I saw these two girls twice while visiting Semmandakuppam.

The older one walks with a gypsy sway, enchanting  in its wild, unstudied grace. When she smiles, her clear green eyes are glowing, infinite. The toddler on her hip, probably older than she looks and not necessarily her sister, is an equally haunting extension of her.

She is fourteen, but looks at once childlike and eternal. She has Eden in her eyes.

But then again, perhaps we diminish the sublime when we try to harness with speech the unspeakable. 

On the side of the dirt road, about a hundred feet from where I met them, there is an isolated oleander bush with purple blooms, seemingly misplaced among sprawling sugarcane crops.

Crushing these blooms and mixing the sap into milk is a common, native method of female infanticide.

© Noelle Garnier, 2012.

© Noelle Garnier, 2012.

This is who lives in the midst of poverty, obscurity, and filth. A life, a heart, a soul. When I look at these pictures, I see not only what I remember about the village, but a reminder of the dynamic, unearthly contrast of joy and pain in India.

Just a few steps away from the oleander.


2 thoughts on “Oleander.

  1. The top picture is beautiful and terrible all at once. The little girl’s eyes are so wide and innocent… the single tear trailing down her cheek breaks my heart whenever I look at it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s