It was a glorious evening today in Kathmandu so I ran out with my camera looking for something interesting to photograph. While traversing a narrow lane a girl collecting rubbish said ‘hello’ in a slightly cheeky way, then kept looking back at me expectantly. I took this as my cue that she wanted her photo taken, so I asked her and she stopped, but hid behind her little brother, who kept pulling silly faces and generally ruining the picture. In the end I asked if I could photograph her by herself. Without a word she separated herself and patiently but slightly self-consciously allowed me to take a close up of her beautiful face.
Not for the first time, I considered the irony of how such a beautiful thing could be doing such an ugly job. It also made me smile to see how her hair is so perfectly tousled – something that sylists will take hours perfecting on top European models. I gave her 20 rupees afterwards as a gesture of thanks. She hadn’t asked for anything and seemed perfectly happy about the sum as she skipped off with a huge bag of rubbish on her back.
I think with those huge liquid brown eyes and perfect complexion she could provide serious competition to those models that won’t get out of bed for anything less than thousands of pounds. Instead she’ll probably spend her life picking up other people’s trash.
South Asia breaks your heart a little bit everyday – while somehow making you smile at the same time.