Friday, November 27, 2009

the people of Rishikesh.

This post, as the title says, is about people I had conversations with during a day trip to Rishikesh. All travel is enriched by the people one meets, and this was no exception. It is sad then, that the two most important 'conversation fountains' on this trip are not shown in this post, or actually, anywhere on my blog. They are M- who has been mentioned before- and Gina D. They turned what could have been a tedious survey into a fun and productive learning experience. Thanks, people. I hope you enjoyed it as well.

The photographs here are all taken by Gina, and very nice they are too.

This woman was a traveller. She has been everywhere, she told us. Her sister-in-law? Not so much, she said, she’s a stay-at-home type. But when asked what she liked about Benares, the sister-in-law said with sparkling eyes, “There is so much life there! You can walk on the ghats till 11 at night. There are lights and people all night.” She is the one in profile below.

And then the Sadhu. Part of a focus group discussion. He looks fierce, but this is his normal conversational expression. That realization didn’t stop M from visibly cowering away from him, though. I love the pink lathi.

What did I learn there? In a chaotic world, one needs to strive for whatever balance is achievable. Even if it is just keeping ones ears absolutely level.


Zareen said...

hey beautiful, i loved this series :) gorgeous. am very interested in the focus group discussion... what did you aim to find out, how did you go about it, and how well did it go? i always find focus groups incredibly difficult to moderate alone (and alone it has to be, owing to the wretched nature of PhD research...) because if it goes well, everybody seems to want to talk at once. but apparently, none of my from-the-UK colleagues face this problem. perhaps it is endemic to India? :P
if so - did you face it as well? what did you do?

chicu said...

when you next come here,my za, you shall listen to the recording of the sadhu-wala FGD. one person is talking, one is protesting - loudly- that he will not talk (why not just shut up then?) and a third is chanting shlokas in the background. and the photos one M and i are cowering away from the sadhu, in another I seem to be accepting a pair of striped drawers that a man is offering me. heady stuff, this interviewing. but yes, this time around it went well.