Stories from the Road: Christmas in Tamil Nadu

Stories from the Road is a collection of stories about my own photographic adventures in South Asia. Sometimes the stories are exciting and sometimes mundane and at times emotional. This section deals with vernacular photography and the way we all experience the photographs we see. What they meant when we took them and what they mean over time.

Celebrating Christmas in Tamil Nadu

If you read last week’s Stories from the Road post, you know my mom came for a brief visit. She was supposed to come during Christmas 2016, however, there was some visa confusion so she did not make it. So, she changed her ticket to March and we had Christmas in Tamil Nadu.

The photography you see above shows my mom (Jennifer), Meropi, and me wearing our Christmas sunglasses! I am standing on the left wearing reindeer shades. My mom is in the middle with Christmas tree glasses, and Meropi is on the right chillin’ like Santa Clause. The photograph was taken in our room in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu. You can see the beautiful brown curtains behind us.

Usually we would not wear these crazy sunglasses. However, my mom and I have a tradition. Every Christmas she gives me something associated with reindeer. This tradition started when I was 14. For Christmas when I was 14 she gave me a stuffed animal reindeer. I still have it and ever since then I have received something related to reindeer ever year. For this last Christmas, my mom told me she was looking for something reindeer related that was relatively flat so it would be easy to pack. She found these glasses and decided we all needed some.

The photograph was taken with my cell phone and the quality is not great. For some reason when I have my camera set to the front facing camera, the setting is automatically set to the beauty setting which make the photo look weird. But using the camera on the phone was the best way for use to take a group photo in the hotel room.

It is nice to know traditions can be kept alive regardless of where you are in the world. I also appreciate that my mom included Meropi in our Christmas shenanigans. Even though we celebrated Christmas in March in the humid and hot weather of Tamil Nadu it was one to remember. And I love the photograph because we all look ridiculous.

Stay tuned this week and next week for more information and stories from Tamil Nadu!

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By |2018-10-12T16:20:49-05:00March 21st, 2017|India|0 Comments

About the Author:

Betsy Williamson is an assistant professor of art in the state of New Mexico. Before coming to New Mexico for this job she was an adjunct professor throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, teaching photography and art appreciation. Between September 2015 and May 2017, she took a break from teaching to pursue art, research and life in India. Now she is back to teaching and part-timing it in India.

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