Having chased tigers unsuccessfully in tiger reserves across India , Sunderbans is the last place where I expect to see the elusive cat. Tiger sightings are the rarest in Sunderbans. Even the guides mark it as a special event on their calendar if they happen to site a tiger. Its easy to see why.
It can be pretty cheesy doing the usual exotic activities a country is famous for. Riding a reindeer sledge in the Arctic a la Santa is certainly one such. Its almost like jumping onto a bullock cart or a rickshaw ride in India. But Reindeer Sledging is something much more. No matter how old you are you cannot help but think of partaking in a Christmas legend you grew up reading through school.
If you are want to make a killing like this man in the picture all you need is one sloppy Lonely Planet writer. The immensely popular travel guide prides itself in employing `credible and unbiased writers’. But every once in a while these travel-weary journos slip up . Ram Kishen ( The man in the picture above) is a man who is making a killing because of one such writerly error of judgement.
They also danced during mehndi in the lawns and during the all-female functions. In one such mesmerizing dance they held each others hands and spun around like tops at great speeds. Until then I had thought this feat could be possible only in the Bollywood movies.
Imagine a man thinking of making a 347 room luxurious villa for himself out of the misery of the people he is supposed to serve. Surprisingly the Maharaja is glorified to this day for this `noble’ gesture. Today Umaid Bhawan Palace is divided between a luxury hotel , a museum and the residence of the Maharajas’s successors. It still remains the largest private residence in the world.
I believe Indian women are beautiful. And they are beautiful the way they are and the way they have been down the ages- unapologetically full-bodied and far from the curse of anorexia. But unfortunately, the aesthetics of the female body is often determined by a clique in the fashion industry.
Next day was the main wedding ceremony and i witnessed many new rituals. There was one where the mother-in-law literally drags the groom inside the wedding venue by the hem of his headgear. However the highpoint for me was my shoot with the newly weds on a boat on the Brahmaputra. We hired a boat early in the morning. It was misty all around and that lent a great atmosphere to the photographs. We sailed for over an hour on the mighty river to a small island where we stopped to take in the view and the photos.