sat at an outside chai shop this morning, eating battered chilis and drinking black masala chai, while watching troupes of children file past with their minders.
first i sat in a cafe having a more traditional breakfast, and watched the adults file past, in both directions, from wherever they sleep to wherever they work. each group different according to station or employment? but cohesive groups, nonetheless, based on dress, age, what they might be carrying (on their heads if they are women). i didn't even try to distinguish the hotel workers from the restauranteers from the shopkeepers, or the roadside stand operators, but i got the impression that they walked together, regardless of which they were. it was like small battalions of brightly uniformed soldiers going up and down the street.
then the children. hundreds and hundreds of them, descending on the town for the festivals (not christmas) happening right now. there are festivals all the time, but the holiday they get is christmas. thank you britain. anyway, they filed through by twos, usually holding hands, with adult minders at the front. middle, and rear of each column, like schoolbuses without the bus.
these groups are individualized by dress as well, some with uniforms, some in traditional clothing, some mixed. girls and boys always segregated. one group came to a halt in front of my cafe, because a man was giving a hairbrushing demonstration on a wig sitting on one of those head and shoulder shaped wigstands. the girls were fascinated and crowded around him while the male minders tried without success to get them back in line. the boys watched, bemused but not without interest from their place in line.
i paid ten rupees each for some awesome portraits of both beggars and people who go around in traditional garb trying to get you to take their picture. the dressed up ones didn't understand why i was only photographing their faces close up, but they liked the results.
i think i'm going to change my travel plans, even though it means throwing away the money i paid for a room in goa on the 29th. i want to head north instead, to badami and beyond to elora. it's all fluid. stay tuned.