A few years ago I traveled to South India to do public health research in collaboration with Shanti Ashram, a local non-profit organization in Tamil Nadu. My research consisted in learning about cooking patterns of women who used wood for cooking inside the home. Our goal was to reduce smoke and fire wood by increasing cooking efficiency.
We stayed in Chavadi Pudur, a village about an hour away from the agency. Our first week there we met a nine-year-old boy named Mahanderen. When we were in the village Mahanderen was always around us. It felt like he was doing his own research on foreigners getting accustomed to village life.
The children in Chavadi had been exposed to foreigners' camera lenses, in fact, it was their favorite of our accessories. Mahanderen, in particular, was fascinated about having his picture taken. As soon as he saw us handling a camera he would say, "Uncle, uncle...photo!" and smile wide. We took so many pictures of him that he got stuck with the nickname Kodak, as in "Kodak moment".
Personally, India softened my heart. It is a beautiful place full of beautiful people. With this book I intend to not only show some of the people I crossed paths with, but also to tell you a little bit about this magnificent country called India.
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