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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

I’m participating in the blog tour for Amadi’s Snowman, and at this stop, author Katia Novet Saint-Lot’s shares a photo essay of her life in India.

Saint-Lot has led an interesting and rich life in a variety of cultures, and has an excellent in-depth biography on her website. Having resided with her family in many places around the world, she was inspired to write Amadi’s Snowman while living in Nigeria. Today she shares with us a photo essay of her current home, in Hyderabad, India.”

Be sure to check out the other stops of her online book tour, as well as these other reviews of Amadi’s Snowman:

My review
5 Minutes for Books
In the Pages
Let the Wild Rumpus Start
Mitali’s Fire Escape
Books Together
The Well Read Child
On My Bookshelf

India is truly a fascinating country: rich in culture and heritage, full of beauty, colors and scents – and lots of dust and dirt, too, I’m afraid. When asked to do a photo essay, I decided to show you the things that I see, or experience on a daily basis: a few snapshots of our life in India.

Everywhere around my house, we find these public phones attached to trees, but I particularly like that one. Someone thoughtfully hung an umbrella so everyone can talk on the phone without getting drenched when it rains. And since we’re talking about rain, the picture below shows you what happens in the streets of Hyderabad, during the rainy season, which is called the monsoon and usually starts in early June and lasts until September. One would think that a good drainage system would be one of the priorities of the city’s administration, right? Not so. Which is why it is quite common to see people with water up to their waist, or cars crossing torrents of water, as seen below.

Flowers are everywhere in India. Women wear fragrant jasmine in their hair. Men and women alike string long garlands of flowers to decorate houses, and temple altars. And they create beautiful arrangements. Here we see two flower stalls in the street, and also the entrance of a house, decorated for one of the numerous Hindu festivals.

I thought I’d take you to some of the stores I visit, either because I have to, (if I want to feed my family) or because I like to. The one below is my favorite bookstore in Hyderabad. It’s quite small, we have to take off our shoes to go in, and it has lots of great books for children written by Indian authors.

To find DVDs and CDs we go to Music World. There are rows for Telugu movies and music (Telugu is the language spoken in Andhra Pradesh, and their industry is called Tollywood, after Bollywood, and Hollywood), for Hindi movies, and for international ones.

We have one supermarket called Q Mart where I find imported products like cereals, olive oil, Nutella, cold cuts, cheese, pasta, jams, maple syrup, etc. See me, below, paying for my purchases?

But when I need to buy bananas, I stop the car next to a cart selling what I need. Look at these beautiful papayas.

Shopping for clothes can also be very similar, and very different to what we’re used to in the western world. Women in India wear saris like the red one I’m trying on. I feel like a princess, whenever I wear one. They also wear salwar kameez (see my daughter below) or western clothes.

Back in the streets, now. These little vehicles below are called auto-rickshaws. They have three wheels and are like cheap taxis. You see them absolutely everywhere, in Hyderabad, and all over India.

We also see cows and water buffaloes. They amble the streets: alone, in herds, or pulling old carts such as the one below. Notice the ad? How is that for the modern colliding with the old?

We also see elephants, monkeys, camels, goats…

The elephant above lives in Pondicherry, and blesses people who give him a coin.

The monkeys below were playing on the grass terrace just outside my office window. And that camel often walks in my street. I usually hear him and his friends coming, as they have little bells that tinkle when they move.

I hope you enjoyed this little visit, and that it made you want to come and discover this incredible country someday…


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