When at home tea has always been served soaked in a teapot with the milk and sugar separate, but for me right from childhood it just never did it for me. What still works for me is "cooked tea" as my mom likes to call it. Every visit to the villages of my state give me the chance to down cups and cups of this refreshing tea. Yesterday was one such long day where a friend and I visited 7 families and enjoyed tea at each home. Every home has its own recipe for the brew, some add Ginger and Tulsi (my favorites ), others might add Cardamom and Cinnamon, but no matter where you go in UP you'll always be offered water and tea  ( चाय पानी ) before anything else, just one of the reason I love my state!

Kashmir the Floating Market

Kashmir - The Floating Market

सीढ़ी (ladder)

Ladders have always fascinated me, as a child it was the only way I could reach the first branch of the Cryptomeria tree from where I could then climb higher than any one. It was the ladder that let me reach the roof of the cottage we lived in to a place otherwise inaccessible. There has always been something romantic about the way I have looked at the ladder. Its been more than a bunch of rickety steps on a wooden frame, its more of symbol to me. That little push that we all need to get the ball rolling, from where we are all can then take it on and keep it rolling, faster and faster!



पतंग उड़ना (flying a kite)

पतंग उड़ना

My fingers have bled, I’m dark, but I became even darker, got numerous lectures, but at the end of it I did learn to fly a kite. It’s a skill everywhere on the planet I am sure, but from what I have seen here in India, it’s a little more demanding.
With no one at home who flew kites and friends too who were not helpful out here, all I had was a neighbor who’d fly his kites with skill that I have not witnessed anywhere else. Shankar bhaiya was the god of kite flying as far as I was concerned.
Like with all things in life, here too hard work paid off and at end of months of hard work, I was able to send my kites way off into the horizon and often loose them there too.
Kite flying taught me patience, it taught me to believe in myself- both of which have helped me tremendously with my photography.  To be able to get a kite to rise when its gone so low that you can’t see it, when you can pick it when it looks like it has to, it must crash into the house or water tank not so far away it.
Its not just about getting some paper stuck onto a bamboo frame to catch the wind…..  it’s about knowing how to keep yourself afloat at times when you feel there is nothing to carry you forward, to stay afloat when it looks like you’ll crash, its about learning that you CAN if you believe.