Congratulations Dan and Supriya!

Proposing on mile 23 of the Chicago Marathon? Slick, Dan. Slick.

Many, many congrats to the both of you. I’m incredibly happy for you.

In your honor, here are a few good memories; I know there will be many, many more.

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Published: Darjeeling hills of tea ready to boil?

Face

I spent time in Darjeeling at the end of May reporting a political magazine story on the tension in the Gorkha movement after the leader of a smaller separatist party was killed in daylight near a crowded market. That story was published this month in a Delhi magazine and is available online now. The full-text version is also available here.

The photo above is from a massive political rally in Darjeeling the weekend I was there.

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Jai puppy

Gorkha dog

I recently spent a few days in Darjeeling reporting (real, live journalism!) on political tensions surrounding the Gorkhaland movement. A week before I arrived, a minority party leader was assassinated in the street.

The town was still covered in the typical green and white Gorkha colors and other than a good bit of shouting and lots of paramilitary forces, cooler heads prevailed. That story is set to run in July in a magazine.

In the mean time, I give you the above green scarfed dog.

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I among the things I love: lemon tea

Heaven in a glass

I wish man could by lemon tea alone. A Darjeeling dhaba offers peace.

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Darjeeling tense as Gorkha movement heats up

Gorkhas know how to paint

The hillside roads of the Darjeeling region share an artistic vein: Demands for Gorkhaland. Signs are painted everywhere calling for the new Indian state for Gorkhas, Indians who are ethnically Nepali. Green and white flags — Gorkha colors — hang everywhere.

Now, the region is growing more tense by the hour, as a leader of one of the Gorkha factions was killed at a rally. Gorkha groups have been demanding their own cohesive state for years. They don’t want to simply be a part of the larger, Calcutta-dominated West Bengal.

They above and below photos were taken when I visited Darjeeling in January. I was conveniently there during one of the Gorkha movement’s regular, bandhs, or strikes, of area transportation and business, to press their cause to the state and central governments.

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Who needs a supermarket?

Corner store, redefined

Most of my daily needs are met by small-time bodegas scattered throughout neighborhoods. The above shot comes from a strip of road between Darjeeling and Ghoom.

It’s like this in much of the developing world, where supermarkets and giant shopping centers are still a very new concept.

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Like a lizard in the sun

Do you know my mother?

I am a lost little reptile of some sort, maybe a lizard, maybe a gecko, maybe a skink. I was found in Ghoom.

I’m not sure of my identity. I’ve tried contacting a herpetologist at an Indian university to identify me for myself, but no luck.

But I’m reasonably happy basking in the sun. And I’m completely unafraid of macro-focus photo shoots.

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Keep the dung fires burning

Resourceful, them Gorkhas, huh?

Dung rolled into balls and left to dry in the sun. It’s pretty common in the developing world to recycle animal waste into fuel. Or as plaster. Or flooring.

This comes from a front-step of a house in Ghoom, near Darjeeling. During the winter across northern India, poor people use these dung fuel for heating fires. They’re also used year-round for cooking.

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Good morning, Darjeeling

Tiger Hill at 6:36 a.m.

Dozens of Indian tourists come up here to see the sunrise; the cars start arriving by 4 a.m. when it’s still pitch black. People are cheering by the time the sun rises above the eastern hills. On a good day, it lights up Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain.

When we were there, the mountain was a little shy. See below.

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Life’s little details

Darjeeling domestic

I like photos of the domestic, the everyday, the routine. I love the details.

It’s no spectacular photo, but it comes from a street in Ghoom, a little town outside Darjeeling.

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