In January 2013 I spent two weeks in an Ayurvedic Retreat in rural Kerala, India. Although the retreat was more spa than ashram, the rules were fairly stringent. One had to wear the regulated outfit, eat the food prescribed by the Ayurvedic doctor, and remain within the confines of the compound. Beautiful as the retreat was, this last rule, for me, quickly became the most demanding. Occasionally, I would manage to sneak a peak through the gates as the staff entered and left the retreat. The alternative involved a fence, and a dignity-defying jump. The reward for this effort was a momentary glimpse of the people from the local village going about their business. One day, however, I discovered a tiny window overlooking, not only the street, but some way into the village beyond. By peering through that window, and listening for the sounds of approaching people, bicycles, cars, buses, ice-cream vans and tuktuks, I felt connected to the daily life that was so close, and yet so far away. In this book I have collected some photos of the people that live in Kollengode India. I would like to thank them for revealing to me a very small part of India, somehow condensed, through a tiny window.
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