24-Carrot Value From India's Highway Vendors
Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON
With this week's theme being "delicious" I considered several submissions before finally settling on these two shots. Why? Simply because they are so unusual. They were taken a couple of weeks ago in India, during an eight-hour road trip from Dehra Dun to New Delhi. We must have passed half a dozen roadside vegetable vendors and I was struck by the artistic and creative manner in which they displayed their wares.
I was also intrigued by the bright red colour of the carrots, whereas I always remember the carrots of my own Indian childhood being orange. Then I was told that the winter crop, especially in north India, always produces carrots that are a deep red.
The picture above was taken a few kilometres after we passed through the town of Roorkee and at this point I'd like you to take a crucial element into account. Because we were on a tight schedule and I had a flight to catch, we could not stop every time I saw a photo opportunity. There were hundreds of times I would gladly have stopped to compose a shot, but instead I had to simply wind down the window of our four-wheel drive and try and fire off a shot while the vehicle was moving at speeds of sixty kilometres an hour or more.
This photograph (below) shows a second highway vendor several kilometres away from the first one and at this stage I'd like to point out a few interesting facts, if you haven't already noticed them. In the first shot, you can see the ubiquitous black bicycle that is such a part of rural India (you can see the seat and part of the wheel on the left). And you'll notice that wonderful, mellow Indian winter haze in the background. Then look in the background and you'll see a set of stairs. They are actually "stairs to nowhere" because it looks like the builder has abandoned the project. All in all, some nice poetic elements for a really unusual photograph.
Finally, if you haven't noticed it already, take a close look at the wheels of the vegetable vendor's cart in the photograph below. The metal frame of each wheel is severely warped, leaving each one bent at impossible angles. Not a single wheel points in the same direction or is at the same angle as any of the others. In India, these things are not a problem. Wonky wheels are not an issue, but fresh vegetables certainly are. I guess this is an "a la cart" menu at its best.