This newspaper and magazine shop, operating virtually out of a hole in the wall in Bahrain’s Muharraq area, is a favourite with Asian, particularly Indian, expatriates, who are able to buy, and browse, publications in many languages. Malayalam, Tamil, Gujarati and even Punjabi, are the most sought after and sellers make a neat packet selling these on hefty premiums. But, again, no price is too much for those who love to read!
This is one of the most disturbing images of life in the higher reaches of northern India. Because of the terrain, the absence of traffic and population scattered across several hills, porters such as this one carry huge amounts of goods – from boxes, cooking gas cylinders, girders, carpets – and everything else – up the steep slopes. Modern technology does not seem to have reached many parts of this continent of a nation where a very large percentage of people survive – and thrive – on hard manual labour day after day. The picture was taken in British India’s summer capital, Shimla, one of the most scenic places in the country.
“WORK – If all wealth is gained from it, how come the wealthy never have to do it?”
This is the question I keep asking myself when I see workers toiling in unforgivable conditions.
The temperature today was 42C plus and it was unbearable to be out in the sun. Walking a few score feet to the car from the confines of our home was a Herculean task but here I see a construction worker – tired, exhausted, thirsty and hungry, looking out from within scaffolding at a building under construction.
Sadly, most such workers come thousands of miles from home in the Sub Continent to earn enough money so that their families could have a fairly comfortable existence. More sad is the fact that many of them travel across the proverbial seven seas in search of greener pastures but find themselves getting trapped in a never-ending rigmarole of bondage, debt and greed.
This picture more or less captures the blue-collared workers’ lives in this part of the world!
These large pine trees, so common in the hills of Northern India, typically thrive at high altitudes and present a beautiful ‘looking up’ sight in the summer months. Strangely, though, during winters, they are listless and droopy, perhaps shivering in extremely cold conditions and the ‘weight’ of constant snowfall. This picture was taken during an earlier summer trip to Kasauli, in Himachal Pradesh state.
The visit brought back memories of when, as college students, we trekked in the area every other month. The greatest feeling then was walking along the mountain track surrounded by these gigantic trees and their constant ‘hissing’ sound, more like a million snakes making that sound all at one time.
The other memory is that of the peculiar smell of pine, something that we now experience in aerosol room fresheners and disinfectants. But, of course, they are only memories.
If only we could turn the clock back but, as they say, there’s no rewind button on life!