3 February 2009

SO FULL OF LIFE

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Sugarcane smile, made me happy, it'll make any one happy


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She has seen better days, now poverty written all over her and yet she is so full of life, full of giving. Nirmal Sindu and i landed near her hut after a long and tiring trek. This is Wynad, Kerala, going there next week.
forgot her name, she made kattan kaapee for us it was a life saver, and said if we can wait for half an hour she'll catch some fish from the river and prepare lunch for us.
No, thank you, said Nirmal earnestly, you have already been so kind and generous. And she refused to accept any money from us. We just sat by the river and relaxed in her company for an hour and left.



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Their life is not easy, misery and suffering right since the day they are born. Yet they know how to smile. This is poverty by design, this is misery by design, they are condemned by the society.
Racism of the worst kind. Its a very clever system. They accept cast system as their faith. They embrace poverty misery and suffering as religion.


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India is a cursed land. India will never come out of misery even if we become the next economic super power.
we will remain miserable for ever. We seem to love our misery. Any country where people flee at any given oppertunity is a cursed land, another example is China, where you see oppression of the worst kind. All the flag waving Indians who shout, 'Mera bharat Mahaan' would flee given a chance, and i don't blame them. The conditions are so miserable.


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She is smiling through her Ghunghat (veil), She invited me to her house, a mud house, this is the exterior




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Do i feel miserable not living in a penthouse ??
Look at this.
I said WHOA !! when i entered


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Ha ! this is joy. Just a mud house and the whole thing would come crumbling down just by leaning on it. Look at her interior design. This is love.
You did this all by yourself ?? i asked her
Yes she said, handing me a small mud pot of some fruit juice, she was beaming.
This should get in to an international Interior design magazine i thought.
This is something. This is so full of life.


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Hey ! where is your smile ?
Here it comes, these are the farm hands of kutch


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i would not smile with such a load on my head. Poverty becomes a way of life. Nothing stops them from feeling good, Indian movies play a big role in their lives. They want to be like movie stars. And they have thir own fashion. Some traditional and some new.


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Anything, a piece of jewelry, new clothes, to make them feel good, to make them less miserable,
they flaunt it. i can't measure their joy by my yardstick.


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i don't remember what i told her in my broken Kannada that made her laugh. It takes very little effort to ease the situation and bring some lighter moments. i am a clown always. i reach out and touch them.


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Some new pictures in PASSION GREEN, PORTRAITS and BLUNT KNIFE, you can find the links on the side bar right under the clock, i don't like posting just pictures, wanted to delete these blogs, i am obsessed with the page design, so they stay.

Traveling again on herbal medicine trail, just for information that could be useful for my friends, going on a forest trail next week to Coorg and Wynad.
All my love


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59 comments:

Ruth said...

I never like leaving the first comment. Usually I don't know why.

This time I know why. I feel bad, wrong, for writing anything now. But there is no other way to tell you, except to write something. If you saw my face, I would not need to write something.

Am I smiling? No, I'm not smiling. Mouth's hanging open though. Maybe I will find words later.

But I have to say now, have to, the wall of shelves and tin dishes blew me out of the water. I completely and utterly agree with you it should be in a design magazine. I have a book, The Way We Live that it belongs in.

I want to keep talking, wish we could sit and just be quiet. But me being just quiet here, you can't hear me. So, please understand, me just being quiet, thinking and feeling about your post.

vishesh said...

:)

Aaarti said...

these peektures speaking more than a gazillion words here!!

Its amazing how these women smile away.. And yes, that house needs to be shown to the world. its truly breath taking!!!

me got no more words to say! sigh!!

happy time in waynad.. having fun!!:)

Ruth said...

For not having words, I'm writing too many. Sorry.

I thought of more though.

There is a gift here, actually it's like you're funneling the smiles of these people to us, directly from them. Of course they are looking at you, the photographer, and you made them smile. But the gift of their smiles comes from them to us, through you.

And that wounds my heart, knowing their life is hard, and mine isn't. Like they gave me something, and I should give them something.

Marie said...

des sourires, des lumières, des couleurs, que c'est beau !

sonia a. mascaro said...

