ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Photo Retro

On a shabby sidewalk in Jaipur, the Chand brothers continue to practise the lost art of large-format photography through the lens of an 1860 Carl Zeiss field camera.

In the midst of the crowded Johari bazaar in the old royal city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, a tiny group of khaki-clad, pot-bellied, weather-beaten policemen shout on top of their voices in a colloquial Marwari dialect, as they fretfully whistle and wave their battered lathis, trying hard, albeit unsuccessfully, to keep the chaotic traffic moving. Swanky SUVs, driven by ear-pierced, solitaire-studded machos, blare their horns, drowning the tinkle of the milkman’s bicycle bell, while a group of burqa-clad women wait uncomplainingly in one corner for the traffic to ease. Occasionally, they lift an edge of their laced veils to spit out tobacco from between lusciously stained lips, spraying the wall in hues of pink and crimson.

Our taxi driver manages to squeeze through the Sanganeri Gate bottleneck and we get off near the Hanuman temple and trudge along the freshly painted, salmon-pink street. A skinny, near-emaciated young boy with a missing limb, in tattered, threadbare clothes, sits with a begging bowl. Zealous vendors push rickety carts laden with street food, kulfis and ice-cream cones in earthen barrels. A group of men help themselves to some delicious-looking papri chaat served on dried banyan leaf plates. I can’t help but drool. Nearby, a group of foreign tourists, presumably Americans, look appalled at the lack of sanitary conditions and are clearly horrified by the houseflies swarming over the pyramids of jalebis and other sweets.

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