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The Faces of Gujarat

A masked performer at the Satpura Monsoon Festival, Photo Credit: Meenketan Jha
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Friendly faces and smiles light up a trip to the Gujarati Hill Station of Saputara

"Arrey Siiir. Bhaiiiya, listen", a 7-year old pleaded as I photographed the Gira Waterfalls in all its glory. Assuming that the little one wanted to sell me one of his colouring books, I turned him away informing him that my wallet was in the rusts. 
 
"Arrey, I don't want you to buy the book", he said grabbing my attention. "Can you take my photo?"
 
Rather surprised by his unusual demand, I booted up my camera and clicked a rather slick looking portrait of the small one. He approved of my photo, claiming he looked like Salman Khan from Dabang
 
Having complied with the boy's wishes, I strolled towards a horde of people. A monkey sitting a short distance away had been garnering major eyeballs. In my attempt to push to the front, I was reminded of the horrors of the Mumbai Locals and resigned to clicking him from afar. 
 
"Bhaiiya, Bhaiiya", I heard as I flipped through the pictures I had clicked of the monkey. 
 
"Take another picture of me", the same boy from earlier requested as a group of 6-8 other kids stood behind him. "But, this time with my brother".
 
And like the earlier time, I agreed clicking a picture of him and his brother. "Wait for a minute," he told me as I waited impatiently to get on the bus and continue my adventure through Satpura, "Now, a picture with my best friend".
 
Having realised where this was heading, I scampered to the bus. This series is of my visit to Saputura and the faces that give Gujarat its rich culture and heritage. 
 
This is the 7-year old who pleaded that I take his photograph
 
This is him with his best friend
This girl is a local from the Baj Village. After chasing her unrelentingly to get a picture, she finally gave in and made this irritated, but cute look
A classical dance performer at the Saputara Mosoon Festival
A group of girls who were gearing up to take the stage at the Monsoon Festival
A member of the Dhol Tasha group performs at the Saputara Monsoon Festival
A young girl who was cooking maggi for customers at her booth during the Monsoon Festival
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