What a gorgeous photos, Rauf! So beautiful people, so beautiful colors, so wonderful country... You did an amazing reportage! I am without words, because my English is "weak". I only can say: I LOVE YOUR BLOG!

Have a nice week ahead!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Beautiful Faces.... I was poor rauf..I never knew it.. I saw the big holes in my fathers shoes but he filled them with thick layers of newspaper.... we worked hard and were happy for what we received... and felt lucky for it..

to take satisfaction in a job well done is fulfilling to the soul.. do not compare yourself or others to anyone else...

mud houses are fine.. in an environment that supports them.. I could live in a mud hut and be glad I had a hut at all.. take happiness when it is offered you..

I see people who are glad they are alive ... I see people proud of themselves for accomplishing what they have.... as I am...

I see people expressing themselves... you noticed them, right...

I do not see anything miserable.. I see joy... I see people trying.. I see real... I relate to everyone of these people...

Your photographs show me this...

kenju said...

Such handsome people! The colors they wear are so vibrant; their smiles exude joy - no matter what their cultural circumstances.

Priya said...

They are full of life no matter what they face..

alok said...

The pics are so amazing and certainly it speaks beyond any words. I keep thinking what is “life”? perhaps a question that have many answers and I know when I am here, I have some more answers to live & smile at life.

rauf said...

Dear RUTH, You are a very sensitive person and i can understand your feelings. One has to be highly insensitive and completely insulated to remain happy in this world. Even those have created God, created the system, created religious order, created slavery, poverty and suffering did not escape the eternal misery. This includes all the saints prophets, sons and daughters of God. I don't think, what we call God is a happy chapee. He must be very very jealous of us humans and must be roasting himself seeing people fight all misery he (HE) showered on us, the humans, who have the the will to survive against all odds, who endure any suffering and strive to remain happy. That makes God a very inferior being and humans very superior. There are clowns in this world who expect humans to be thankful to this mythical God for all the good and evil, useful and useless (including the mosquito), yes Ruth, we thank the Lord for the mosquito and the other pests.

Countless religions (34,000 factions in Christianity itself) prove the fact this mythical God is ridiculous. It was all done by men, who created the misery and poverty to serve their own interests.

This woman who created a small heaven for herself in a mud house is a slap on this God. She is a fighter, she wants to live, the jewelry on her, comb and oil in her hand, the colourful dress she is wearing speak of her lust for life Ruth. She's determined to shun misery and seek all the joy in the world, no matter what.

rauf said...

VISHESH, a smile from me too.

rauf said...

AAARTIDEE Sweetest, I know you are doing your best to make your life interesting. Living and surviving can be exceedingly monotonous and miserable. When i can't measure joy by my yardstick i can't measure misery too. Life is boring. This is the design. But we humans make things happen. If you take a picture of a bird or dear plaappy you are fighting. When you post a recipe share it with your readers and friends you are doing a great favour. Nature gives you Gaajar and you the human gets creative and make gaajar ka halwa. You are one up with your creativity and you fight. God really must be pissed off with human endeavour and creativity. These poor people too are fighting, life is painful, doesn't give you any smiles. These people do their best in their power to grab some moments of joy and make their life colourful.

Mala Chinna took me to the opening of Cholamandal Gallery on Sunday. Some good exhibits there, please don't miss the women's gallery. Everything is a fight to remain sane and to remain happy. We fight.
i can't be happy when my friends are in pain Aaarti. i have to fight too.

Claudia said...

Such beautiful, wide smiles! What good is it to be well off if you never have a smile on your face?

The Old Fart said...

Rauf ~ Your Blog is an Oasis in this mess known as the World Wide Web. Thank you for sharing your pictures.

MAN IN PAINTING said...

Wonderful!
wishes.

Sudheesh Bhaskaran said...

Dear Rouf...

Your blog is full of real life..Amazing that you could capture the essence of our country.
I always felt that we need not help or support people or for that matter any living organism in this world. They have their own way of survival. But we should make sure that we are not misutilise or take advantage for our own greedy interests.
Excellent blog...
Waiting to see your pictures of Wayanad.

