Feature Story

Mani street

Mani neighbors, one-room-house traditional street by first guest-come-family foreigner, Tamilnadu
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Well jumping, village swimming pool பாசனம் ஆழ்குழாய் நீச்ச
It's a boy ! - Khol / Kajal makes an infant into a Drishti Bommai  काजल கண் மை
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Preparing Indian food, Tamil kitchen रसोई भोजन சமையல் உணவு
Murugan Vel Kavadi function in a mountain village of northern Tamilnadu, India
Improvised sledge toy they created from straw vines and stones -Tamil Nadu, India
Grand- Grand mother preparing pan masala
'Mani' street

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 shop seller was fluent in English.

We chatted for a while, he offered me a red plastic stool on which I will be enjoying many more wall-breaking, heart-opening hours with him. And... join him to the college where he, Dr. Govindaraju is the secretary

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 neighbors, went on to stay over with family relatives at their native villages around town and up winding roads to mountain people and 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 Mani and for him too.

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

Each photo here has a story, click anyone that makes you curious and find out...

With Meta to all my beloved friends so many miles away.

My India: Where every village is home - Experience !

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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2 responses

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh (Deleted) said (31 Mar 2012):

    Nice story! I go to India every yr. & love the people possibilities & color, color, color!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (2 Apr 2012):

    really nice!!! vote.........

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