Day 30 – Friendship.


New friends, friendships formed, from stranger to fun friend, from tentative to laughter. A class of kids, living in slums, given cameras, a little training and taken on walks around a vibrant but poor area. A piece of real urban New Delhi, no tourists, just everyday life. Friendships born from fun and breaking the ice, the barriers, the divide between East and West. Shy and nervous beginnings, language differences, yet as a group, photography joins together, brings together and a means to become friends. At first taking practice shots of their tutor, ending up taking shots of him to laugh at, to laugh with, back in the classroom, as he takes photos of them to make them laugh too. A few short lessons, a teacher who says, let’s go have some fun not sit quiet and learn, no longer tutor and pupils but one group of friends, taking photos, together.
Another teacher, also living in a slum area, helping out, fast becomes a friend, tomorrow welcomes his new friend to his house for chai and snacks, glad to accept someone from 4000 miles away into his humble home, as a friend.
In India, as in lots of countries, the first Sunday in August is Friendship Day. Delhites celebrate in their own way, buy or make their friends colourful wristbands, made from cotton threads with little gold charms on. To give one is to show someone is a friend, to receive is to know a friend, to exchange is to bond. From adults to children this new custom is being accepted, to spend time with friends, to enjoy the friendship, to show friendship. Happy Friendship Day on Sunday.


Day 29 – Badge.


The most famous car badge in India, of the Hindustan Ambassador, the King of Indian Roads. An icon of Indian industry, an icon of government, the iconic taxi of all India until a few years ago. All over Delhi, the white Ambassador can be seen with their important passengers, from police chiefs to army top brass to government officials, sometimes with little flags on the front wing, often with tasselled curtains in the windows. No big Mercs or limos for them, a status symbol of Indian importance, Ambassador the badge of office, the badge of aspiration, a symbol of pride, of patriotism. Virtually unchanged from the old British, Morris Oxford of the 1950’s, a continual classic car show on the roads.