the brahmin’s housewife

October 16, 2015 - single portrait

jaisalmer is called “the golden city” what you easily understand when you view the old city located on a huge plateau at the entrance to the thar desert in the low light of the golden hour. while jodhpur is called “the blue city” due to the many vivid blue-painted houses that popped out all over the place in jaisalmer the blue houses quite reliably still refer to brahmin families, the highest originally priests’ chast. mool raj acharieya [please read his story here] is a brahmin, not only recognizable by his blue-colored house but by his dignity-kind of behavior when he invited us to his home, without any humbling but pride and with some patronizing gesture that made me feel not only grateful but slightly pushed to follow his invitation. i experienced this a few times with brahmins, also women.

when we explored the little house i got a sneak peek into the kitchen where some deliviously cooking was going on but i was to shy to take a closer look even though i was deadly curious and mool raj certainly had been fine with it. anyway, i didn’t dare but when we talked a little more with our host outside while he was seated on his veranda like a maharaja residing before foreign envoys a side-door opened and an elderly woman in a pretty colored sari came out beaming with delight all over the face. obviously she had been curious like myself while she was busy in the kitchen. in the first place i thought she was a neighbor, because the side-door looked as if it belonged to the next house painted in yellow color. the woman didn’t speak any english and we only could communicate by hand and feet and smile. mool raj with a wave of his hand said: “my housewife”, so probably not his married wife but a woman who cooks, makes the washing and does house cleaning for him, a lower chast woman. she was overjoyed when i took her portrait and i tried to make her understand that i would send the picture to mool raj’s address. i don’t know if she got that but imagining her beautiful smile again when she receives the print fills my heart with constant joy.

› tags: 100strangers / analog / film / film photography / fuji ga645 / fuji ns160 / india / jaisalmer / medium format / photography / portrait /


  1. Wonderful portrait, I would like to see her face at the moment she gets her printed portrait also !!

    • me, too, believe me. when i vision this i have a little side-story in mind we learnt in mandawa: when we were walking around the old city with our guide an old man approached us willing to be photographed and asked where we were from. when we answered he quickly walked back into his shop and appeared just a minute later with a photograph in his hand and a big smile. the photograph showed himself with a western lady next to him. on the back was written: “thank yo very much for your warm-hearty hospitality. the best tea and sweets i had in india was in your cafe. greetings from germany”. the lady had sent this picture print to him the long way years ago, but it needed only one minute for him to find it and the pride and joy he felt when he could present it to us was unlimited.

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