I’ve always lived in cosmopolitan cities, which is probably why small towns have always held a strange fascination for me. Even as a child, when I went to Kanpur to visit my uncle, I was fascinated by the old part of the city where he stays. I could spend hours wandering the narrow roads, or looking down from the balcony at the street hawkers, who took over half the road, at the melee of humans, animals and vehicles fighting to make their way through what was left of those narrow lanes, the cheery greetings to passers by – everyone seemed to know everyone there. So on a recent road trip to Aligarh, as we drove through the small, congested towns and villages of Uttar Pradesh, I ran down my iPhone battery furiously clicking away.
While we were crawling through a traffic jam, this fruit vendor caught my eye. The pile of papayas kept wrapped up in newspaper, a few of them sliced open to display their brilliant orange color and freshness contrasted beautifully with the dusty backdrop of the town and the dark browns of the furniture in the mud smeared shop behind him. He stood there waiting patiently for customers, just watching the traffic inch along in front of him, while behind him another man was hunched over his work, and to the far right an old man watched over the scene while talking to the shopkeeper (who was invisible from where I was).
The colors and the contrasting actions made for an image with a lot of character, I thought. What do you think?