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India: Sights, Smells, Sounds

A kaleidoscope of colours, smell and taste. I did not imagine India to be anything else but interesting. In my list of countries to visit, India is definitely not one of my top 10. But at the end of June 2010, I had a taste of India. AND, felt the burning heat of the sun, all 40 degrees of it. I was in India for a corporate shoot. 8 days, 4 internal flights, many hours on the road and 5 cities later, I felt I had seen two different sides to India.

On one hand, you have poverty…

Children with growths on their heads, young girls who barely look like teenagers holding on to babies, begging on the streets…

And then you have development…

Fancy buildings that look so futuristic. Offices with coloured glass windows. High end apartments that only few can enjoy.

What a contrast.

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A Glimpse of India

I have never been to India before, but I have this stereotypical image of people living in slums, cars honking all the way, and poverty stuck in my mind. When I arrived in India about 5 days ago, I realized that there are certain things to India that I never saw. Firstly, I think they speak a lot more English than some other third world countries. I met drivers who went to university, studied IT but never graduated. There is also quite a lot of infrastructure readily available to the people.

Perhaps the places I went to were ‘sanitized’ in some way. I am in India for 10 days to shoot various IJM projects, mainly in the cities of Bangalore, Nellore, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Jaipur. When I arrived in Chennai that night (10pm local time), we traveled for 2 hours to this toll way, and started shooting video + stills! I didn’t expect my shoot to start at midnight, but it was rather fun.

I even got to climb a truck in the process. (Sorry a bit blur, taken by a work colleague). I think I smelt a little cow-ey after that.

After shooting for 3 hours, we traveled another 2 hours to our location, Nellore. It’s a small town between Chennai and Bangalore.

The drivers in India are pretty bold… and mad, I would say! It’s scary to drive here. And I fear for these women who stand in the middle of the road, sweeping the highway. Seems like a little futile too.

At this moment, I’ve left Nellore, traveled 8 hours to Bangalore by car, flew to Hyderabad, and New Delhi. I did not manage to upload many photos, but I hope this gives you a glimpse of my journey so far!