What makes us trust one another? What makes us go against our sixth sense? What makes us feel fear?
When I was in India, this past fall, I never once felt scared once. At times I was guarded, yes, but scared, nah. Fear doesn’t look good on me when I travel, and it prohibits my gift to be at one with people when I’m in another land which is what I desire most out of traveling.
When I saw these two women, it was not too long after a woman sitting cross legged atop a fruit wagon grabbed my camera’s chain and tried to take it from me. You see, I snapped her photo from a distance, then moved in to show her. I missed the cultural norm memo that, that probably wasn’t the wisest move as an American in India who can be perceived as having a pocketful of rupees.
What was I thinking? I don’t know. I wasn’t; I was feeling. I was feeling, I wanted to share it and maybe she wanted to see it. She wanted rupees or my camera instead of viewing herself on a screen on the back of my Nikon D5. A tug of war quickly ensued as the chain of my camera was wrapped around my palm and she grabbed the hanging fruit that was dangling below it. I wasn’t scared, I was on the defense. The situation ended with a local helping me recover my camera and me apologizing profusely for not having any rupees to give her, because if I had some, I’d surely would have dug them out and brought some of her fruit too. I bought a lot of fruit in India, as a vegetarian this suited my diet and also appeased the locals when I offered to support them as they supported me with a chance to click.
Once I composed myself, did an about face in the other direction to walk further into the pink city walls, I immediately saw these women. I almost bumped into them, and their bright hued draping fabrics. I felt something again, something kindred was oozing from then. I think they could feel it too. They stopped me and said ‘sister’. I said “sister,” acknowledging that whatever they felt from me, was happening within me as well.
They motioned that they were sisters, the two of them, as in blood sisters. I motioned with my camera, if I could take their ‘sister’ photo. They nodded in the affirmative. I snapped quickly not wanting to intrude on their kindness. Then, a man came by, motioning with his hands for me to give him my camera. Was he asking what I was seeing? Give him my camera? He was! He wanted to take a picture of all the sisters and if I wanted that memory, I’d have to relinquish the camera someone just try to take. I’d have to give my camera to someone else for the first time on this trip, to take my picture.
Would he grab it by its chain and go? Would he run off with it? Would he ask for rupees in return for its return to me? As much as I felt like a local, I knew I was a foreigner here in India. Then the ‘sisters’ motioned again signaling that it was okay, okay to give my camera to the man. So, I did. I trusted my ‘sisters.’ Funny thing, his photo came out blurry, but I don’t think I’d want the image any other way, it made for a chuckle and a memory. I’m glad I trusted them and didn’t fear him. They were my turnabout; one day I’ll be someone’s somersault.