Behind the doors of Essaouira

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Behind every door is a story waiting to be told.

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.

 

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A rich sailor concerned about uninvited people. The anchor, metal grills and camera security make it very alluring.

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A Family that travels a lot? Cactuses don’t need watering
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A traditional patriarch with a joint family? The intricate carvings and mosaics are very old.
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A working class family with aspirations? The randomly pieced together mosaics signals it.
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The carved wood and broad doors makes this look like a home of a rich, very inviting, large hearted family.
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A well kept summer home?
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How would they manage the rains flowing under the low lying door?
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Looks like a abandoned house. No door bulb and broken handle and grafitti right outside the entrance.

DSC_1562

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A middle class welcoming family with coffee on the stove all day long for guests?
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A wood carpenter’s workshop. Just as I guessed, the bent over man sat up and covered his face.

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An old man living alone and craving for some company over coffee and crowd spotting.

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A poor man’s workshop?
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A permanently shut workshop now housing cats.
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This was a jewish Synagogue.

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This is a hammam.
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an artist in exile? perhaps he started his gallery from his home with his very alluring door.
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An artiste’s abandoned home?

 

 

 

Birding in Pangot

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Birding in Pangot, Uttaranchal

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.

Who to bird with: Hari Lama is one of the renowned birders in the area. http://www.harilama.in.

 

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Himalayan Bluetail male
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Grey backed shrike
DSC_9832 black faced warbler
Black faced Warbler
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Yellow browed Tit
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Yellow breasted Greenfinch (male and female)
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Grey Bushchat male
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Grey Bushchat female
DSC_1029 Blue capped Redstart
Blue capped Redstart
DSC_1036 Scaly breasted Munia
Scaly breasted Munia
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Whiskered Yuhinia
DSC_1085 Green Shrike Babbler
Green Shrike Babbler
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White tailed Nuthatch
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Olive backed pipit
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Common Chifchaff
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Plumbeous Water Redstart
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Slaty Blue Flycatcher
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Grey hooded Warbler
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Whitethroated Laughingthrushes
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Eurasian jay
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Blackheaded Jay
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Golden Bush Robin
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Longtailed Shrike
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Whitebrowed shrike babbler female
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Coal Tit

Postcards from Inle lake, Myanmar

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.

 

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Fishermen on Inle lake
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Fishermen on Inle lake
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Fishermen on Inle lake
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Fishermen on Inle lake
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Fishermen on Inle lake
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Fishermen on Inle lake
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Fishermen on Inle lake
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Fishermen on Inle Lake

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What is he thinking?.. Mind-games while streetwalking in Yangon.

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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.

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When will the pink chair be occupied?
#myanmar, #travel, #travelphotography, #streets, #streetphotography, #guesswhatsonhismind, #culture, #yangon
When will I fly to Bangkok?
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Hope it tastes just like the way my mother taught me.
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This coconut is not going to fit in my bag.
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So much more left to fry…
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I have 2 secs to cross this road.
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Shouldn’t he already know what is about to happen?
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Where is Syria?
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Will she like these yellow flowers?

On why Birding is like watching a Bollywood multi-starrer and other notes

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Observations from a bird watching experience to Sattal, Uttaranchal, India Continue reading “On why Birding is like watching a Bollywood multi-starrer and other notes”

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Tasting Sunsets around the World.

Have you ever wondered if you could taste sunset, what would it actually taste like? Peaches and cream? Blueberrry smoothie with orange dressing? Orange marmalade? Continue reading “Tasting Sunsets around the World.”

Chasing Beautiful Sunrises around the World

“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”

Snacktime!

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,

Continue reading “Snacktime!”