Monday, October 5, 2015

Up, up and away...

The photographs are courtesy my husband, Sanjoy. An avid traveller, he also takes pictures as a hobby. These are his thoughts penned by me.

People don’t do this where I come from. They don’t go backpacking around South East Asia and they don’t go chasing lost civilisations across the atlas. The reasons for this are many and complex, to sum it up it is simply not in our culture.
The photographer at Huen Tsang Temple. Sun Moon Lake, Nantou District, Taiwan

I have been living away from home for far too long and the novelty, maybe, of luxurious resorts and touristy locales have lost their charm to me. I wish I could say I did everything I ever wanted to do, but that would be untrue. I only got to fulfil a small fraction of the dreams I held, and in an ironic way, it seems that as I go about ticking things off my ‘bucket’ list, I add up more and more at its end. It is wonderfully addictive, in a very fulfilling, worthwhile sort of way! And although my ‘bucket list’ is now, four years later, much longer than when I started, that is because such experiences change you in your very core, teach you things about yourself, your abilities and desires you had no way of ever knowing before. I consider myself privileged and feel extremely thankful for everything that led me to the eye-opening experiences I had, the people I met and all the marvellously diverse things I learnt from them.

A photograph captures not only a snapshot in its best light, but it also captures memories of the grains that come off the temple walls on my fingertips as I trace the etchings, the Buddha face, the teeth of the Guardian Lion, how hot the sun felt as I climbed the steep and uneven rocks to capture a sunset. A photograph is all of that and more.

Apsara dance at Seam Reap, Cambodia

The exquisite ancient sites litter our planet like treasure maps to our past. Be it the relics of temples on the Nile or in forests of Cambodia, their artworks, architecture and artefacts remind us about our humanity as well as our mortality. One of my personal favourites among the lost cities that I have travelled to is Petra in Jordan. This desert city flourished on frankincense, myrrh and spices until an earthquake destroyed its water system. It was lost to Western knowledge for 1000 years. Petra's architectural mix of Roman, Greek and native Nabatean buildings are carved into the hillside's red rock.

Hindu mythology on the walls of Angkor Bhat, Seam Reap, Cambodia

Ruins of Luxor, Egypt

Facing history at Petra, Jordan

One of the pleasures of my travel is meeting people and getting acquainted with different cultures. Many are alarmed by some of the countries I have visited. They only hear negative stories and stereotypes perpetuated by the mainstream media. And so, it bears repeating: traveling illustrates the inherent kindness in the world. Yes there are dangers out there, but the friends I met these past four years have welcomed me into their homes, and generously offered their time to share a piece of their culture with me. When I take candid shots of people from various cities of the world, they remind me of the generous hospitality I received in that country.

The tattoo guy of Vigan City, Phillipines

Walk on the Great Wall, Beijing, China

The Terminal, Subarnabhoomi International Airport, Bangkok, Thailand

Early morning at Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam

Architectural wonder, Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abudhabi

Supervision, old lady, Vigan City, Phillipines

Last but not the least; travel is not complete without the wonder of architectural splendour. Each country offers a variety of landmark monuments steeped in rich cultural heritage and also in trend setting modernity. From the mosques of the mid-eastern countries depicting the geometrical symmetry of Islamic architecture to the Zen like minimalism of clean lines and monochromes of modern buildings, travel shows us all.
Rolling hills of Batan island, Batanes, Phillipinesiew from the top, Halong Bay, Vietnam

Misty morning at Sun Moon LAke, Nantou district, Taiwan

Rolling hills of Batan island, Batanes, Phillipines

Travelling has taught me to respect how different our lives can be, but even more the shared commonalities. Travel made me look at each new conversation and experience as a chance to learn something new and carry home a nugget of wisdom or a nuance of culture from foreign shores.

Traditional Balinese dancer, Indonesia


Haddock said...

Wonderful pics, especially the rolling hills of Batan Islands.
That B&W pic of the old lady supervising is real cute.

Anilkumar Kurup said...

Ye, the B&W ones are telling.

Sumandebray said...

Need to tell more tales..
Kudus to the photographer
So now I know what was going on during the period of long silence.

Sumandebray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sujata sengupta said...

Yes, now you know Sumandebray :)

Divya said...

The pictures are beautiful :-) I feel like just picking up my bag and heading off to new places to seek new adventures :-)

Launna said...

These pictures make me want to travel even more... when I was younger I had no desire to do so but in the last 10 years all I have wanted to do was travel, first in Europe and then wherever else my heart desired... I won't be able to see all the places I want to see but I want to see some. I would love meeting people from all over the world and seeing many wonderful sites..

Thank you for commenting on my blog, I really appreciate it xox

Daisy said...

Wonderful pictures and post! Thank you for your comment on my blog.

Leena Walawalkar said...

These are such life-enriching moments aren't they! And not everyone can really go all out to experience them, kudos for that :-) Plus the pictures, they are simply breath-taking!!!

sujata sengupta said...

Yes Leena, very enriching. Makes us adaptable, curious, kind and risk takers and like you say - non judgemental;)

Martin said...

To travel means to discover a new place, food, people, buildings such everything is so different from what we know. I love to explore all these unknown details