wild turtle crossing

slow: writer at play

Vivian Henoch

Vivian Henoch
Northville, Michigan, USA
June 17
Writer and editor:myJewishDetroit.org
I write around. Follow me on Twitter @vivianhenoch or @myJDetroit


JANUARY 11, 2012 8:44PM

Passages to India: Eyes on the Road

Rate: 18 Flag

Views from the window. . . on the road from Delhi to Mumbai


My view from the window is a blank page, on which a cursor blinks awaiting digital input from fingers on the keyboard.  


I am lost in thought. In mind and spirit, I am still in India, an American tourist seated in the back seat of a white Toyota, grabbing digital images as we go.  Camera at hand, I note that my left palm is painted with henna, applied in dots and dabs, lines and scrolls -  forming the petals of fanciful flowers.  




 Incredible. India. 




Say what you will, imagine what you wish, sojourners all, nothing in the world prepares you for the streets of India. 


On foot, on hoof, on wheels, on paws, on crutches, on wings. . . in India, the rules of the road are mere suggestions.  On the road I can’t help but gape and wonder:  where do 1.3 billion people possibly go from here?




Impossible. Impassable. India. 



From Delhi to Agra we drive. Then through Rajasthan; to the granite “Pink City” of Jaipur; and on to Jodhpur, city washed in blue.   Next stop: the Golden City, Jaisalmer, named for its yellow fort sitting on sandstone hills.  American tourists on gilded holiday, well-guided and accommodated in a white Toyota van, our baggage strapped to the roof,  we ride in indolent comfort. At leisure, we point and click, grabbing shots from our windows.



Noting how unattended animals weave through traffic. 

Noting how twelve passengers pile into a taxi.

Noting how families ride deftly on motorbikes. No helmets to cover heads.  No car seats for children. 

Noting the incessant use of horns, and the patience of drivers, motoring in utter chaos. No hand gestures, no road rage.  

Noting the vibrance and delicate balance of life on the streets, driving against all odds, in appalling deprivation.





India in ruins. Rising. 



India in rags, weavers of fine textiles to the world, cutters and polishers of diamonds and precious gemstones, merchants of new technologies. 


India from rags to riches and wealth beyond reason. From smog-laden air and dusty roads, we turn in for the night, guests welcomed as royalty in palaces now branded as Taj hotels.



They say that India never sleeps. From our windows, India never even blinks.  A country of beautiful and welcoming eyes, the windows to a billion gentle souls.   We carry home a kaleidoscope of images, people and places, moments frozen in time. A time we will never forget. 


Never. Ever India.  

(to be continued)




Photos: VHenoch

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What a wonder to find you here. I love all your photos and look forward to more. I lived and taught English in Udaipur for seven months in the seventies. Wonderful experience. You are right that nothing prepares you for the streets of India. You captured them well. What a view!! Thank you.
Achingly beautiful photos and prose. Reminds me of my love affair with Cambodia and its people. Thanks for sharing.
Just amazing.. I cannot believe the smog..
This has the look feel and smell of India. I remember it just like this and have oh so many fond memories because of this.
Know that your loving celebration illustrates wondrous humanity and the challenges of our science. Walking along the road. Indeed, Vivian, t h a n k you.

You captured the color (and the darkness) of what you saw perfectly.
Gorgeous images. I am always struck by how beautiful India is, and at the same time, how hard life there seems. No photos of your hennaed hand?
Zanelle, Firechick, Linda, Algis, J.P., John and Greenheron... thanks for stopping in.

There are more photos and posts on India to come, including the hennaed hand.
Your work is amazing. It is just incredible. Worthy of a book. Actually, as a photojournalist you are tops....How about the National Geographic?
Wow, Ande . . . thank you.
Honestly , my photography skills still need some work. I admit to owning a really good camera. One I haven't begun to master.
Wow. Really enjoyed this!
Welcome back home, Vivian, in both senses. Your post is stellar - it's shown me India as I haven't seen here before. And I concur with Ande's comments. I look forward to the continuation.

Wow....you make me want to go to India! But your camera also shows the dark side of poverty in a developing country where people live in ways we can hardly imagine.

Wonderful photos, Vivian! That's the blessing of a good camera. Before we can learn to take good photos, we learn by taking a lot of shots that aren't so great. I'm a great believer in pointing and shooting at whatever I see that interests me. I think you pointed your camera very well!

Thanks, a great reminder of my passages there, New Delhi and Bangalore....unfortunately too brief all of them (work), nevertheless unforgettable....
Your photographs as well as your words embrace and enliven the spirit of India. I felt as if I was sitting on the back of the truck with you. Fascinating post. Will revisit ....thank you.
Vivian, a whole new world for you and for us. Thank you Thank you, just great the photos comme tourjours, the commentary--love you, Wendy
This is an amazing journey. So much activity, and a mixture of animal locomotion and mechanical...something we so seldom see in this country with that type of regularity. Beautiful post...thanks!
Wonderful images. Sometimes I think we're becoming one big homogenous meld, but your pictures prove differently. I look forward to seeing and reading more from your travels.
Did you bump into Rolling? What are the odds?
Looking forward to more pix and text.

India is an actual foreign country as opposed to tripping around Europe.