The Hot Pot Blog

October 28, 2012

Early Morning at INA Market

INA Early Morning_MG_1721October 26, 2012

The morning light here in Delhi is amazing.  After living without the sun for the better part of two years, I just can’t get enough of all that lovely, dusky, golden light that comes at the beginning and the end of the day.

So when a girlfriend of mine here suggested we take the babes with us for an early morning Eid shoot near India Gate, I said “yes, please.”

I don’t know if I would have been baller enough to overcome a 14 hour hellish work day and an unscheduled 1-3am baby playtime session to make it out the door for a Saturday morning photo shoot, but somehow my friend did it.  Will didn’t wake up in time to come with us and India Gate did not end up being as interesting as we had hoped, so we headed to INA market instead.

During the day, INA is a pretty crowded busy place and when I’m there I’m usually bogged down with heavy bags and working hard to stay upright in the narrow alleyways while Will lunges for all things shiny.  Still, I’d been dreaming of a grocery-list free photography outing to INA since the very first weekend we arrived in Delhi.

We got to the market before it opened and walked around a blind corner to find about 2 dozen men in various states of their morning routine.  Some were covered in soap and lather, some were brushing their teeth, and some were already making chai and cutting onions.  Luckily, they were kind enough to take our intrusion with a sense of humor as we averted our eyes to the bathers in their underwear and moved along to more fully-dressed territory.

INA Early Morning_MG_1727October 26, 2012

INA Early Morning_MG_1731October 26, 2012

INA Early Morning_MG_1749October 26, 2012

I bought two cups of chai from the guy above. Lord knows nobody else was buying the tall 10 rupee cups he sold me (chai wallas tend to trade in tiny, thimble sized cups for 5 rupees or less) but watching this chai guy happily, theatrically, pour the tea was certainly a lot more fun than arguing over ten rupees.

INA Early Morning_MG_1751October 26, 2012

INA Early Morning_MG_1748October 26, 2012

INA market on Saturday morning was a ton of fun. We wandered from chai wallas to vegetable wallas to restaurant stalls opening for the day.  We watched men cutting giant slabs of ice for the fish market and picked our way through at least a 1000 chickens–in cages, pecking at the ground  and lying in neat little rows under wafting incense.  I watched one man sharpening knives and another pulverizing hundreds of pounds of tomatoes in a specialized sort of food processor.  So many interesting things to see everywhere we looked. It’s amazing just how much work goes into keeping such a tiny market up and running and full of food to eat and things to buy.

INA Early Morning_MG_1735October 26, 2012

INA Early Morning_MG_1825October 26, 2012

We didn’t stay long.  My friend’s little one was in need of a nap and I was anxious to get home to Will and get the chicken feathers off the bottom of my pants, but this was one of my favorite outings here in Delhi yet.

INA Early Morning_MG_1783October 26, 2012
Men unloading vegetables in the parking lot.

INA Early Morning_MG_1801October 26, 2012
Potatoes destined for some sort of curry.

INA Early Morning_MG_1824October 26, 2012
Restaurant workers filling and twisting up bags of sauce for to-go orders.

INA Early Morning_MG_1796October 26, 2012
A fly in a bucket of water and a poor attempt at “artsiness.”

INA Early Morning_MG_1828October 26, 2012
Candy-coated fennel seeds–a traditional after-meal breath mints/digestif.

INA Early Morning_MG_1757October 26, 2012

INA Early Morning_MG_1837October 26, 2012

0 responses to “Early Morning at INA Market”

  1. wendygblog says:

    I love your blog and your photographs are fantastic. I envy the unique opportunities you have compared to that of our domestic post in Tampa, Florida!

    • Dani says:

      Thanks Wendy! I love India and feel very lucky to be here. Some people will always hate India but, once you get used to it (a huge plus, that this in’t my first time here) it’s just wonderful, addicting, fascinating, etc, etc. Hope ou guys enjoy your tour in Tampa and that it goes by quickly and gets you out overseas quickly too!

  2. Stephen says:

    Love that last image, such a wonderful scene and confluence of movement.

    • Dani says:

      thanks Stephen! Got lucky. I have another shot of that guy in which you can actually tell he’s just standing there reading a newspaper as everything goes on around him. It wasn’t as good of a shot as the one in the post but I almost liked it more for the story.

  3. Great post! I am a super early morning person – love exploring at that hour, the morning light, and the whole feel of people getting ready for a day. Thanks for showing a bit of India at my favorite time of day — the smiling faces photos were my favorite!

    • Dani says:

      I’m a morning person too! It’s just my absolute favorite part of the day and I look forward to morning all evening long! Not sure entirely whether its the light or my cup of coffee or the cool and the quiet but I’ve been a morning person since I was a kid I guess.

  4. Love these photos…I can’t wait to arrive in India on Thursday!

  5. Daniela says:

    Yes, lovely indeed! I am enjoying those pictures and dreaming of having some masala chai. Soon…

  6. Ana Gaby says:

    Stunning pics!!! What program do you use to edit them? The color saturation is just perfect!!! I wish I could find stuff I actually want to buy at China Town hahaha….

    • Dani says:

      Thanks Ana! I have to give Delhi all the credit-this is an easy place to photograph! I use Light Room to edit but I have to admit I’ve gotten pretty lazy. I usually use a couple presets and then adjust from there if I need to.

  7. […] The next morning I squeezed in some cookie-decorating and then headed to INA market in the early morning: […]

  8. sara says:

    Amazing to have a trip without Will. Just you and your camera! I love the photos, especially the chai man!

    • Dani says:

      It was amazing in some ways—especially being able to crouch for a shot without it being a tremendous quad workout to get back up! 🙂

  9. Adrian says:

    Fantastic pictures! You’re right, the light is gorgeous.

  10. So glad you have a photog friend, just the kind of companion I need to get over my poor street photography skills. I have a hard time taking pictures of people but if I teamed up with someone I’m sure the dynamic would be fun for the people we’re photographing, too, and I would feel less self conscious. I love the smiles of the chai wala 😉

    • Dani says:

      The dynamic of two people is nice, but I find India a really easy place to photograph because I can walk up to anyone and share at least a few words, ask them what they are doing, how they are making it, things like that. Then it becomes personal and people are generally really happy to have someone take an interest in their work. Very, very rarely do I take a photo and run off (usually only to get out of the way). Most of the time we have some sort of exchange, at least of greetings and “is this ok?” if nothing else.

  11. […] ran into the chai-wallah from this post while we were buying some flour. He remembered me and offered me another 10 rupee cup of chai from […]

  12. I am so envious! I am certainly being called to India… Hopefully that manifests into a trip for 2014. For now, thank you 🙂 I will live vicariously through your experiences and photographs!

  13. […] time I go to INA, I buy a cup of chai from the chai walla I met on my early morning photo walk there a few months ago. Now I have another regular treat: spicy potato-stuffed paratha. The men shaping the dough, […]

  14. […] In India, we’ve visited tombs, food markets and flower markets and taken photo walks around Old Delhi. When I shared my frustrations finding a […]

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