Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Eyes Closed, Kalsada Bagh, Rajasthan, India, November 3, 2009

Sometimes we ask a girl to close her eyes, sometimes to move her hands.

She does both and holds still for a few minutes while chaos ensues around her. The folks in this small cluster of homes are just waking up, getting ready for their day. The surrounding areas are already awake, tending to their crops and livestock.

This community is different; they are known as the Kanjar Community. Presently, they prepare their girls to become either prostitutes or women that tend to the home, the former of which have more esteem and prestige while the latter take care of the home, cook and clean, wash and sweep.

This young girl is a daughter of this community. Her future is decided by others.

For the time being, she is a student and attends a school on this roof sponsored by Nirvanavan Foundation. She learns to read and to write, aspires perhaps to be different. Time will tell.

As she holds her hands up, the sun beams upon her face, beads of sweat form on her face. We walk to her and blot her face dry in between exposures. She and her friends giggle but she remains unbelievably still, maintaining her composure throughout. With her eyes closed, she is able to defy the sun, perhaps even her community.

Hopefully in the future she can do so with her eyes open.

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