Monday, February 02, 2009



Marguerite Donnadieu, better known as Marguerite Duras, wrote the marvelous "India Song". Later she directed a film based on the book. It's a story of a love lived in India in the 1930s, while everything outside seemed to be in terrible chaos and disaster! This post is a very peculiar one, intended to be a homage to all those who live and work in India, in particular to our drivers, who contributed in an exceptional way to make this trip to India an unforgettable lifetime event!


Traffic in India is known to be somehow chaotic. The first post of this series was specially touched by the experience of running through Old Delhi on a Saturday afternoon. Part of what we saw on the roads when we left Delhi is what will be posted here. Starting with people...

"PEOPLE - One of the first impressions you have in India is that it's crowded. There are people everywhere, and the roads are no exception. Accordingly, any way is good to travel..."







"TOLL - Sometimes you cross toll stations, pay the fee, but that doesn't mean that things are definitely going to be different, and some events may surprise you..."


Moving on, one finds animals...

"DROMEDARIES - Our driver's comment was: «India is the country where the ZOO moved to the road», even for Police patrol..."






"PIGS and everything else when you get closer to towns and villages..."


Places to stop...

"MOTELS -There are some better than others, as everywhere else in the world!"


Places to pray...




Villages to cross...






Sometimes it's a bit hard to find your way...



Sometimes there are accidents...



Sometimes it's quite odd...



But, at the end of the road, there is beauty...



Anonymous said...

Hi everybody! To get to the roads in India it’s a happening, in particular to Westerners’ eyes. One sees things that isn’t (probably) expecting and that may contribute to confirm some established ideas on the matter. However, if one just avoids any prejudice, the experience is highly rewarding: understanding different cultures, habits and traditions can only help to improve our way of life! And Acceptance is definitely a great Value of a non-judgmental attitude... Have a great week!!

Venksh said...

Gil nice picture's again. the tradition of using animals for ur work is still there good that u covered all those things..

Gil check out this blog

Most of the famous India tourist spot is covered nice picture n stuff...


Z said...

The monkeys: the monkeys really got me!

Marie said...

Hello GMG, I am sorry for being such a bad blogger friend for the moment. I like the photos with the animals and the flowers. But I'd better visit other cities in India :-)))

PeterParis said...

Wonderful!! I guess I even prefer this India to the temples.

It reminds me of some car travelling in Vietnam (in the "Marguerite Duras area"), where our driver lost (temporarily) his licence for speeding at 37 km/h.

Thanks for your comments on my blog regarding long messages. You are right, let's continue! :-)

lyliane six said...

Très original et amusant ton post.
On se plaint toujours des embouteillages autour de l'arc de triomphe! les parisiens devraient aller dans ces pays pour voir la circulation!!
J'ai vu aussi en Égypte, au Maroc(des fois à 5 sur une mobylette!)et au Pérou, quel "bazar", mais je n'ai jamais vu autant d'animaux dans les rues!
Je retourne regarder de plus près les détails de tes formidables photos.

alicesg said...

I enjoyed looking at your photos of the daily scene in India. Very interesting and entertaining. I think it takes a lot of skills to hang outside the bus. All kinds of transport on the road, it looked very interesting. Thank you once again for sharing these photos.

Mariposa said...

I love your summary! nicely presented =)

indicaspecies said...

It is a different picture of India beyond the royalty and regalia of the past shown in your previous posts. Your comment here does summarise the meaning behind these pictures.

As aptly described by someone (if I recall well, on your own blog by another reader) even in this chaos there is order..what do you say?;)

Irina said...

Oh, India actually IS over-crowded! :)
But temples are beautiful. And I loved your story of that country.

Cutie said...

Indians have some unique ways in travelling and they really packed themselves up in one vehicle. You should see the way they travel in trains. They sandwiched one another and even stand on the side of the outer part of the train.

Thérèse said...

I haven't seen the movie but I am glad to see another side of India here: no trace of colonialism!

Olivier said...

première série avec les portraits et les instantanés de la rue, j'aime beaucoup

Marguerite-marie said...

j'adore et je reviendrai comme d'habitude car ce post est encore bien riche instantanés de la vie quotidienne je vais te dire quand même que j'ai beaucoup aimé la femme et sa machine à coudre, les singes sur la façade . à suivre...merci

Anonymous said...

Trotter, I just finished browsing through your India series pictures. It is so interesting to see a third party view of your mother country! I missed India as soon as I saw the pictures. Roads may seem chaotic, but there is beauty there in its own way. Thanks for the pictures!

Daniela Valdez said...

Woooow, those pics are awesome!

Miss Kim said...

Camels!!??? OMG! How funny!

