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.

Spending Holi in Udaipur with a New Friend

Living in a foreign country and a city that is a tourist destination is a unique experience. I live in the tourist area and Meropi’s coffee shop is right in the heart of the area. Her business is the tourists. Occasionally, I meet someone who I really connect with. A while ago, Brad showed up at the coffee shop. I think he stayed in Udaipur for about five weeks. He was here for Holi, the festival of colors. The photograph above was taken the night before everyone threw colors at each other. On this night fires were lit all over town.

The photograph above is a snapshot of Brad and me. It was taken in the evening right after the fire at Jagdish Chowk was finished burning. In the shadows around us other people are visible and the bright lights of signs and string lights also dot the scene. I will always treasure the photograph because Brad is a great guy and I do not ever want to forget him.

Brad is an American, originally from Ohio. However, he has lived in Texas for about 30 years. Thus we have a lot in common. I spend all of my time with Europeans or Indians, so it is refreshing to hang out with another American. He gets all my jokes and I get his. He is also a creative and talking to him about many subjects was a breeze.

A few days after Holi Brad moved on to his next destination. He went to Mount Abu for a few days and then moved on to Jodhpur. I know he made it to Jodhpur as he sent me a text. I have his email and will stay in touch. I hope in the future we can meet up back in Texas or somewhere else on this strange planet.

Holi was a great experience; however, I am not sure I want to deal with all the colored mess next year. It was great to spend the two days with friends both living in Udaipur and travelers just passing through. Occasionally I really connect with someone passing through Udaipur and it is hard for me when they leave. It is a completely different lifestyle than the one I lead back home and I am not so great at letting go. But I guess that is the life. On the other hand, if I was not here in Udaipur I would have never met Brad or the few other people who have touched me.

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