Marooned for an hour in India

After heavy rain the night before, I had to wait an hour in town yesterday; all I needed to do was get my knife sharpened before returning to the printers in an hour.




This little enclave of shops is the Sewing centre – the equivalent of Lindcraft.



This is an extension of Chinnakadi or Small Shop Street that runs virtually from the big bus stand on the Vellore side through past the temple entrance, past this beautiful water tank, through the back of the vegetable market, past the bamboo shops and eventually to the Vettavallam Road and what used to be called the Pondy bus stand. A powerful little street.








That place seems to be a sort of men’s metal sink. It’s at the back of the Ideal Police Station which is some sort of excuse.








That arcade leads to the eastern gate of the big temple, i just happened to catch the big fat business man coming out and the skinny little sadhu going in..


This family of three have come from a village; the father is in the process of stepping out of his chappals as a sign of respect since he is obstructing the power path from the central shrine in the big temple. Below is the east Gopuram or gate to the temple at the end of the arcade leading down to the Main Street in town – Car street, which refers not to motor cars but to the huge chariots used in the famous Deepam festival. One smaller temple car stands on the right and repairs are being undertaken on another surrounded by bamboo scaffolding:


A young man with toothache waits miserable on his bike for the dentist to open:









The woman’s face on the poster – the one giving those men on the bike a funny look, is that of our Chief Minister. Posters of her are everywhere in Tamil Nadu giving funny looks.



This street has been favoured with a few progressive shops although the picturesque but atavistic object below adds a touch of balance; it has something to do with the generator on which it stands. Both are camouflaged by the antique look.




Cine posters until about fifteen years ago were prohibited from the obscenity of a kiss, however in recent years – although thankfully kisses and overt sexual depiction are still taboo, the iconography enables full expression of obscene references mixed with the silly-stupidness that Bollywood does so well.


I have admired this wall for many years but a few days after this photo was taken in fell into the drain.  This is the way it is here, ruins are everywhere: nothing lives long, only mountains and the sky. Sobeit.

6 thoughts on “Marooned for an hour in India

    1. Calm! Shiny! The reason you don’t see the trail from printer to knife sharpener is that Car Street was a disgusting, slushy, dangerous obstacle path during which time I was thinking about audio clips. Would like an audio clip of the argument the neighbours are having somewhere in the village now.

      But beautiful – yes. Click on the image of the two old people washing their clothes for instance Anna: the textures are wonderful. Really should read the user-manual for my camera.


  1. Hi Abbi,
    Hey I like it!
    Been looking on my mobile and it works well. I’m like to know how to get a blog going, as we are going to be living in Jakarta for a few years. I thought it might be a good project for the boys to do .
    Anyway the photos are great, maybe more info for each pic. But otherwise great.

  2. Yes, I like your more detailed comments on the photos.

    Be still my beating heart…I fully appreciate the flavour of this amazing town: I love its daggy ordinariness, its busyness, its friendliness, its sanctified position at the foot of the hill; in short, its history. Tiruvannamalai is an absolutely fascinating place that you know so well and I thank you for inviting me there some years ago now and helping me to explore it.

    I’m glad you’re there. Please say hello to all my friends.

    Would prayers in the Mother’s Temple get me back there on the ground?

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