As you come out of the Shivalik ranges that form the southern bastion of Dehradun and head for the dust fields of Delhi, you pass through quaint rugged settlements populated by a rustic breed of farmers, tillers, cattle keepers, cut throats and other remanants of the Huns that invaded the country many centuries ago.
Chhutmalpur is one such sleepy place where in the season they crush sugarcane and make “gur”. From my early childhood days I remember seeing open fire pits blazing away in the night and workers silhouetted in the flames. The sweet heady aroma of raw sugar cane juice being boiled in large cast iron pans and the leftover acrid tingle of molasses was a smell that one grew up in the valley of Dehradun. It still has the same overpowering presence that it had back then.
I was passing Chhutmalpur enroute to Dehradun after photographing the Pushkar Cattle Fair. It was a good time to stop. There were no other passengers with me and this was like Childhood Revisited.
I am reminded of a book ” Rerun at Rialto ” written with great finesse by Tom Alter, where he writes of this very place in one of his stories. A book worth reading for its simple easy narrative and some unexpected twists that make the stories so much more endearing. That was ages ago. I once read voraciously but rarely read fiction now. This book is a treat and along with books of Ruskin Bond, a beautiful easy read.
Here are 11 photos that make this sweet essay on the making of gur.
This is highway58 and you can see the traditional cow patties that have worked the Indian hearths for ages. Some of it still does apparently. It is the season for sugarcane and you can see a buffalo drawn cart carrying sugar cane
Photos Of Boats from Kerala, Kashmir, Goa etc. in India.
Of Catamarans, Coracles, Sand boats, Kettuvallams, Snake Boats, Trawlers and Shikaras
For several years, one has lived in parts of India like Kerala and Goa which are on the sea and also have vast areas of backwaters and rivers. While the sea is dotted with large vessels carrying commercial cargo, there is a significant presence of smaller vessels that the common people use for their daily transportation of goods and for travel, fishing or for pleasure.
Not only the sea, but the rivers and the backwaters are teeming with these boats and vessels and here is a presentation of boats, small and large, round and conical, colored and sometimes drab and black. Some with boatmen and some without.Some with glamorous passengers and some without.
Red is a color that is strongly defined in the human civilisation. .
Red is emotive,
Red is dangerous,
Red is sexy
Red is Godly
Red is Evil
As many interpretations are possible depending on the civilisation you are born in. In India, the color red is significant for it goes to state the raison d’etre of this earth. Birth and Death. The red of the blood signifies the living and the existing. It becomes a symbol of fertility and anything red thereafter attains the primal throes of the Hindu philosophy of existence. Red adorns the foreheads of the Indian woman, sometimes the hands and the feet to mark the fertility rites and red then becomes a mark of a religion. One is born unto this earth for only one reason and that is to continue the human race. Fertility is the dominant theme that defines Hindusim and its Gods.
So here is to Red. From Gods in Red, Ferraris in Red to Women in Red