Dark red

hands_powder_india

You open the door of the airport cab and boom! The heat, the screaming voices, the chaotic horns, the smile of the vendor already asking you if you buy one of his wonderful hand drums even before you set one foot onto the ground. All this and much more is right there, the first second you arrive in India and you know exactly why you are back. Because it is what it is. And it is a lot. India is hundreds of thousands of things. There are smiles and stares. There are bustling and shouting human beings running through narrow streets, where cows stand in grace and silence, simply taking their time to ruminate. They are holi but what’s in their stomach is most probably evil. Beside the trucks blowing their horns, there is the frail tintinnabulation of a prayer bell. When you step out of the tempel your nose is filled with the fragrances of flowers and incense sticks and just one second later the stinky garbage at the roadside is there to hunt the fragrances away. The chai is as sweet as some laws are sour.
Everything seems to have two extremes but the colors. Bright colors everywhere. Shining happy fabrics. Blue houses. Red Hair. Pink flowers. Yellow bangles. Purple Saris. Orange turbans. Strong. Dark. Firm. Solid. Colors. Everywhere.
If ever one has to find a transcription for India, a little jar of dark red powder would probably do best. Color. Passion. Sheer joy of life, tousend of little particles jammed together, fighting their way up to the top, waiting for the right moment to jump out – pounce at a the arriving ones and then stick with them forever. India gets into your clothes, into your hair and skin and somehow you can’t wash it off anymore. Some parts will always be there with you. For good.

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Doors – openings to a new world

Doors - opening up to a new world

I remember it well, maybe too well. This one phone conversation with a person then very close to me. The conversation took place on a secret mobile phone and the number changed every few weeks. Whenever the SIM card had been discovered by the guards it took a few days until a new card was available. I called someone who was a new inmate in an Indian prison. The phone was the door for the people in prison to the outside world and for me the door into the absurd world of this spares cell, where 25 men were kept in a room together, where they ate pumpkin curry each day and had nothing to do all day long. When I called I never knew who would pick up the phone, because the men shared a phone. Was it a killer or an innocent person talking to me, before passing the phone to the one I wanted to talk to? I never asked about the life of these other people, did not open these doors to these lives – probably in self-defense. I do not know exactly.

“Wherever you are right now, is the door open? Can you get out? ” During this exact conversation he repeated these phrases every few minutes. Eventually, I could not listen to it anymore and hung up with an excuse. “Wherever you are right now, is the door open? Can you get out?” It tore my heart, because him being locked up not only kept us away from each other, far more it also kept him away from himself. The constantly repeated questions showed how he broke behind this thick door which was locked several times. A door neither of us was able to open. It stayed closed. For another three years and finally also made me close a door that I had opened two years earlier.

Since the day I had had this conversation I like open doors much more – they symbolize a new beginning, a step into something new and unknown. Open doors let the sun in and people out.

The door on the picture belongs to the Nyingma Monastery Namdroling, the Buddhist monastery in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India. For refugees from Tibet it is a gateway back to their homeland, while the borders with Tibet will most probably stay closed for another countless years.
While some doors close or stay closed, luckily others are opening up. We have to be willing to see them and pass through.
So did I and hopefully so did he.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Door.”

NB: My English is in progress –  if you see mistakes feel free to send me a note. Thanks!

Orange

camel_fair_orange

“The color psychology of orange is optimistic and uplifting, rejuvenating our spirit. In fact orange is so optimistic and uplifting that we should all find ways to use it in our everyday life, even if it is just an orange colored pen that we use.

Orange brings spontaneity and a positive outlook on life and is a great color to use during tough economic times, keeping us motivated and helping us to look on the bright side of life.”

Let orange cheer up your monday!

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Orange you glad it’s photo challenge time?.”

Shot in Puskhar, India, at the camel fair.

Indian Women

grannyindi_woman_newproud indi_woman2  wildladies

The most beautiful thing a woman can wear is confidence.

It’s international woman’s day today.
I watched the heavy discussed BBC documentary “India’s daughter” yesterday and I am once again shocked by the viewpoints of certain Indian men about woman. We have the year 2015 and they still point out that a girl is more responsible for rape than a boy! It makes me dedicate todays post to India’s wonderful woman.

“Society makes you feel cheap. I chose not to feel like a victim. I am not a victim. I am a survivor. I speak about it with a lot of pride, because I am proud of what I have become today. I have not done a mistake. I don’t want my face to be blurred. I am not to be ashamed for. The guys that have done it should be hiding their faces and they should be blurring their faces.”
Woman rights activist Sunitha Krishnan

I wish for all the Indian woman that things change, that their voices are heard and that confidencen is given to each and every little girl born in this country.

Here are some links to the issue:

http://www.thehindu.com/sunday-anchor/the-elusive-quest-for-freedom/article6969955.ece

http://www.thehindu.com/sunday-anchor/no-country-for-women/article6969953.ece?ref=sliderNews

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/may/24/india-families-aborting-girl-babies

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/nov/23/india-gender

And finally an NGO that works for woman: http://www.prajwalaindia.com/home.html

Daydreaming

daydreaming

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”

John Lennon

Shot on the road towards Himachal Pradesh, India. This young boy belongs to a group of workers. They fixed parts of the road. While taking a short break from exhausting work, there was this expression on his face which made me pick up my camera. What is he dreaming about?

This post ist part of the weekly photochallenge.