Our India Adventures : India Gate

The phone rang, I answered (as I’m prone to do), and within moments it’s was clear that Ankush and Lina wanted us to be part of their wedding in Delhi, India. Lina’s excitement that we had their date available was evident – she’d seen one of our recent Hindu wedding slideshows online and from that moment knew we’d be the right photographers for her wedding. Ankush and Lina’s story is a beautiful one – they are both engineers – Lina works in food production and Ankush with the machinery used in food production… A machine broke down in Florida, Ankush was flown in, and the rest is history.

Charlotte and I are still finalizing the editing on their wedding photos, and we’ll have another post up very soon, however we’ve had many friends and family members asking to see our trip photos… So we’ve put together the shots from our arrival and a day trip to India Gate… The Taj Mahal trip will be a post shortly following this one πŸ™‚

I was raised with bedtime stories told by my mum – of finding snakes in her bathroom, being held up a lone elephant while travelling in an open jeep on a lonely mountain road at night, helping her dad hand out medications at village leprosy clinics, and of amazing 2 day journeys she’d taken to commute to boarding school by train each semester. You see, my mum grew up in India. Her parents were doctors who ran a couple of mission hospitals there, one in Andhra Pradesh and another in Tamil Nadu. They were based in South India for a total of 17 years and my mum grew up speaking Telegu as well as English, from when she was a toddler. She, her sister and brother returned to Australia to complete their high school years in Melbourne.

During my first trip to India back in 1999 – I was visiting my brother, Mick who was living there at the time – I’d seen the poverty and lower standard of living that’s experienced by the majority of people. That experience had a huge affect on me – I no longer took for granted my suburban life, my hour long commute in an air conditioned train to university, or the fact that I had to work long days to pay for school. Simple things like being able to drink water from a tap, or have access to clean public washrooms were things that are considered luxuries to many people in the world. Even to have access to a car is an extraordinary thing to people in much of the world.

During the writing of this post, I thought it might be cool to show you some old India photos that I’ve scanned from my mum’s collection of slides. Here’s a cool old slide taken in India circa 1956 showing my mum, granny, aunty and my great grandmother (my Grandad’s mother), who visited the family in India that year. They were dressed up for a formal event I guess – all looking very cute in their saris.

Dave's Mum in India, Age 4

Poor mum really must have stood out with her height and pale skin eh! Lucky she wasn’t a blond too! I love this shot of her chatting with the locals in the village.

Dave's Mum in India, Age 12

So… on with the post! We arrived after a relaxed flight to 40+ degree weather in India. Even though it was 11pm, the humidity was incredible! Check out the fancy wheels we got picked up in!!! Ankush’s younger brother, Arapum, and his Dad, B.M, picked us up and helped us arrive safely at our hotel room. Thank you to both of you.

our wheels in India - awesome car eh - call and ambassador

During our short stay, Ankush and Lina were kind enough to show us quite a bit of Delhi – both the street markets and some of the cool monuments – like the Presidents house, India Gate and The Taj Mahal. Below are a few shots we took while were checking out one of the local market areas. Isn’t this shot of Charlotte’s amazing. Transporting a load like that on a bike is incredible!

a cyclist with a serious load on his bike

I love these used appliances! Previously owned blender anyone?

used appliances for sale in india

This guy was sitting in front of his store doing the hemming on some trousers. We chatted a little broken English with him and asked if we could take a picture – we just smiled, gave us a gentle head tilt and went on working. Very cool how easy going people are in India.

the tailor doing some repairs

The reactions to the camera are always different. The guy on the left was being quite funny and playing up to the camera, whereas the dude on the truck was striking his best GQ pose! This worker on the right was chilling out and was pretty cruisy about Charlotte shooting him.

street portraits in india

We often saw cows in herds of 3 to 10 cruising the streets. In most of India, cows are revered as sacred, and are therefore free to go where they please.

a holy cow wandering the streets

I interrupted this card game to ask if I could take a photo – and they all laughed as if to say “why wouldn’t you be able to?!”

indian guys playing cards in the street

Later on, we caught a cab with Ankush, Lina, their daughter Mariana and Lina’s parents to see India Gate as well as some of Delhi. The ride there was a little hectic, but we had lots more to learn! Wait till we show you some of the shots on the way to the Taj.

No matter how many people had to get some place, it seemed like they’d all take the one vehicle. Makes sense, but did make for some interesting photos.

the long drive home

The shot below shows the typical layout of the traffic in Delhi – cars in the right lane, 3 wheel motorbikes, cabs and scooter in the middle, and bikes on the outside edge.

the extreme contrasts in india

Isn’t this a sweet shot of another taxi driver, taken as we were stopped at the lights. I turned the camera and showed him this shot and his smile was ear to ear!

a cool cabbie in delhi, india

These three wheel taxis are all run on compressed natural gas/propane. Notice the little bumper car style wheel protectors… you’d be surprised how little use those actually get considering the traffic conditions!

an indian 3 wheel taxi flies by

So after circling to take a look at the President’s house, we drove to India Gate – a memorial for fallen soldiers. It was so grand and beautiful all lit up, we had a lot of fun exploring the area.

india gate at sunset - it was 36 degrees still

As you can see, Mariana had a wonderful time blowing bubbles with Ankush, then chasing and catching them all! Ah to be a kid again.

blowing and chasing bubbles - what fun it is being a kid

Mariana may turn out to be a film maker I think. Every time we’d turn around she had taken the camera from her mum and was filming something or other! And she’s only 3!

the cutest kid in the world using her mums video camera

Charlotte saw these two girls selling bracelets and thought it’d be cute to make a collar for Greta (our puppy). You should have seen how quick they were – we were so impressed!

sweet indian girls who were making name bracelets

They loved the camera and were so excited when we showed them their pictures.

a sweet girl we met at india gate

The huge spotlights that lit India Gate itself provided some pretty cool lighting on the vendors surrounding it. I really like this shot of the necklaces catching the light.

charlotte picked up a few of these glass bead necklaces

street vendors near india gate

The pic below is actually a snow cone machine… I opted not to invite trouble by having one, although believe me when I tell you – it was very tempting!

slurpee anyone

More pics to come, stay tuned to the blog for Ankush & Lina’s incredle Hindu Wedding coming soon!!