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The photography portfolio of award winning photographer Simas Lucas Castillo

India's Other Citizens

India's Other Citizens

Simas Castillo

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Macaques, or old world monkeys, are natives of Europe, Africa and Asia. While visiting Vrindavan, India one cannot walk five feet without encountering them. I found myself enjoying their presence immensely, charmed by their human-like characteristics. As with street photography and people watching, each face had a story to tell. 

As I walked through the narrow bazaar rickshaw drivers carelessly sped by, chewing and smoking while motorcycles teased my toes. I exhaled and raised my camera, spotting a fleeting face in the crowd. I only caught a second of it before it moved off and a angry glare too close to human filled my lens. Days later I would find him commanding the same post, impervious to the threats and taunts of shop keepers and children alike.

Amongst the beggars she was nearly indistinguishable from the rest. The same sorrow and thin threads of hope occupied her little body as it did the others. She looked upwards, noticed but neglected, begging but not receiving, 

 A shadow shot over me and I glanced up. He bounced down from rooftop to rooftop before landing on the dusty street, scurrying across. The glint of the mirror caught his attention and he scampered up to investigate. Sensing someone behind him he turned briefly, caught in mid act. Not a second more and he was gone, leaping to and fro above the bustling market street. 

The heat of the day sank lower and lower, diminishing all those beneath it. He moved lazily towards the water tap, indifferent to me or others that walked by. Having drank to his satisfaction he perched on the wall and gazed around with no particular interest, symptomatic of the oppressive summer sun. 

The blazing fireball in the sky sank to the horizons edge as he looked on, reflective on what the day had brought, and what it had not. Tomorrow everything would start anew and he would have the chance to try again. 

A sense of sadness and mistrust hung heavily over his eyes. The years had etched themselves deep into memory and to think anything else would be delusion. He looked on at every one of my movements with suspicion, having passed judgment before our gazes had even met. 

A fraction of time is poetic in its nature. A moment earlier and this would have been a photograph of a curious monkey approaching a bicycle. A moment later and the bicycle sits without its owner in the street. In this moment however the monkey is the owner of the bicycle, and undoubtedly embarrassed about the mishap.