Some places in the world get into your heart and soul and become a part of you. For me, India is one of those places. I first visited the country on a two-week trip in 2000 and was hooked from the very beginning. I loved India’s sensory overload and was mesmerized by its spectacle of humanity that seemed to span centuries, or an eternity, of existence. Despite vast cultural differences, I related easily with the Indian people. We shared an alert and curious nature; a love of color, design and dress; and a little (or big) wild streak. Instinctively, I felt a part of me belonged there and knew my next trip had to be longer. India was simply too rich, too fascinating for less.
If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India! ― Romaine Rolland, French writer, art historian, and mystic
More like a subcontinent of ethnicities than a nation, everything in India is on a massive scale and its web of problems is well known. In spite of this, India has a profoundly positive counter-balance in the spirit of its people and richness of its cultures, and if one has the strength, willingness and patience to go down the mine shaft of India, gems are there.
Where there is love there is life. — Mahatma Gandhi
Many people find India off-putting. Many times I do too. Yet with time the shock does wear off, adapting to the flow of India is key to surviving it, and a curiously light feeling of release, happiness and harmony with life sets in. Like an actor with all senses engaged, one feels alert, alive and good. No one can completely comprehend, describe or photograph India, but one can feel its tremendous energy and appreciate its singular gifts to humanity.
The goal, which all Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which humans desire when they live a life of continence, I will tell you briefly it is Aum. ― Katha Upanishad
The Golden Rule of India is to anticipate the opposite of what would be normal anywhere else. The Hindi word for “yesterday” and “tomorrow” is the same, a kind of circular logic underlies most communications, time is fluid, and nothing is ever finished or fixed.
But nothing in India is identifiable, the mere asking of a question causes it to disappear and merge into something else. — E.M. Forster
Traveling in India as a solo woman on a low budget is rough, tiring and often dangerous. India pushes past one’s normal limits and administers patience, compassion and tolerance on a grand scale. It also teaches one to listen to and trust one’s instincts. Always. Traveling through half of India’s 28 states I got a massive dose of humanity, had experiences ranging from unbelievably good to thoroughly awful, made thousands of images, learned and unlearned daily, and grew to love my solitude and accept my imperfect but suitable life.
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
I do not wish to romanticize, sensationalize or criticize India in my pictures. Pollution, poverty and injustice are everywhere and I have no impulse to document this, nor is it my job to do so. I observe closely and try to understand India’s immense problems, but I focus my lens on the quietness of everyday life, especially people who are endlessly fascinating to me. That said, the best thing to do in India is simply to enjoy the ride. There’s no place on the planet like it.
I sat at the foot of a huge tree, a statue of the night, and tried to make an inventory of all I had seen, heard, smelled, and felt: dizziness, horror, stupor, astonishment, joy, enthusiasm, nausea, inescapable attraction. What had attracted me? It was difficult to say: Human kind cannot bear much reality. Yes, the excess of reality had become an unreality, but that unreality had turned suddenly into a balcony from which I peered into — what? Into that which is beyond and still has no name. ― Octavio Paz
Perhaps one sees and experiences in India what one wants. After 12 years of working for corporate law firms that I had no affinity for, I needed my world flipped like a pancake with positive energy, crowds of smiles, true diversity, deep humility, raw beauty, the handmade world, temples, trains, animals, kids, old people, joyful people, a whole new sensibility of life. I needed to feel free and affirm life in a new way, on my own rough path, and I did. Cautiously, with a few accidents. India gives you the adventure you’re ready for, and then some!
Chant and be happy! ― George Harrison