“Photo Khicho?”

We were making our way back to our hotel from the old town of Udaipur in Rajasthan India when I saw a woman in the gateway of the local Hindu temple. Brilliant saffron orange is the color of the Hindu people and most of their temples are splashed with it in some way or other. It turns that I too love the color. So, when I saw this woman sitting on the steps to this very orange temple wearing a matching sari, I thought, “great framing composition, wonderful colors!” and said out loud: “Love the colors!” So, I asked her: “Photo Khicho?” and motioned with my camera. That is more or less Hindi for “photo snap?” For the last two weeks I had been using that expression receiving much more often than not an affirmative head nod in reply, often followed by a smile or laugh as Indians are usually surprised when a Westerner speaks Hindi, even poorly. This woman however waved me off. Fortunately, our local guide was walking with me and he more or less said to her: “उसे आपकी साड़ी के रंग बहुत पसंद हैं” or, “He loves the colors of your sari!” With that she smiled and waved in the affirmative for me to go ahead and photograph her. After I took several frames — including the one featured here — I exclaimed “Sundar!” — “Beautiful!” — and put my hands together in a ‘nameste’ whilst saying “Ram Ram Sa” … a catchall greeting/thank you that usually only Hindus say to each other. This brought a ‘nameste’  to her hands and another smile to her face. I was happy too.

Image and words by Jeff Clay