But a wonderful country for photographers eh?

Anonymous said...

It seems you don't need for a tour guide here, riding a cab is already an ADVENTURE in itself. India is definitely a real eye-opening experience.

I watched a movie recently titled "Slumdog Millionaire", a very exciting story set and filmed in India.

Light and Voices said...

Thanks for the tour to show us how the folks really get around in India. Love the place! I hope to see India someday.

NormanTheDoxie said...

This does NOT look anything like New York

Shionge said...

Imagine seeing human & animals competing on the road, so chaotic but somehow I know they have a system to nagivate ya.

Did you enjoy the food there?

Lara said...

what a country - so many constrsts!

Voegtli said...

I read a lot about India, I have heard a lot about India, I have seen a lot about India and I never went to India. But the spot "Incredible India" on CNN might just make that I will go to India, one day.

Ash said...

I must say I truly enjoyed these pictures....Brilliant captures!!

Thank you so much for sharing :-)

Azer Mantessa said...

"at the end of the road, there is beauty"


ooo man ... to me, no matter what ... this is the best posting ever. it covers so many things. simply awesome!

without doubt, it's a true mixture of traditional, modern ... i don't know ... too many things in the mix ... simply awesome!!!

Anonymous said...

All wonderful photographs. There are so many contrasts there!
Very nice the view of the temples and the images of everyday's life.
Have a good week ahead!

JO said...

WOW! What adventures lie in India - Looks like such a fun place to visit... I loved your monkey shot - you caught them being mischievious - which is GREAT! I like the pics of all the animals everywhere and I especially liked the woman working on her sewing outside. Very cool post.

Anonymous said...

The pictures are very well captured. I am in India and I still miss my city. And these are so common scenes that we fail to see the beauty that you've captured.

Thanks for sharing.

Beefybob7 said...

Great post Gil!

People and animals sharing life.
Great shot of that guy's bum?


Maria Verivaki said...

wow, talk about busy!great post today, GMG

Femin Susan said...

lovely piece! and super cute photograph.......

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

Hi Gil,
Sorry that i di not visiting, ( I explain under this post why) wich doesn't mean that I am NOT interested because I am, although I think that INDIA is a pretty countrie but yee the food and roads.... that could be better, for photography its a wallhallah to be!!!

You made great shots, the goat looks almost like a "drunk dog", I m,ean by that that the goat is halfwet/dry and his tail..... wahta happened with that?? You don't have to go to a circus, for seeing animals in india hahah! Well ... I have visited your blog now, I always like it GIL:)

( did you know that my mom was for 7 weeks in hospital? We wiill very woories that she might die...therefore I said SORRY on my blog already , I could not visit much blogs... Sorry, but you might understand now why?)

JoAnnn's D Eyes /HOLLAN

Tinsie said...

These photos are amazing! I enjoy them more than the building photos :-)

99 said...

I love the colors and the animals in the streets! Full of Eros and Thanatos...
My favorite is the potatoes accident...

(Eu prometi a voce que ia a voltar e aqui estou meu amigo, passe bem)

Lakshmi said...

I loved the must do an exhibition of the pics quite something that Ive missed and yours is the first blog Im seeing after more than 15 days ..

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Oh yes.....traffic can be very very chaotic most of the times....and one should know the art of dodging the 'bullets'....... thanks for a great description and a wonderful end

Joy said...

As a visitor, I'm sure I'll find it all amusing. But this would drive me mad if I had to live there! I've had enough madness for one lifetime :D

Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comments.

A Pinay In England
Your Love Coach
I, Woman

Chuckeroon said...

...the real India. I think I can put up with most of it, but don't force the monkeys onto me!!!

Good try, Trotter......fortunately a happy ending, as you said ;-)

I certainly count my Indian trip as one of the most important for me.

Indrani said...

Hmm... what do I say?... good? bad? ugly? But then as you said: "Acceptance is definitely a great Value of a non-judgmental attitude"

You have captured the routine life of people and places of India very well. Did you enjoy touring India amidst all this?

Ron said...

Very interesting pictures. This is how I imagined India would look like in my head. I am definately intrigued by your lens.

I will be back updating my blog shortly. I was just celebrating the big Super Bowl victory by the Steelers.

Stella Bella said...

I definitely want to check it out there! :D It looks so interesting and very different to anywhere in the world.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting to see. I think I will never go there but at least I can get a glimpse on it through your photos.

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

And I thought Manila was chaotic. But this one takes the cake...

freefalling said...

Love this post.
So wonderful to see a country so different from my own.
Fantastic, interesting photos.

bindu said...

You've captured the general mood and bustle of India's roads very well in your set of pictures!

Vamsee Modugula said...

