Many of you have already seen the photo above; it was from a very momentous time for me and I feel gifted with being able to photograph these two girls. Before I met them I was sick; I thought I was dying because I had dysentery. I remember all the foreigners talking about how terrible it would be to be sick alone and to die alone in a foreign country and here I was living it.
At one point I couldn’t move from my bed; a few villagers came to my room to make sure I was OK. I remember them cleaning up my vomit, sponging me down with rose soap and water, and feeding me water with lemons. Without being asked they helped me in one of the most horrible moments of my life. I am forever grateful to them and they shrugged it off like it was nothing.
It was on the day that I was well enough to walk around the village unassisted that I found these two girls. I was weak from being sick but at the same time, I felt like a butterfly who had just sprung from a cocoon. The girls were flitting around in their village and were more than overjoyed to drag around a foreigner who couldn’t fight being coddled. They showed me off to their friends and family, charcoaled my eyes, fed me food and showed me their wonderful nature. I’ve never been the same since.
India is a journey and not a trip. You can’t go there and not be changed. If you expect to be like a tourist you’ll get lost. They live by very different rules in India and at times I likened it to being surrounded by a spirit that controls everything that happens; the spirit is ever watching and if you are willing you can exist with it and see the most amazing things.
If you resist the spirit makes your journey difficult and you are constantly struggling to find your way; the longer you resist the harder it gets and only when you’re completely broken and sobbing on the ground are you able to see the wondrous beauty around you. The most beautiful, startling and horrible life lessons happen in India.
One of the things I remember most is the eyes of children. Their eyes were always so bright and clear; so fresh and so brilliantly white. I’ve always wondered what made their eyes this clear and I still ponder it to this day.