13 April 2009

The Woman I Never Saw

About a year (and a half ) ago, i was at the Tibetan market in Ooty shooting for an assignment when i chanced upon this woman. She didn't speak English and i don't understand a word of Tibetan (but u would be surprised to see how fluent most of them are in Tamil). Nevertheless, i sat with her and she went on with her stories (of what, i honestly had no idea!). I have this habit of giving 6X4 prints of my images to the subjects. Its gives me a pretext to visit them again. Thus i set off, back on the track that led to the Tibetan market. Only, to find the place thronging with tourists. She was here, there, all around me. Well, honestly, i just couldnt find her again. They all looked sooo similar!! I hung around for some time. Asked around if someone knew her, and finally left the copy with the fellow who claimed to have known her. Ive made several visits to the market since. And i ve met several old Tibetan women there. They all had the same kind smile, the same sad eyes and the same amiable aura about them..but none who quite photographed like her and none who told me stories like her. What had happened to her? I dont know. I never saw her again...


  1. Ok sarcasm first... you need to seriously consider hiring a part time caption/heading writer. "The Woman I never saw." is right up there at the cheese hall of fame, along with immortal classics like "A Slice of life" and "Life is a... (creative something something)" friendship poem email forwards.

    But... BUT... the pic is nice and have always liked this one. Wasn't this the one you had which your faculty did not approve of or something? Or am i confusing some other story here?

  2. I can see her. Very nice portrait.

  3. Sony, im not sure which image u are talking about . There were quite a lot of images which never got approved.. anywhere.

    To the Lord Murugan of the Mains and Crosses, am glad u do :)

  4. Oh my gawd!! Where are the tissues? I cant hold back my emotions Jo!! And did you run back home and complete the scene with a dive into the bed and sobbing in rhythmic sobs as well? Of course in your case its quite possible that you dived right past the bed flew out the open window :)

  5. ooooo i love love love the ambiguity of this. of never knowing if she will ever receive your gift or not. wow.

  6. Hmm, I see another Steve McCurry story in the making here
    A Refugee as subject,
    The worlds apart feel in the eyes,
    The hidden anguish,
    Loosing track of the subject,
    The resemblance is uncanny... I guess you would become Jo Mc'Kar'ry now ;-)
    Sriharsha Ganjam

  7. ha ha. Thanks Harsh!! Im flattered!

    But if truth be told, far from being anything close to McCurry, im still very much a student of photography.. Like one of my Gurus just told me, we (photographers) will remain to be students of photography forever. And whenever we cease to learn, we cease to grow as a photographer as well.

  8. Hey, this is a really cool photograph. The B&W composition makes it look awesome