This is exactly what i would expect to see in India. Great job.

Cergie said...

Bonjour Gil, il y avait longtemps que tu n'étais passé me faire un petit coucou sur Cergipontin : depuis le jour de l'an du buffle exactement qui est ton signe ; et moi je t'ai rendu alors ta visite. Pardonne moi, j'attends que tu passes pour m'inviter à passer boire le thé chez toi et regarder tes photos. C'est plus facile ainsi, je trouve que c'est dans l'ordre des choses car tu es un homme et tu publies plus irrégulièrement que moi.
De plus tu as des messages beaucoup plus longs que moi à lire et à commenter.

Tu dis ici qu'on finit en beauté, mais tout est beauté sur ce message ; même le temps gris, je trouve, enveloppe les choses, les animaux et les gens de poésie....

Anonymous said...

I don't think I could have captured our streets better! Great pics!

My Unfinished Life said...

all the westerners say the same thing crowds and so chaos...but i say havent you read the chaos theory..within chaos lies serenity!!...

raccoonlover1963/Lisa Myers said...

Hi Gil.
Great pics as always. I don't think that it's a place I would want to visit though. I love the last picture. It's much more peaceful looking.
Have a great weekend.

Lori said...

I'm amazed by these photos and the colorful sights of India. What a visit you must have had! I love all the different animals, especially that camel who looks like he is letting out a shout. Sometimes you can tell the people were looking back at you when you took their pictures. These are fascinating photos!!

lv2scpbk said...

It amazes me sometimes how wonderfully made some statues are and what they come up with.

The girl with the big head piece looks like it maybe heavy. I like the colors on her dress.

I love elephants. I just read the book, "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen and it's a great read if you ever get the chance to read it.

Dawning One said...

the zoo has indeed moved to the road!

Baron's Life said...

You've captured it all...The pedestrians, the cars, the buses, the lorries, the trucks, the bicycles, the cows, the ram, the busy life and the calm...and all going at what seems like 100 miles an hour but in reality just at the normal speed of life.
Bravo...C'est formidable!

Anonymous said...

Hi Folks! Thanks for your visits and comments. I must confess, however, that I was a bit surprised to see that no one made a specific comment on the open air water closet; that’s what happens when the posts are too long and with too many pictures... ;) Anyhow, this one was special; hope you forgive me...

That’s an amazing experience to see the whole Zoo on the roads... I’ve checked the website: wonderful pictures!!

Monkeys everywhere, mostly in the cities...

This is my only post on India which isn’t directly dealing with a city... You’ll have plenty of other posts to enjoy cities... ;))

This is closer to the view that Westerners have of India; it’s also part of it, but it’s not the only thing one finds there as you have seen and I’ll show in the next posts...
37km/hour is a nice average on Indian roads; well, maybe a little more – 50km/Hour outside the main cities... ;)

Ah, les plaintes des Parisiens... c’est connu partout... à l’étranger sont les frites que ne sont pas bonnes, le steak que n’est pas saignant… Alors, à Paris, c’est le trafic! M. Hulot est toujours là? ;))

Alice SG,
Lots of skill is needed to travel outside: buses, trains... whatever! But that’s a common scene… ;))

Glad you enjoyed!

You caught the meaning of this post superbly: actually a homage! And it’s true that the chaos always incorporates something of an order. At least according to the theory it isn’t random. That’s the key for survival… ;)

It’s crowded, indeed, but with enough beauty for everyone… ;)

Those trains are famous, but have you ever experienced the Tokyo Underground at rush hour? That is the closest definition I have for travelling packed… ;))

That was the intention; no trace at all…

Vraiment c’est la seule série dédiée aux routes; le reste sera plutôt la beauté traditionnelle… ;)

La femme et sa machine type Singer (aussi avec l’homme qui était à la «open-air toilet») était une des instantanés le plus charmants que j’ai réussi, me semble-t-il…

Thanks! It’s quite a compliment when you say you missed your country just by seeing my pictures…

Great pleasure to read you here!

Dromedaries, actually: camels have two humps… ;))

Asian Traveler,
An eye-opening experience indeed! I intended to see it this weekend; let’s see if I manage to get to the movies tomorrow…

I’m sure you will. It’s truly incredible, as the publicity doesn’t cease to show on TV. Incredible India!!

True; there is much more world outside New York, though New York is a World in itself… ;))

They have some kind of peculiar GPS adapted to the peculiar road conditions… ;))
I adore Indian food; in India, in Lisbon or elsewhere… ;))

Contrasts; that’s the least we can say!!

I’m sure you will. But for someone used to Khartoum, I don’t think the roads will be any surprise… ;)

Thanks! Any word from you is a compliment!

