The glare of sun on salt quickly saps their vision. First there world turns black and white. Then, as cataracts turn their eyes to milky orbs; grim reality is day by day painted in softer focus. They say their thirst is unquenchable. As the monsoon abates and the sun turns merciless, conspiring with the growing accretions of crystals to steal every last drop of water, each breath rasps the throat like sandpaper.
Each day is like the last: the pans are raked, and the crystals tendered. In the heat shimmer is a vista of impressions: bent, burnished backs raking and baking; anklets and nose-rings glinting in the glare; flowering saris, a curve of hip, pots perched insouciantly atop heads.
Children’s giggles emanate from within the scant shelter of thatched huts, the only shade for miles, nd in between the clank and shudder of the pumps can be heard the resentful murmurs of the workers cursing mendacious traders.
Rusting too, are the worker who move whithered and whispering across the endless salt pans of the Little Rann of Kutch in Western Gujurat. They produce millions of tonnesbof salt each year – translucent cubes that appear as if by magic, like some invisible Picasso wielding his brush. The workers cracked and scaly legs come to resemble the very earth they tread. Its hard to tell where flesh ends and salt pan begins. By the time a salt-worker dies, his skin is so cured it wont even burn on his funeral pyre.
– Palani Mohan
However, let us remember the wise words of travel photographer Rosemary Sheel: Happiness is where you find it.
A small boy plays with his toy, an old bicycle tire, on the salt flats of the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat India. His body language expresses his joy in keeping the tire upright and rolling across the dried mud of the marsh. We can find happiness if we just look for it is the message I get from this. I think he looks as if he is having more fun than a child sitting at a computer, but maybe I’m wrong. My children grew up playing the old-fashioned way.
Thank you Rosemary for reminding us of lifes true perspective. For there is also fairytale beauty in this land.