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Gur Making in Chhutmalpur

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All stories must have a beginning.

The story of Chuttmalpur gur making which I took up from the middle in an earlier photograph showcasing a worker spooning a golden trickle of boiling sugar cane juice needs a wider look at the setting of the place and the relative dimensions of the scenario. So here is this, a first look at the setting of the small unit on a grey blue day of hazy proportions. As you approach the place this is what you see.

The rest of the story is a cut and paste from the earlier take and is repeated here verbatim
------------------------------------------------'\/'------------------ ---------------------------------

As you come out of the Shivalik ranges that form the southern bastion of Dehradun and head for the dust fields of Delhi, you pass through quaint rugged settlements populated by a rustic breed of farmers, tillers, cattle keepers, cut throats and other remanants of the Huns that invaded the country many centuries ago.

Chhutmalpur is one such sleepy place where in the season they crush sugarcane and make "gur". From my early childhood days I remember seeing open fire pits blazing away in the night and workers silhouetted in the flames. The sweet heady aroma of raw sugar cane juice being boiled in large cast iron pans and the leftover acrid tingle of molasses was a smell that one grew up in the valley of Dehradun. It still has the same overpowering presence that it had back then.

I was passing Chhutmalpur enroute to Dehradun after photographing the Pushkar Cattle Fair. It was a good time to stop. There were no other passengers with me and this was like Childhood Revisited.

I am reminded of a book " Rerun at Rialto " written with great finesse by Tom Alter where he writes of this very place in one of his stories. A book worth reading for its simple easy narrative and some unexpected twists that make the stories so much more endearing. That was ages ago. I once read voraciously but rarely read fiction now. This book is a treat and along with books of Ruskin Bond, a beautiful easy read.

Notes on Photography

This was a grey dull day with haze in the air and also mid day. So it is a foregone conclusion that the lighting would never be pheonomenal and the photo never a great aesthetic monument of art.

The photograph has been tweaked with a glow from the high key treatment that you would ordinarily reserve for glamor shots of models. So there are no hard and fast rules as to when to use a high key treatment.

Taken on November 23, 2007 at 1.32pm IST (edit)
Posted to Flickr July 28, 2012 at 10.25PM IST (edit)
Exif data
Camera Nikon D70
Exposure 0.002 sec (1/500)
Aperture f/8.0
Focal Length 18 mm
ISO Speed 200
Exposure Bias 0 EV
Flash Auto, Fired, Return detected
DSC_0821 nef tfm cu br sky dnoised nikhikeyglow sh gr br nik

`Jenn`, M.s. Niloy, Habub3, A.saha, and 36 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. gsjeevi 70 months ago | reply

    Excellent work.Nice captures.

  2. *Lokesh* 70 months ago | reply

    Nice series...lead pic has a story-telling set-up, nice capture.

  3. VisualsDiary 70 months ago | reply

    Wonderful Images! Like the balanced tone..

  4. Bernardo del Palacio 70 months ago | reply

    Lovely composition and framing!
    Greetings friend.

    DUO DE LAS FLORES. DUO OF FLOWERS. ♫ ♫ ♫ (L'opéra imaginaire - Lakmé (Duo des fleurs)

  5. Rajesh. P 70 months ago | reply

    Great series!!!!

  6. Jobarque 70 months ago | reply

    Excellent image !

  7. Rocky Pix 70 months ago | reply

    I understand they did this process in the West Indies and called the product "sacarum" until the name got shortened to the last three letters.

  8. Shandchem 70 months ago | reply

    Looks like a very streamlined system! Beautifully captured!

  9. bamboosage 69 months ago | reply

    Great shots of everyday life in your part of the world!
    Seen on your photo stream. ( ?² )

  10. Khnum-hotep 69 months ago | reply

    Interesting photo, dhanyavaad.

  11. Gabriel Bermejo Muñoz 69 months ago | reply

    Great story in your picture my friend... Good work

  12. Esani (Nibedita) 69 months ago | reply

    Wonderful series. I had an encounter with a similar kind of scene during one of my postings in western UP. Wonderful description. Real unseen INDIA. Wish my kids see this and appreciate !!!!!!! BTW I also liked the the "All stories must have a beginning." bit.

  13. ★ Sandeep ★ 69 months ago | reply

    Nice picture !!

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