are normally very superstitious. As a child this girl would have suffered some chronic illness. They don't go to a hospital instead they go to faith healers.
'your child is possesed by an evil spirit'
They don't say the child is aneamic, give her good food and advise the parents to take the child to a hospital for a proper check up. Treatment is free in Government hospitals, but they have their own shortcomings.
so the faith healer comes up with an elaborate treatment lasting months. At the end of it he comes up with a sketch and tells the parents to get the child tattooed.
This tattoo is not a painless tatoo that you have seen Caroline.
It is done by pricking needles and it is very painful. The child forgets her problems. most of the problems are psychological. This sometimes works when the patient has complete faith in the quack.

I get shoulder pain due to constant dragging of the mouse. I know it goes away without treatment if I stay away from the computer for a while. So I travel.
One day a a friend of mine who acts in movies came to take pictures. She brought another man. i had shoulder pain. the man said he can cure it. I had doubts but did not want to hurt my friend. I said OK He took my thumb and rubbed it vigourously on the bone with something that looked like a ribbed metal pencil. It was so painful, I tried to withdraw my hand, tears rolling down my eyes with pain in my thumb. With this new pain i forgot about my shoulder pain. Its a trick. Actually that did not help my shoulder at all. The pain in the bone of my thumb lingered on for a couple of months

Rauf said...

Thank you Nasra, I am honoured really.

Once I settle down i want to have a new photobucket album and upload my pictures under different subjects so that my blog friends can use them without seeking my permission.

Eid Mubaarak to you too and a very happy new year

Rauf said...

Waat You doings for New year e2dees ? just waiting for your resolutions. Going home this year should be at the top. When you comees you comees for good ?

"Angeldust" said...

Just 'cuz you are in the middle of it all...
Enjoy "Season" with all the love, laughter, joy and a full belly!

Love and hugs

Rauf said...

Thank you Angeldust, I'll enjoy the season but not with a full belly. Full belly would make me lazy and I'll be sleeping all the time.

A full belly is a wish, a prayer, most needed for the people of my country Angeldust. This is what an Indian wants, not enlightenment, Nirvana or technology
Thank you so much Angeldust.

ruth said...

The stories of the kindness of strangers to you are touching. You are privileged when you have received such tender thoughtfulness from someone who has nothing to gain. Thank you for sharing.

Bobbie said...

Thanks Rauf,
If you ever head to the States, let us know. We'd love the opportunity to know you and my husband is always happy to talk about the bike and our adventures. I would say though that they are pretty mild compared to yours. I don't think either of us has ever traveled just for the sake of traveling. There is always a plan in place. We need to make that a goal for the future.
Happy New Year! Bobbie

Rauf said...

Ruth, my friends are sick and tired of my theories, rest is based on my experience and observation. I have observed more kindness and compassion than indifference. I keep saying and everybody keeps saying that times have changed, people have changed, attitudes have changed. This is not what I see. Immediately after the tsunami struck there was such an overwhelming response that my state of Tamil nadu which was worst hit was not able to handle the immediate aid coming from all over the world at such a short time. They were not governmental contributions of money and food which came later but, this was a contribution coming at the individual level.
so many clothes blankets were piled up that there was no place to store them.

Rauf said...

Hope I would make it one day Bobbie. Thank you so much. I have watched a lot on the movies like easy rider. But the movies depict a rough and unpleasant picture of the bikers, which may not be true,
or exaggerating some minor groups or incidents.
I have met a few bikers here coming all the way from US and Eorope, not on Harley though, I found them to be very soft and friendly.

I go as a pillion on short rides to nearby villages with friends.

L.L. Barkat said...

Found you over on Inihtar's blog. Wow... I'm so glad I did. Your photography is beautiful, your thoughts entrancing.

Rauf said...

Thank you Mr. Barkath. Hope you enjoyed the holidays.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rauf, hope you are having a great 2007. Here is the link to my pelican post. Please feel free to use my link if you like.

Take care