Monday, November 5, 2012

My Kutch Friends

We have just spent two and a half action packed days in Kutch, and the principal town of Bhuj. Being my third trip here, the absolute highlights for me were visiting those I met on my previous trips, but particularly those from the last. As I knew I was returning I printed some photos of my previous trip, and all of those from the Jat village, but a few others, mainly of my chai friend Jay, a silversmith from Bhuj, his father and sister working in their shop. On our first evening I dropped into the silversmith shop and was met with great enthusiasm by his father, with Jay arriving soon. They are such a nice family, I used to see Jay every morning around 7am at the chai stall where I frequented after practice, alway having a brief chat over the delicious chai. I bought several pairs of earrings last trip and this time got them to make me a necklace, which would be ready the day of our departure.

I was also delighted to meet with my young embroidery teacher Ganga and her father, who also seemed genuinely happy to see me. It was a shame the rest of the family were not home, and although we were running late, I still convinced Bharat that we must stay for tea as Jemal, Ganga's dad seemed disappointed when I said we couldn't stay. It was a lovely if quick visit, but again made me so happy to see them. I had taken and printed lots of photos of the family last trip, and I was most disappointed Bharat had not passed them on. Two years have passed so he got in big trouble from me, and I think Jemal was a little miffed too.

The following day we went to the Jat village - it is a long way off the beaten track, but I was really keen to go back. It really stuck in my mind from my last trip to the region, mostly as the people here had so much spirit and so little material wealth, and I suspect food is hard come by. I took many photos here on that trip, and one in particular is my all time favorite, I call it "Jat Man". But all the photos were great and I was determined to bring them back and give them to the people if we could find them. Bharat looked at the photos and knew where to find one of the ladies who was the subject of quite a few, and from whom I bought some embroidery. As we rounded the corner, there she was as she was three years previous, sitting in the same spot, in nearly the same clothes, and doing her embroidery work. I approached her, took out the photos and handed them to her. The joy in her eyes was a delight, and we were soon joined by quite a few other women, looking at the photos, laughing and chatting, pointing and naming the subjects of the snaps. One young woman came to look, and I recognised her from another photo. But most importantly I asked Bharat to enquire about Jat Man, and he told me that they knew him and where he lived. We walked down a neighbouring dusty lane and into another family compound, Bharat calling his name. A man looking perplexed appeared in the doorway of a modest little house, and as he moved from the dark surrounds I could see it was him. I was so excited to see him, he on the other hand looked confused at me handing him some papers, until he saw his face in the top picture. He too looked so delighted, but not as much as me. He invited us to have some tea, again these people have little but are willing to share. I met his brothers and his son soon appeared, he too in some of the snaps I had given over, looking quite a lot older than those earlier ones where he was very young, nestled against his father. Again I took lots of photos but I know despite his striking, handsome features, I could never replicate or improve upon my first "Jat Man" photo. An outstanding day with so many highlights, none more than seeing my Jat Man.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Bhuj, Kutch

1 comment:

  1. What a great post! Loved hearing about all your past photographic subjects. They sounded like they got a real kick out of it
    Ps Hope you weren't shat on for nothing ;-))