The Women of India – Saris amidst the shanties

Like brightly coloured butterflies, the women of Chennai are adorned in vivid blues, reds, greens and golds. Their saris and salwar kameez shimmer in the hot sun; they are stunning contrasts to the slums and garbage of the city.

It’s not only their clothing that draws your attention.Their faces are fascinating; their gazes can be pensive and penetrating. This photojournal gives you a glimpse into their lives…and perhaps their thoughts.

Even at the beach, women are dressed in saris and salwar kameez

Deep in thought....

No bikinis or skimpy outfits, but beautiful flowing garments of cotton and silk.

Women are mothers at a young age. Their children are clustered around them like bright flowers.

Arranged marriages remain the most common form of wedlock. While forced marriages are on the wane, the majority are not marriages of the heart, but pragmatic unions resulting from an analysis of criteria that includes age, physical attributes, religious and cultural matches, education, profession, finances and family status (Wikipedia).

Her face is a portrait of light and shadow. A young mom and her wee babe.

Behind the bright colours, there is another face. Her unspoken words are loud in the silence.

At Marina Beach, there are many families who fish and live on the edge of the public beach area. These women have a gaze that seems to take them to another place and time.

If you lived here:

Beachside homes at Marina Beach

How would you raise these children?

I have no answers to my questions. The lives of these women and their children are so different from my own, I cannot even begin to figure out what is “right” and “wrong” or even if there is any need to do that. Their faces are eloquent enough; perhaps they tell a story that is so far removed from my own experience that I will surely err if I try to interpret them. So, I leave it to you to decide what is there, and sort out your own feelings about the women I photographed in India.


About Lady Boomer

A voice for lady boomers, Bette Hodgins is a writer, life enthusiast and navel-gazer. Unfortunately navel lint keeps cluttering up her path to enlightenment, but she is nothing if not persistent in her journey of life!
This entry was posted in India Calls, Photojournals, Self-Discovery, Travel - Near and Far, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Women of India – Saris amidst the shanties

  1. Mary says:

    Lovely photos. Beautiful people. Even in the last photo, the mother and children are adorned with anklets, bracelets, and the mother’s shoes are fairly solid. The children (so handsome) look healthy. But underlying this is the question of this woman’s dreams for herself and her children. Is she happy with her life? Will she be able to give her children opportunities? Your photographs open up these questions.

    • Lady Boomer says:

      You hit it the nail on the head Mary. Thank you for helping me look at these pictures in another way. Funny thing about taking photographs – you “shoot” them in a second, and think about some of them for a long time afterwards.

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