My Camera, Chai, My Car: Reflections From The Road


So, here I am back, with another crazy category.

“My Camera & My Chai” is not dead. Long live CMC!

But, “My Camera, Chai, My Car” is more about reflections from the road, about the road, and all things bright, beautiful and wonderful – or not – about the road.

So, what do you see in this picture? The highway from Khajuraho to Jhansi. My Nikon D 200. The other Nikon is in the car. You see my chai, of course.

You also see the plastic chair and the table. Plastic. Long live all things that butcher our environment. You see my beloved Duster.

What you see below, is a picture, of my companions at this chai dhabha. Folks sitting on a char-pai. A char-pai is a traditional Indian bed, however, this one is missing the more traditional coir. Instead it has some lousy shit on which you lie. It is a modern day char-pai (4 legs, literally, or 4 feet)


What is it about the road that inspires a sense of freedom? What is it that inspires a sense of walking into the unknown? That of discovery? Self-discovery, perhaps.

You see the best of people, and the worst of them as well. In the picture above, you see the chaps sitting. They seem to have no care in the world. They seem to be the epitome of laziness as well. It is often romantic enough to believe that, when you meet people on the street, they are all very simple folk, who don’t possess any of the cunning of the city folk. The fact remains that people you meet on the road are, in many ways, just like any of us. In other ways, they are different. There is indeed much to learn, but much to be wary of.

On this trip, for instance, I was travelling in territory that was largely populated by dacoits. Memories of violence don’t disappear so fast, and neither do old habits. So, I generally tended to err on the side of politeness, and sometimes behaved like a mouse that would scurry into it’s little hole.

However, I also met some really nice folk. I also met a murderer, who chatted with me as though he was the simplest chap on earth. Later, I learned that he had decapitated a man, and had dragged the headless body through the village, to serve as a warning to others.

That’s the life. You meet all sorts of people on the road. Some good, others not.

Like you do in the city. However, their motivations are often different. This, we have to respect.

Life on the road can be one of discovery. It can also be one of self-discovery. This, and this, is one of the great joys of being on the road.

After I left the corporate world, I plunged from the world of five star hotels, to cheap ones; from luxury to simple homestay.

Yet, I also started to rediscover my own country. This is great.

Despite the shit that is in my country – physically and otherwise – it is still a marvellous country to discover; and the realisation that there is much beauty amongst the crap we find is, in itself, something to be grateful for.


  1. Yes, it’s so true about human motivations and how they remain hidden from our view most of the time. I am amazed still at people who can seem like ordinary, decent folk, who turn out to have nefarious motives. Their ability to deceive others is astounding. I try to read their eyes….that’s the only way you can begin to tell their true motives.

  2. Thanks Rajiv, for the thoughts, photos and experiences. I was wondering what to post on Monday and decided on the song Khajuraho. India is a wonderful country, we will never forget.

      1. Well, it is a maddening country. I saw a fantastic movie yesterday, which should remind Indians not to be cynical about India. It is a movie called “Airlift”. A true story set in the Gulf War. We evacuated about 170,000 Indians from the War Zone. This is considered to be the biggest/largest evacuation in history. Too bad we, as Indians, have forgotten about it

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