Can a door to a house tell you more about the people living behind it? Can it represent a person? Can it frame the essence of the family living in it? Can it tell you a story? As I walked through the back alleys of Essaouira’s medina, I saw the the most prettiest doors to the houses, some lived in, some abandoned. It begged to me frame these few questions every time I clicked a door and helped me tell story to myself every time I sighted a pretty door.
To create the stories behind the door, one has to understand the origins of Essaouira. The city is a cultural confluence, the seamless co-existence of the old and the new. The fortified ramparts of the port city (Mogador in medieval times) and the blue moored fishing boats impart the old world charm whereas the clean well kept and cobblestoned medina is bustling with art galleries, boutiques and cafes that speaks of the modern essence of the city. The confluence is a heady mix, transporting you to an allure of an European city but pulling you back every moment with the sights and sounds of an Arabic city, be it with delicacies lining the streets or the soothing prayers playing over the loudspeakers of a few mosques’ dotting the medina. The hues of blue and white of the medina makes it an unmistakable fishing/ port town. Be it with the blue fishing boats moored on the port or the blue doors set against white limestone washed walls, the city is all blue and white – calming and relaxing.
As I let my imagination run wild, below are some of the stories that popped in my head when I saw these doors. Behind every door was a story waiting to be told.
Pangot is one of the best places to do birding and is a birdwatcher’s paradise. The place has almost 250 species of birds, both resident and the migratory birds that come here. The best season for bird watching is from Nov-Mar.
How to get there: Pangot is about 15-20kms from Nainital.
Inle Lake is nestled in the Shan Plateau, surrounded by hills and home to the Intha people, as well as some Shan, Taungyo, Pa-o and Danu ethnicities. One of the most iconic features of Inle lake are the fishermen who have an unusual technique of rowing their boats using their feet. Wearing traditional wide trousers, shirts and conical hats, the fishermen have become an iconic sight at the lake. Carefully balancing themselves on one feet, they row the boats with their other leg wrapped around a paddle oar. They carry a huge conical net which they use to trap the fish and occasionally spear them through the opening on top of these nets. The locals are devout Buddhists who live in simple houses of wood and woven bamboo, raised above the lake water on stilts. Though the primary occupation is fishing, there are farmers as well who grow their produce on floating gardens made of grass and seaweed which is just so amazing to see.
Thoughts while crowd-watching the evening humdrum of Yangon, Myanmar
There is no other better way to immerse yourself in a new city than something which does not involve spending long hours walking the busiest streets and watching the locals. Streetwalking gives you an inside view of the culture as you watch the locals get on with their daily lives. You are just a mute spectator, with the fortune to witness a part of the lives of people going by. As you feel the drama of the scene presented in front of you, you stop to imagine and concoct stories in your head. As you absorb the culture, sight, sounds and aroma, questions starting forming your head: What must that person selling the fruits be like? Will he go back to a family to have dinner? When did he come to the city? What are his dreams for his kids? What would be his favourite fruit? You are transported to this exciting world where the lines between reality and imagination begin to blur. You are in the moment, witnessing, assessing, absorbing and judging all the drama in front of you and yet in a parallel world you are curious, imaginative and telling stories to yourself. It is not without a doubt, my favourite pastime when I travel. After all when can I be a receptive, curious, imaginative storyteller. More imaginatively, the game I play in my own head is: What is he/ she thinking? Absorb the scene and form a thought bubble of the protagonist. Be curious. Tell stories.
“The morning always has a way of creeping up on me and peeking in my bedroom windows. The sunrise is such a pervert.” ― Jarod Kintz.
There is something to the warm rays of sunrise, illuminating the world at dawn, that makes me look at this cyclical and permanent process in nature with a sense of deep wonderment. At dawn, the darkness that envelopes life at night tussles with the impending sunlight for a brief few minutes, Continue reading “Chasing Beautiful Sunrises around the World”→
Got these mid-air shots of seabirds aboard a ferry to Elephanta caves, near Mumbai, India. These seabirds fly with the ferry & tourists sometimes throw food at them, which these birds catch mid-air. Sometimes,