Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

I'll be grateful if you...

Aug 10, 2015

STILL LIFE: The Other Side...

In the early nineties, I stayed in the middle of a deep forest in Nepal, on my first job as site engineer, making a bridge across a river. Those years, spent in the lap of nature, pushed me towards a fascinating lifelong journey of wildlife appreciation. In that period most of my evenings were spent looking for the birds up on the trees and wild life on the ground and this passion lingered on. So, whenever I am in Delhi, its become a kind of ritual to a take time out from work and visit the bird sanctuary across the Noida Highway from my house in Mayur Vihar and try to spot kingfishers, Duck bills, pond herons and Nilgais etc. On the way back from one such visit, I happen to pass along a small construction labourers settlement on the banks of Yamuna River, as the beautiful Sun prepared to 'set' on the high-rise modern Delhi. 

THE OTHER SIDE the story of the joy and hope, these families with little possessions and limited needs, are able to bring into their own life . How the happiness is not a fallout of wealth but about the contentment of being loved by family, friends and community. How the beauty of life is not in the expensive clothes that you wear, the fancy food that you eat in high class restaurants or the villa you live in, but it is all around us, in nature, in the wild flower or in the child that's playing in the dirt, only if we are able to stop for a while and close all the chaos of day to day living and open our minds to see the beauty of being simple and aware.

As we stopped near the settlement, took out my camera to capture the sunset, there was enquiring looks from the families around us. I was surprised to feel that even as total strangers, me and my friend were not looked upon suspiciously by those children and their family... 

...but as a welcome break into their life as the kids happily played around and the elders engaged me in a discussion about their ways of life. This is their story and mine as the sun set down to watch over their happiness, with few glasses of hot tea, thrown in. 

So here is 'The Other Side' of life.. through some of the images I captured on an evening, exploring happiness.

The cluster of make shift homes, with a community cooking in middle
And the usual life that goes on, in and around the place...

But then if you look closely... you will find beauty all around. This small tributary to Yamuna river, though people call it with different names and has not much respect because of the thousands of sewers that drown its toxic waste in the river. It is hard to believe this river has been loved by Krishna since eons. Just next to this settlement, there's a boat moored among lush green foliage and a tree, that has little altar of goods Durga. The area feels like a little grove of fun, giving simple pleasure to the kids of the settlement.

Such simple joys are hard to come by in the concrete jungle that we live in all the time, mired by the day to day toxic waste of worries, survival and needs...

However, having said that, there are of course challenges to overcome and get out of the poverty line and join in to those shining Delhi Development Authority JJ Colonies etc. But does it really makes a difference to one's life if there are no needs beyond simplicity and within our means and little aspirations?

So why not enjoy what we have and what we can. Share moments of fun with Best Friends Forever, as this girl and the boys requested me to take their picture with their friends.

Because at the end of the day, a beautiful life is not made by needs, desires and daydreams but by togetherness, love and family.

I enjoyed what these hours by being alive to the beauty of life around me, had an amazing sunset, a great time with kids and memories that will last a life time...

...and as the all the kids said in one voice and jumped... Hip, Hip Hurray!

Hope you enjoyed the life on 'The Other Side' as much as I did.... It will be a pleasure to hear your thoughts about it, please do leave me a message.
ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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