Mani neighbors, one-room-house traditional street by first guest-come-family foreigner, Tamilnadu

Uploaded 30 Mar 2012
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© Etan Doronne
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On the evening of my second day after arriving to this rural town where I knew nobody and used no book/internet referrals ( & those are out of my sandal-strap budget anyways), I walked into a small grocery store. I looked for a pocket notebook, one of many to capture my thoughts, contacts, recommendations etc... as I go.

It was also my 3rd day on Tamil land and I haven't even geared up some local conversation starter words to disperse the language-anxiety of the occasional local I run into. But the hop seller was fluent in English.

We chatted for a while, he offered me a red plastic stool which I will spend many more wall breaking, heart opening hours on with him.

The next day he introduced me to Mr. Mani, who is a self-made anthropologist of the hill people in the nearby region. It just happened so that Mani had set his annual exhibition of artifacts, photos and other documentary efforts of his at the adjacent 'wedding hall'. As happens many times, with the excitement of a foreigner guest at a rural place and the honor one is treated with by locals, I was called to the front stage to speak at the microphone. A line of respected honnories were sited beside on white plastic chairs and I was in 'Hawaian' styled 'bathing suit' and a simple T shirt.

In the days that followed I was invited again and again to have my meals at Mr. Mani's home, got to know the family, the neighbours, went on to visit and stay over at the mountian villages, get to know their lives, screened Mani's documentaries with my projector for the neighbors and mountain villagers, photoed and video recorded daily life and functions with many and for him too.

The funny thing was, he was documenting the traditional life of the 'backword' village people, while I was doing that but at the same time fascinated with the rural life of Many and family themselves and documenting that too.

So in this photo is Karalmarks (after the communist philosopher his father, S.K Mani, adores) and the neighbor ladies which are the wife of the brick factory man which I was conversing in my better-then-Tamil Arabic, since he had worked in Gulf countries for many years.

Mani neighbors அண்டை one-room-house rural traditional street Gopi tailor and Gulf Arabic speaker by first guest-come-family foreigner Tamilnadu - Documentary feature story-JPG photo

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