Karin said...

Hi Rauf

I also love your pictures! I cannot see you between these people and me...you are the window.

Aside from the life-affirming colors and the universal smiles, what I notice most in each shot are people's laugh lines. I think those of us who would consider ourselves "comfortable" have wrinkles too, but the most prominent frequently are our worry lines. Fear and worry over losing what we have. These people show joy for their lives despite poverty and want. What a lesson!

d@r$hi said...

as always words are never enough to express ones emotion after visiting ur blog.. but after seeing this i m sitting here and wondering as to what’s it is which is toping us from being happy.. is it the city life...or just that we have forgotten how to smile ... this reminds me of one phrase of architecture "LESS IS MORE"... they how just few things with them , so less in life...that’s why they have more to live..Unlike us..

The Preacherman said...

Smiling through poverty and oppression. The human spirit knows no bounds.

Beautiful photo's of a living breathing tragedy.

You touch us in ways we could never have imagined Rauf.

Thank you.

Lord Boo said...

Beautiful blog, Poms. One of your best ones, needless to say! Smile - the most beautiful of emotions wonderfully captured :) ; made my day.. Have a safe trip back home
*hugs*

mystic rose said...

:)

mystic rose said...

I cannot think what to write.

You capture the best smiles and the best there is on earth.

I want to see that woman who decorated her house so beautifully. So lovingly graceful. It reminds me of a poem I have been wanting to write a long time now.

Lots of love to you and to everyone here.

Cuckoo said...

I agree with Ruth and others. Your pictures should reach a much more wider audience.
And I'll do my part to do that.

Thanks for sharing.

Cuckoo said...

Check my blog on Sunday.

Ashi said...

Rauf, your pictures and stories are simply wonderful.
Bringing India to so many people, folks like me - we never will come India for many reasons but through you we have been in spirit.
Thanks Rauf.

rauf said...

Dear RUTH, For me life is just a joke. It happened by accident, no purpose. i don't take it seriously. But there is some charm in living, such incredible charm that no one wants to leave, what ever misery or suffering comes our way, we continue living. Clowning is the best option for me and i do my best to make people smile. People don't feel free with me out of respect. Clowning breaks that wall and brings them on the same level. i never considered myself higher or superior to any one, not even an ant. i want to be with people and do my best to make them feel at ease. But my goofs and stupidity is natural.

rauf said...

Merci MARIE, je vous souhaite à tous les sourires, l'imagination et toutes les couleurs de la joie dans le monde

Hope there is no goof in this translation Marie, forgive me if there is.

rauf said...

Thank you SONIA, The world is a beautiful place to live and the people make it even more beautiful. Unfortunately there are some who bring suffering to others out of greed and vanity as they feel they are right and impose their values on the unwilling. This causes a great deal of misery in the world.

Hope you are doing fine Sonia, you are missed a lot by your readers. Hope you get back to blogging and post your stunning pictures soon.

rauf said...

Dear GWEN, In a land of plenty it is difficult for me to imagine how people are deprived of basic necessities, like food water and shelter, unless it is planned and designed by the Evil forces who seem to be powerful for thousands of years and they seem to be blessed by this Mythical God. Religion has been the main source of misery in this world. In a small piece of land those who disagree with the powerful suffer. And those who resist any imposition of values suffer as well. It has nothing to do with intelligence and skill. Thus poverty was created by religion. People survive with the dreams supplied by their faith. They fight misery.

Life offers no joy Gwen, we have to create it with ingredients supplied by nature. Body and mind is a part of the cosmos. A smile and a hug is the product of such inputs. When you take up a brush you fight the monotony of living, you take a few things nature offers in raw form and make an apple pie. What follows is a smile. That is a fight and you won Gwen. You have defeated God.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Rauf, I am dumbfounded... and speechless.. I am not worthy to be your friend...

rauf said...

Thank you JUDY, You are doing your best, bringing a smile with your flower arrangements. You may not know how many wounds you may have healed Judy, how many broken hearts you may have mended in your life with your sincere efforts. This is a fight against misery.
Valentine's day is coming and you must be very busy sending smiles to people
Happy Valentine's day Judy.

rauf said...

