Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation. – C. Everett Koop
No matter where I am traveling, my camera gravitates toward children. Being a mother and grandmother I am drawn to their innocence and antics. I would like to think all children don’t mind this intrusion from a complete stranger, one who holds a scary camera and speaks a strange language…and even has white hair. My close encounters with India’s kids show typical reactions. The babies are shy and some down right scared. Older ones just do the normal thing…smile and look in the camera and can’t wait to see the play back. Often while I photographed kids, someone in the family would take out their phone and photograph me. I too, became a curiosity.
English proverb “The soul is healed by being with children.”
Just look at these babies with their dark, exotic eyes accentuated with kohl. In India, Kajal or Kohl is a form of eye makeup which has been used since ancient times. Many women today, apply a small dot on the forehead of their toddlers as well as under or around the eye. These parents are delighted at showing off their little ones. In the city’s forts, palaces and monuments, it was usually the father who proudly held the wee ones.
“Outings are so much more fun when we can savor them through the children’s eyes.” ― Lawana Blackwell
While at the Thirrunakkata Utsavam Temple Festival in Kottayam, this toddler just took it all in. No smiles. He was as serious as his father. Perhaps the musician who is dwarfing him is making an impression or just has his curiosity.
“What feeling is so nice as a child’s hand in yours? So small, so soft and warm, like a kitten huddling in the shelter of your clasp.”― Marjorie Holmes
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” — Nobel Prize-winning, South African leader, Nelson Mandela
School boys and girls in Puskar look at the camera, while school kids along the backwaters in Kerala go about their business, ignoring our boat as it glides by.
“There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace.” Kofi A. Annan, UN Secretary-General
While in Delhi, we signed up for a city walk with the Salaam Balaak Trust, created in 1988 by local community leaders. It is a foundation that gives shelter, education and hope to street kids. Our guide, once a street child himself is now in night school and is on the road to independence. While walking the inner city of Paharganj and the area around New Delhi railway station, he shared his story with us. We then visited a classroom of mischievous boys who are used to classroom interruptions. The city walk is a unique way of providing an insight into the lives of these children and an opportunity for them to improve their communication and speaking skills. This was a worthy experience and money donated to an important cause. http://www.salaambaalaktrust.com/city-walk.asp
“Only where children gather is there any real chance of fun.” – Migon McLaughlin
“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.” – Mohandas Gandhi, political and spiritual leader in India