This is the post that took me more time to prepare; the choice of the pictures and of the words to put on it. I’m glad to see that it ended up quite well, at least to see from the overall reaction of the comments here…

Everyday’s life might be tough, but there is always hope at the end of the road!!

I knew it was an interesting place to visit; now I know it’s a must see place! Mischievous monkeys? Just by accident… But the woman with the «Singer» type sewing machine was intentional… ;)

Thanks! You got it as I wished everybody did!!!

I thought you were going to notice the open-air WC… ;)), but you just found out the hard worker… ;))

Busy for sure. The post was prepared some weeks ago and took some time to be put together… ;))

Thanks for your first comment here. Great pleasure to read you here!!

It’s always great to read you here, so I come whenever you can!!
As for the food, I tell that Indian food is perfectly OK! At least I adore it… But I also adore Portuguese, French, Italian, Chinese food… Well the problem is that I always experience local food; and I usually like it… that’s why there is no way to lose some weight… ;))
I left a message on your blog regarding your Mom some weeks ago. Hope everything is going better now!!

That means that I’ve to balance my posts; but I usually don’t take much pictures of people on the streets; some kind of self-restraint… ;)

Obrigadop pela visita e pelo comentário!
Eros and Thanatos, that makes sense on Indian roads… ;))

Great to see you back to the blogosphere, and I hope your father is ok now!
Well, let’s assume that the posts are already some kind of exhibition… ;)

One of the most amazing features of the roads in India was the «Please Horn» sign on all trucks. Unfortunately couldn’t get any decent picture of any of those…

I’m sure you would resist, strong as you are! It wouldn’t happen to you what happened to those described in the book «Les Fous de l’Inde» (crazy about India)… ;))

Glad to see that you feel comfortable with this one… ;))

It was a perfect experience! And I’ll return as soon as I can… I hoped that the post would transmit that feeling to everyone seeing it… ;)

This one is closer to the traditional vision of what people think about India; but it’s supposed to be seen with eyes open… ;)
Can imagine what you suffered until the final seconds of the match… ;)

Different from everything, you may be sure; and you’re not that far, so better start packing!!

Never say never!!

Piece of cake… ;)) though I got there after a typhoon and everything was half flooded…

Fantastic to see you back here! Hope everything is fine!!

I tried! If you say I achieved, that’s very kind of you…

Expected, but with a peculiar beauty on it…

Excuse-moi mais ce n’est pas toujours facile de trouver le temps pour faire le tour! Mais, c’est promis: chaque fois qu’il y aura du nouveau, je passe pour laisser «l’Invitation au Voyage» ou, si tu préfères, «L’Invitation à la Dance»… ;)
Tu as raison. Tout est beauté: il ne faut que les yeux ouverts…

Thanks! That’s quite a compliment!!

Shooting Star,
I’m not sure this post could be classified as the views of «all the… » ;))
And, according to the theory, chaos is not linked with serenity, but with order, the opposite of random… ;))

Just pay some attention to the previous posts and to the next to come and maybe your views on visiting it or not may change… ;))

The colours are impressive, and we’ll see it better in Rajasthan! As for the dromedary shouting, no wonder: it was working for the police… ;))

I wonder which girl you are talking about… ;)
José Saramago, the Portuguese Nobel-Prize writer, just published a book - "The Elephant's Journey" -, based on the real-life epic journey of an Indian elephant named Solomon who travelled from Lisbon to Vienna in the 16th century... You might like it; it’s an amazing story!!

Dawning One,

Thanks! Normal speed of life, that’s it!

Emery Roth said...

Terrific to get a glimpse of everyday life in this and the next post. Lovely shots and now my mouth is watering for Sag Gosht.

Anonymous said...

Sag Gosht was on the first post, at Karim's... ;))

adelynne said...

this post made me laugh SO HARD :D so many funny pictures, hehehehehe! i love that one titled open-air closet, while the one where it says "the zoo moved to the road" made me laugh so freaking loud. :D HAHAHAH :D the animals are very cute in a funny way! this is why india is so chaotic. i don't think i can live in india, only because i don't like crowded places. but i think india is superbly colourful. i loved this post a lot, gil!

Anonymous said...

It definitely has a special charm... but sometimes it's quite hard to keep the right attitude... ;)

Marie-Noyale said...

This post was a very good idea.
It gives exactly the feeling of what is visiting India...
A crowd of People ,a crowd of memories...

Anonymous said...

You're entirely right; in particular with the crowd of memories. Unforgettable...

A Lady's Life said...

Real people, real lives, real animals.
Thats what its all about.

Trotter said...

This one is one of my favourite posts on India!!