When we were children, we had a book called 'What I Saw'. The text on each page began with 'I saw, I saw' and described a little scene in a phrase or two. The main thing about the book were the lovely two-page illustrations by Mario Miranda. Lovely.
I am telling you this because the day before,I went to Delhi and back by car. I dont have stories, but a lot of images. Here we go ,then
I saw, I saw
• People. People who to my coastal-bred and reared eyes seemed as if they had stepped out of the pages of my geography text or of Geographical magazine. Crowded in markets, on the top of tankers, on carts drawn by assorted animals, home-made vehicles, cycles and on foot.
• The DIY vehicles. These are locally known as jugad (a term that means ‘sleight of hand’). All it takes to construct them is three wheels, some wood, and a diesel generator set. All else is optional. They are used as public transport and their easy acceptance on the roads of UP and Haryana is an ode to both ingenuity and tolerance.
• A black Ibis! I saw this the first time ever. And it is a beautiful bird, with it’s little black outfit, glossy red head and flash of white beneath its wings. I like the snap too..I would have wished for better clarity, but I like the way the Ibis and the Egret balance each other- the yin and yang of paddy fields.
• A mechanic holding a greasy axle in one hand and an ice-cream cone in the other. He was eating the ice cream with child-like glee and sensuality. I could have watched him all day.
• The kanwad mela in its various forms. This is an annual pilgrimage where people come to haridwar from all across the ganga basin and take some water home to bathe the village gods with. More about this later, but here is a fotu.
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