GWEN, Whatoo ? i am serious. Your designs bring a smile to people. You fight and you make them fight too. Wearing your work makes them feel good. You carry the fight and you win.

rauf said...

Hi PRIYA, i am in it. Though life has been kind to me. i have no personal complaints as i kept fighting all my life to remain sane. i see people suffering for no fault of theirs. Just unlucky and unfortunate accepting God's mistakes, accepting God's jokes as blessings.

rauf said...

Life cannot be confined to a definition ALOK, it just happened, you cannot find a reason nor a purpose, though we do our best to give it a meaning. There is no meaning either.

rauf said...

Oh Dear CLAUDIA ! i do not know if you are aware of the enigmatic smile on your profile picture, perhaps more enigmatic than dear Mona's. That is a fitting smile when you think of life.

rauf said...

Thank you BILL, Hope you are doing fine

rauf said...

Thank you MAN IN PAINTING

rauf said...

Hi SUDHEESH, Will to survive against all odds is a natural order. This 'will' is programmed by the process of natural selection. Human species is the most resilient of them all. They bounce back even after taking a severe beating, never give up. And the only species to repeat the blunders, you would have seen the history repeating itself. We fight to remain sane in a chaotic world, we fight to remain happy, as you say Sudheesh, no help needed. Unfortunately what you say is really happening in this world. Evil has always been powerful and greed being the driving force.

rauf said...

Hi KARIN, there are those who desperately try to cling on to youth and there are those who gracefully grow old. Lines on the face grow deeper and some take pride in them. They live with a smile, no matter what and they fight to remain happy, having nearly nothing and willing to give.
Life has treated some of my friends badly, yet they chose a way to contribute to the society. i wish them all the courage to fight and to keep smiling.

rauf said...

DARSHANA, its life itself which stops us from smiling. Life is a precious gift of nature, to be spent carefully and happily. but fate decides otherwise. some are lucky, others are not. People are not just victims of fate, they become victims of human greed. When you have a news paper in your hands, there is hardly anything there to make you smile but occasionally you'll find something that makes you smile. Human behaviour has been so violent in the past driven by hatred and intolerance caused by divisions and divisions within divisions in human society on various issues mainly religion. Things are changing now as we humans have evolve to be kind and compassionate.

One cannot smile with a fear of loss Darshana.

rauf said...

All you do is make us smile PREACHERMAN, you have problems but no worries, only smiles and laughter you generate. That is a great service to humanity, better than the sermon you hear in the Church. Keep it up dear friend. You are a real Preacher.

rauf said...

Aree BOO yenna dee ? everything came to a grinding halt for a couple of days ?? i know you would've kicked the wheels to move. Saw pictures of heavy snow in Claudia's blog. i know you are missing the smiles of strangers in India. Smiles are at such premium in Europe.
Keep yourself warm ghodee, wear a cap always.
ummmmmmmmmmmas lots of love and Hugs, missing you so much you idiot.

rauf said...

i do not know where it is MYSTIC ROSE, it is a village near Jaisalmer. Every other person you run into is an artist in Rajasthan.
No one will see their work.

You must be busy doing the interiors Mishteek, do you have anything that represents Andhra ? It will be too expensive to ship. Rajasthani Murals, Karaikudi floor tiles.
http://www.oktatabyebye.com/Travel-Ideas/Artist-villages/Karaikudi.aspx
When you come i'll take you there.
very heavy they are. Karaikudi is in TN.

hahaha i noticed the name of the website just now, its ok tata bye bye.com

Mysteek, i think you can frame a pallu of a pochampalli sari. Tight big frame for the living room.
Lots of love from me toos. and hugs to Lalitha Shivani and Vinayak.
i am writing about Lalitha in my next post.

rauf said...

Thank you CUCKOO JI, but i like being a frog in the well.

rauf said...

Yes i understand ASHI, better safe than sorry. India has many problems, Land of extremes. Of late it has become very unsafe place to visit.
Hope you are doing fine
please convey my regards to Bodil.

