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This gentle lady worked at the ashram which I would often visit in Varanasi. I would see her quietly getting on with her work – working hard cleaning up after the sadhus all day – without asking for any special attention. In fact, although she was more than happy for me to photograph her family she only let me take a couple of pictures of her. This was incredibly frustrating because I thought she looked so beautiful that I would have loved to have photographed her all the time. But my only consolation was that I did get some lovely, natural photos that I think demonstrate her grace and quiet dignity. In fact the one featured is one of my favourite portraits from India. I think I like it so much because she is wearing a simple cotton sari, which seemed to be uncommon in the city famous for its silk sarees. And yet the simplicity of it seems the perfect frame for her natural beauty.

4 thoughts on “Portrait of a lady in a sari

  1. Beautiful portrait! The photo and your description of this lovely lady, makes me want to meet her and quietly work beside her in the ashram. I feel like I could learn a lot from just being with her. Does that sound crazy? It’s the way your photo made me feel. Lovely! :)

    • No that doesn’t sound crazy. I was very fond of her stoic way of just getting on with things without a fuss. Though I have to add that she had her moments and gave me short shrift whenever I tried to help her make chapatis. Unless they were perfectly round (which I admit was a rare occurrence) she would snatch my attempt from me, roll the dough back into a ball and plonk it back in front of me and motion for me to try again. As Shakespeare would say: “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

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