I am always rather torn on the issue of whether you should click pictures of people without their permission or not. As a journalist, it is something I do professionally – take snapshots and observations out of everyday life. As a person, I feel rather offended when I am treated like an object and clicked without my permission. But I’ve sort of realised that my job requires me to observe and record so I overcome my qualms and get on with it. As far as possible though, I always ask permission.

A few days ago I was walking through a subway on a terrible Delhi summer noon and I saw this sight. A mother and daughter sleeping on the cool floor, sheltered from the heat. Unconsciously matching, in their yellow and black outfits. Sleeping with such abandon. In our sleep we’re all the same – this is exactly how I sleep on my side, with the Bean on her belly next to me.

There were monkeys dashing in and out while these slept on peacefully…


35 thoughts on “Coordinated

  1. This picture is scary…. And so are sights similar to this one that we witness almost every day.
    I am scared for the little girl and her mother… wonder how long the bliss (of their sleep) would last..

  2. MM

    Somehow, sleeping on a crowded railway platform seems much safer than this! I remember quite a few Delhi subways as deserted places, that I used to hesitate to use even in broad daylight. Sights like this just make me thank whoever is up there for the blessed life that I live.

  3. So true! When we sleep, we all really are the same. Reminds me of this extremely, annoyingly, nauseatingly sophisticated girl I had in my batch in college. Once she feel asleep in my room while working on submissions, and I exclaimed “Dammmnn!! She sleeps like us!” Nobody got the joke then. Too bad my classmates weren’t as smart as you 😛

    Very peaceful pic.. Very candid. And I am not sure whether it’s because you mentioned it, or because all kids look like Bean to me these days (and I haven’t even seen Bean), but that child does remind me of Bean a lot.

  4. Dont know why felt a lump in my throat..i am a mother who forever fears that the kids will be lost even if i blink in a crowded place. The mother is sleeping peacefully without such fears or inhibitions waking up to see her child sleeping next to her…

    Am i even making sense here…Monday Blues…

    • oh you’re making complete sense. A little later I passed that way again and saw only the woman asleep and no child next to her. I did wonder what happened. But then I realised that these kids are well able to take care of themselves and the mothers know what to look out for. unlike me. I get up even at night to check on my kids sleeping safely in their nursery

  5. I really like this picture, I think it says something when someone can just lay down and give in to the zzzs, the place and comfort not withstanding. I often stand and stare and people sleeping platforms with their families around them and people walking all around them. I don’t know how they do it?

  6. Last year when we went to India, we did a piligrimage trip and went to the interiors fo TamilNadu. We had to get off in a really small station at 3:00 in the morning. We had a total of 4 kids under the age of 7 with the smallest being 8 months old, two seniors, my brother’s family and us and baggage that would put a pachyderm to shame with its weight 🙂 We engaged some people with trolleys to carry the baggage out for us and when we were almost reaching the outside, there was this huge group of men all lying down on the platform and in deep sleep. The coolies woke them up to go to the street and I was feeling so bad that they were disturbed from their sleep, but the coolie was like “Don’t worry, they will go right back to sleep” When I turned and looked, that is what they were doing! 🙂 And here I am with the most comfortable bed, AC is on,the lights are shut off, no disturbance, comfortable sounds of the children’s steady breathing and soft sighs and I still cannot sleep and keep bloghopping 😦

    Somehow everytime I decide to comment here, I end up writing a story!

  7. Just looking at that picture made me cry. Sigh. I know, I am wierd. But you know what I mean, when you just have those tears drop down, not realising when or why? One of those days I guess

  8. if i was sleeping in a bus, in a train or in a flight and found my picture uploaded by a stranger on the internet the next day, I know i would be fuming mad!

    wonder what makes it okay for us [me included!] to believe it is okay to do so to people less privileged!

    • i think its because we are financially better off and have the luxury of beginning to think of issues like dignity and privacy.
      with them, theyre struggling so hard to make ends meet that they havent the time to waste on such issues any less than that. doesnt make their right to dignity any less, just means they dont care. frankly, at that level, theyre quite thrilled to be clicked, unless theres a tragedy going on.

  9. I don’t know what to say. Somehow my throat is feeling choked and there are tears in my eyes. What if someone takes the child away? When I travel by train, A still sleeps next to me on my berth, and although I can feel her there at night, I still hold on to her and trust that my fingers will not open in my sleep. I know it is paranoid of me. I marvel at the two sleeping like that.

    • Can totally relate to that Sandhya, in fact the only reason I continue sharing a berth with my 4 yr old is to ensure he’s safe! And I don’t get a mite of sleep leaning over to check that my 8 yr old is still around too!

  10. I hope there was someone else looking over these two … perhaps the dad or some other responsible adult. As peaceful as they look, somehow I feel uncomfortable … I feel for both of their safety.

    • no yaar 😦
      where do these people have the luxury of someone looking out for them? this is probably the safest they’ve been. A bright summer afternoon and a busy underpass. I wonder where they go at night, though

  11. beautiful pic. totally understand your feeling to ask for permission and your need to click the pic 🙂

    btw, i have something for you on my blog. do come over and accept it! 🙂

  12. Sometimes the situation is such that we do not want to waste time asking for permission.
    Little indulgence is harmless
    Last time I tried non-permission photography, on a Delhi railway station, the result was positive

    Monkey Business


  13. What scares me about this picture is that the mom was sleeping and someone could’ve taken her child without her knowledge. I don’t blame the mom though, as she is probably just tired and wants to catch a quick shut eye. That could’ve been me, except I dont’ think I would’ve had the guts to sleep in public while my baby slept too.

    And on the less serious side, when I saw the picture without reading the post, I thought it was you and the bean.

    • but at that level (they’re probably rag pickers) the kids are so much more street smart. the girl wouldnt go quietly. and you know, i’ve slept on the madras platform many times as a kid 🙂

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