Mumbai's Aarey Milk Colony is nearly four times as large as New York City's Central Park. And there are leopards. Apart from the exotic grandness of the place, it is home still to many Adivasi, or first inhabitants. There's a quiet little road that I'm fond of walking, and over the the year-plus time that I discovered it I now recognize the one cycle which is always churning, grass collection for the colony's dairy industry. The fields along the road are immense on both sides although the view is partially obscured in places by trees. Inevitably, if you watch and listen, you will discover people where none were before. Heads bob up and down among the tall grass. Then you might see a few individuals with large bundles of grass making their way from the fields to the roadside, where small tuk tuks haul away the grass to nearby farms. It's truly a great photo walk experience any morning.
Aarey Colony - Vanicha Pada. This village is over 100 years old and still lacks electricity and toilets. It's a place of struggle, but it's also a place of vibrant, everyday life. This is my favorite portrait of the day of a young woman who initially peeked out at us from her home. She was eventually joined by her daughter.
I don't see myself as a landscape photographer. But there are some scenes worth capturing even if they are genre-benders. Aarey Colony has proven to be the perfect spot for urban landscapes of a sort, a perfect mix of rural and urban aesthetics rolled up into one. The key ingredient for me is people - or at least one person. And then the background comes into play in a big way in a scene like this because of the buildings, which serve as a contrast to the countryside. The grasses and trees make the rest of it interesting to me due to the layering effect of all the elements sandwiched together. There aren't many places like this in the world. I'm almost willing to say - only in Mumbai - if you want to include the fact that somewhere out there in the forest dwell a few leopards.
Mumbai has a few country roads. They're found in Aarey Colony and nearby Sanjay Gandhi National Park. What defines a country road? I don't know. From my experience, narrow roads with little traffic. Farmland. Trees. Fields of greenery. Animals. Few signs of bustling civilization. An over all sense of tranquility. For me, this is a country road.
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