Smokers are jokers. Fire at one end, fool at the other. Smokers are chokers. So let us poke them. Devbhumi Himachal should be smoke free. Only Lord Shiva is permitted. Plastic doesn’t choke, and all those rumbling vehicles don’t smoke. Buses of course don’t belch nauseating diesel fumes. They add oxygen like trees that are being cut down. The rocks are crumbling therefore, but stones are supposed to roll anyway. No no, you don’t roll your cigarette. If you have to, go inside a dingy room, smelling of urine and retch at Rampur bus stand. Primarily beedis, sahibs don’t get into dingy rooms with their cigarettes. Sometimes they do if they are desperate. Women – well…we tried to get our female colleagues to smoke there for our perfect picture, but they just wouldn’t dare. Women are not supposed to urinate or smoke while travelling, it outrages our modesty. Weary travelers who’ve walked all the way down from the landslide in Kinnaur, labourers with their axes, wrinkled wizened old faces , and a puff of ephemeral mortal smoke– picture perfect. Exotic India. But please confine it to dingy rooms. We are modernizing.
Text AMIT RANJAN
Sreedeep is an independent photographer based in New Delhi with a wide range of visual interests. He has completed his PhD in Sociology in 2011 from JNU, New Delhi. His academic work engages with consumer culture. He has been a Student Fellow with PSBT and CSDS. Follow his visual works @ www.flickr.com/photos/bestofsreedeep
Amit dabbles in poetry, fiction and plays, and has directed and acted in his own plays. He was also a writer in residence at the Sangam House Residency in 2010. He has received coveted scholarships like the Endeavour of the Australian government, and the Inlaks Research Travel grant. Currently, he is working on a novel that traces his grave huntings across continents, and teaches literature at Janki Devi Memorial College, Delhi University.