The Urge to Document



Village Woman

Water Pots

India is changing with such astonishing speed that I find myself in a constant state of wonder. In the West, this sort of change is known as progress. And it is about life becoming easier.  There are now highways ( often with tolls ) that cuts travel time substantially and is more comfortable than the old bumpy roads. More homes have running water instead of pumps and wells and the roadways swarm with cars, motorcycles and scooters, just to cite a few obvious examples.The price of this progress is exorbitant.

This has catapulted me into a perpetual state of conflict: the old versus the new, the benefits versus the losses. And they are many. I restrain myself from writing about it as it is painful yet I don’t want to be stuck in the past. Watching a way of life slip away in front of my eyes invades my thoughts and moods too.

The urge to document it all before it is too late is born. This gnawing compulsion accompanies me during every moment of my day while I am here in India.

My constant clicking  and obsession with taking photographs is beginning to irritate my friends who walk with me. They, too, are witnesses to this upheaval and mourn its demise. We have lived the “good” life in the West and know what we have lost in the process. We have the advantage of hindsight. If only the East could learn from the mistakes of the West, then our loss would almost be worthwhile. Learning from others mistakes is so simple yet so few of us bother. Maybe it is our nature to keep repeating the same mistakes. I hope not. I have been plagued with an optimistic view so I will continue to trust but will also be documenting what I see that moves me.

Once I have access to better equipment, I will have more photos with more in depth analysis to share with you.Posting from my phone is very limiting. Thanks for reading! Seasons Greetings too!


About ninagrandiose

I am based in NYC but travel regularly to India and Mexico. Both of these countries feel like home. In India I scour the country in search of fabulous textiles to incorporate into my clothing designs. I sit back and let the ambiance and wonder of India seep into my consciousness so I can be inspired to write about what India is for me. I bring a limited number of people to India on exclusive and intimate tours of my favorite hangouts. In Mexico I take in the natural beauty that surrounds me and dance the night away. I constantly give thanks for all this and am pleased to share it all with you.
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9 Responses to The Urge to Document

  1. Andy Schwart says:

    Thank you, Nina, for your evocative photos and insightful commentary.

    • ninagrandiose says:

      I am not sure if what I already wrote is visible. Commenting from the phone is yet another adventure with often unpredictable results! There was a thanks there plus….

  2. Jackie says:

    THATS quite a heavy Blog…. you must be feeling the changes very much. I do think the basics such as running water; toilets and hygiene should not be begrudged but I agree that a lot of any country’s charm is about it being different. If India becomes more westernised, will it lose its charm? I am interested to read more and extremely interested in your photographs…. keep us all updated

    • ninagrandiose says:

      It isn’t so much about a place losing its charm but as a way of life gradually fading away in front of your very eyes. Where the cloth that the people used to wear is no longer stylish, placing the weavers in a state of near extinction, same with the potters, basket makers, roof thatchers etc. It is difficult for me to witness as this way of life will never return. Weaving becomes a demonstration in a museum only. Out of this arises the conflict I mention.
      Thanks so much for your genuine interest in these topics. The photos here were taken with a mobile phone. Once
      I have a better set-up, I will have lots of photos to share!

      • Jackie says:

        A lot of interest and thanks for answering my questions. I am actually a Go Between, as another Blogger has a slightly different view to you, so if you don’t mind, I would like to show him your response. He loves India and has visited many times, but feels change is good because it improves their living. I now see that life is a see-saw. One side improves and the other diminishes.

  3. You are addressing a dilemma than many a traveller has encountered. We often seek the old traditional life style, but of course the worlds is in constant development—not always for the better as you point out. All the more important to document the life that is about to vanish. This is a great example and a beautiful photo.

  4. in picture is a beautiful lady. lots of the aspects of life have vanished already, and a lot more expecting of the beautiful past is about to vanish completely. writing about such aspect is very useful to point out to the world. But then on, everyone knows what they know and what they want and how they want to live life. Such a world we have to live with it, but such is a beautiful world.

    • ninagrandiose says:

      Yes, this can easily be misunderstood. Progress is essential but to witness the demise of so many traditions is difficult and for me, often painful. Finding a balance between the new and the old is not much considered.

  5. Nina Same here. I always go deep in thought at times reminding myself of those sweet days when I was growing up. I still remember those days grandma would hold my hands and take me to the corrugated corner shop to buy candy floss. She tied her money in her handkerchief and her vintage dress always had a pocket where she would keep her handkerchief. Those sweet days are gone. I am also stuck in between the old and the new, but then on we have to face this world and be strong. I really love all your pictures, they all depict “those days” but then on do everyone remind themselves of something when they see such pictures? Thank you for bringing them to us. Amazing!

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