Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Breathe: Maha Kumbh Mela 2010

I always appreciate eunuchs for their frankness and their ability to say things in a social sphere that all other beings are only caging within their minds. One came up to me when I was camera toting at the Kumbh Mela at Haridwar. It was mid day and most of the Shahi Snan (Royal Bath) of the nude, ash-covered Naga Sadhus was over and the crowds were moving around to find a spot for a dip in the frigid waters of the Ganga. "How many penises have you got till now in your camera?" she said as I stared into my camera display checking out the pictures I had taken. I smiled back to her at the innocent question that made a lot of sense as there were more than 6000 freelance photographers on that day, 3000 with a valid pass around their necks and hundreds of other people with cameras tucked away in their phones or other things that were being pointed at the crotches of the Naga babas.
Here, I have tried to refrain from just those shots (could not completely evade them, though) that appear out of every Kumbh and instead tried for a more assimilated picture of that day and the outpouring of common people in this small town. Though heavily controlled by a 100,000 policemen, the festival was thoroughly enjoyable and wildly satisfying.

Shot on Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55 mm and 55-200 mm lens.

Maha Kumbh Mela 2010 from Akshay Singh on Vimeo.