JoAnn's-D-Eyes said...

Dear RAUF,

Because I did not visit your blog last weeks does NOT mean that I have forgotten all about you,NO! I am so glad that your blog still exsists, with all the smiling beautifull people from you dear India. No... I did not read your undertitles, but I let myself inspre by your GREAT photography, The fantastic colours of clothes and jewelry and even the shoes/slippers are wonderfull to see.

Your photo's says more than a 1000 words all together....
I love your people and I am so sorry that I have not been able yet to visit your countrie, to see all with my own eyes... Maybe when we are older with more free time we will visit...( now we have not enough time, and even the money is NOW a problem here)

Last 8 weeks were so heavy fro me, because my sweet mom (83) was hospitallised for an Open heartsurgery, that was a terrible time, we (family) all were worried and close together, not much blogging, because reall life is all what matters. I am glad to say here that my mom is finally home now since last week,she is still very weak and a shadow of her own self. But she is alive!... Thats why I could not visit you & your blog my friend,Excuse me for that. But now I did.

There is ICE and frozen canals here and snow, you cannot imagine how that is, Nature is fantastic here, come and see my blog about Holland with your own eyes.

Best wishes from you little female RED haired friend, from HOLLAND :0) JoAnn

tulipspeaks said...

the photos were all so lovely and real depicting the real life scenario. congrats!

ammu.

Mahesh Sindbandge said...

Well rauf...i am speechless after having a glimpse of such inspiring collection of smiles.
I don't know whether there is any pint in giving comment after the count raised to 48, but it wont make me feel better if i don't appreciate someone's work that can,could make someone's day.
Good work...i wish i could be a photographer like you..

rauf said...

Hi JOANN, Nature is indeed amazing, i am in a tropical region, hardly any winter here. i get to experience snow only on my treks to the Himalayas. Now i am too old and weak to go there. i am in the south and we have only three seasons, hot hotter and the hottest. This is a hot season.

Hope your mom is recovering fast from her surgery.

rauf said...

Thank you AMMU

rauf said...

Hi MAHESH, Welcome to daylight again,
Number of comments don't matter much to me Mahesh, i look for debates on subjects i write. Everybody can take pictures now and i don't see any bad pictures in any blog. i see some brilliant blogs with no comments at all.

Its just the matter of interest. Passion has become a cheap word.
All depends on your priorities. There is no such thing called a 'good camera' All cameras are designed to take good pictures. Only the man behind the camera takes bad pictures not the camera.
i am amazed at the number of photo blogs, most of them posting wonderful pictures taken with ordinary cameras. i have three photo blogs myself, you'll find the links on the side bar. Please check Ruth, Sandy, Monsoon Dreams, Suresh - wild pic, Gwen, Claudia for some brilliant pictures.
And Thank you Mahesh.

Winnie the poohi said...

I agree to Gwen here.. in your pics I see resilience I see joy.. may be they dont know any other life..

I have same quyestions as you.. as in why ppl think pain as religion!

*sigh*

but there is always hpe in india as long as resilient ppl r around :)

Sandy said...

Wow, what a post Rauf. I savored every word and photo...! thanks for showing more life in India.

rauf said...

POOHEEE SWEET,, Thank you, sorry i missed this comment, i'll respond to this comment in my next post, its more relevant there.

rauf said...

Thank you SANDY

Marie said...

it's full of beautiful colors, and nice laughing.

RICARDO BLAUTH said...

alo rauf
I AM
ricardo blauth
FROM SOUTH BRASIL

YOU HAVE
LIVE
INSIDE YOU
THE CHILD
WHO MUST LIVE
WITH US
FORVEREVER

I BELIEVE
MY INTERIOR CHILD
WILL BE HAPPY
TO BE LIKE YOURS

wildpic said...

rauff ... what all of us take for granted needs to be regularly re-thought off, some have the luxury with time and some just scratch it off with a beautiful smile and u know where "we" stand.

i dont know why rauf, i always have trouble spelling 'religion' i so easily get mixed up.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-NB5vg7woM