Smiles of India: On a mission to spread Happiness!

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Anyone following my work would already know how much I love smiles. So every time I click someone, I often go out of my way to make them happy, to bring a smile to their faces. This often requires making jokes (I am terrible at that and people generally laugh over how bad my joke is), making faces (works best with kids), jumping around and more.

A woman paining a beetle nut...

So starting a series called 'Smiles of India' where I will be sharing smiles of people from across the country. Needless to mention, each smile will be followed by a story as well. I am supported in this endeavor by Himalaya and I encourage you to check out their blog for more details on each of these stories.

Raghurajpur - the home to Pattachitra paintings, Odisha

My search took him to the outskirts of Bhubaneshwar – Raghurajpur that is a heritage crafts village, known for its master Pattachitra painters - an art form which dates back to 5 BC in the region. I tried to capture the way the inhabitants celebrate life through artistic expression.

Two sisters sharing a laugh while working on a painting...

From girls as young as eight years old to the elder most lady, women in every house of Raghurajpur passionately indulge in the art of Pattachitra. Earlier, women were only known to paint the lacquer coating, however today, we see them bringing in innovations. Married women are encouraged by their new families and especially men, to learn the art technique and let their creativity soar.


However, Raghurajpur is not the only crafts village in Odisha and there are many many more. Read this article with some gorgeous images to know more: The Craft Villages of Odisha

Pune - the Katta culture of the youth

In Pune, I shot the youth immersed in the “Katta Culture” that is so intrinsic to the city. Katta refers to the hangout locations or hot spots for the vibrant youth and is the place where topical conversations flow, young minds merge together, ideas are brewed and profound social issues are discussed.

Young students hanging out at Durga Cafe, Kothrud
Students relaxing at FTII

My journey took him to Kimaya, officially the open air theatre near Ferguson college campus, Café Good Luck at Ferguson College Road, Tilak Tea House on Tilak Road, the kattas near Symbiosis, student hangout zones at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Durga Café in Kothrud and Vetal Tekdi.

Takuya an international student from Japan at Symbiosis campus said, “It is here that I have built relationships with my Indian counterparts. The city has quite a bit of diversity and these kattas have helped dissolve our differences, provided us an atmosphere to bond over a cup of tea and develop a balanced world view.”

Read more.



Mumbai - Resolutions for the New Year

My search for smiles in Mumbai took me to the iconic Gateway of India, Colaba Causeway, Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbaidevi Temple, Vivtoria Terminus, Juhu Chowpattty, Kala Ghoda and Marine Drive where I interacted and quizzed the hawkers on their aspirations and what is it that they want to achieve in 2016. Entrepreneurial ventures, improvement of quality of life, healthy living, valuing relationships more, accessing sophisticated education and being more tech savvy topped the Mumbai hawker’s things to do.

A flash of colors at Haji Ali...

Rajesh, a helicopter toy seller said, “I want to build my body with exercise and good food and I aim join the police force by the end of the year.”

Manas Majumdar, a food hawker at CST expressed his desire, “I have been working with someone else for years now. This year I want to change that and start my own business.”

Making bubbles at Marine Drive...

Very interestingly Akhtar Ansari who has a small ittar shop at Haji Ali said “My resolution is to be able to contribute towards nation building, and continue loving all my countrymen.”

Harish, a helper at a food stall in the lanes of Kala Ghoda said, “I am done with using a micromax phone. I want to save up more money and buy a nice Sony phone this year!”

Read more.


Ahmedabad - Stories of celebration during Uttarayan

In Ahmedabad, I travelled across popular lanes and markets in the city to gather insights to what Uttarayan means to locals and capture their special moments around the festival this year. My journey took me to Manek Chowk, Khadiya and Teen Darwaza at Old Ahmedabad and Jamalpur the biggest kite market.

Shweta giving a confident smile :)
Jaideep Mehta and his wife Ruchi

Relaying their experience about Uttarayan, Jaideep Mehta and his wife Ruchi- a couple from old Ahmedabad said "This is a community festival and so we keep our house open for two days. People come, share our meals, fly kites on our roof and celebrate with us. This time we could host about 300 people - both Indians and foreigners and that’s what made Uttarayan memorable for us this year"

The festival this year brought back childhood memories to Shweta from Baroda, who returned to the city after five years to be with her family, "This year is really special for me as I came to my mother's house after 5 long years and what better than Uttarayan. The lanes here make me nostalgic as I use to fly kites here as a child and was very good with kite fights”.

“I wanted my daughter also to experience the beat of the city and happiness that prevails around this time”, adds beaming Shweta.

So is this it?

Most certainly not. I am a man on a mission and my mission is to capture smiles and spread some happiness. We have enough to worry about anyway all around us, but if I can give you some moments of smiles, I would consider my work half done :)

Himalayas Drugs is my partner in this mission and all the stories are published in detail on their blog - Smiles of India. Do check them out and don't forget to share them with your family and friends - it's never much work to spread some smiles :)

I also invite you to join in as well and shares smiles that you collect in the world around you. But don't just stop there, do reach out, make a connection and collect a story as well. The power of collecting and sharing stories is profound. You are welcome to write an email to me or simply tag me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and I will share your smile and story with the world :)
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22 comments:

  1. Sid, you have captured her beauty, both the external and that joy radiating through her eyes. Bravo

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  2. Beautiful smiles. The one guy even made my knees a bit weak ;)

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  3. Pretty smiles....Amazing Photographs

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  4. So beautiful pics :) Great post.

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  5. Nice Siddharth :) Expecting more article on Maharashtra culture and destinations. www.ucab.in

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  6. You have captured the smiles and souls.

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  7. amazing pictures & brilliant but short write up yet truly the culture in pune and mumbai. Loved it. :)

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  8. i love that you help create and then capture the smiles to share them here. :)

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  9. बहुत ही उम्दा .... Really amazing article ... Thanks for sharing this!! :) :)

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  10. Hi Siddharth. That's a pretty good article. Thank you for mentioning us and linking back to our website.

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  11. Great Work of yours spreading the message. We should not just live but live LIVE

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  12. Great Smiles. there are many things which you have to cover "kyunki india bahut bada hai"

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  13. A beautiful concept laid out in a beautiful way! Smiles connect people and places like nothing else can.

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  14. Hi Sid, i'm Swapnil i've been reading your blog for a while now
    I'm so inspired by smiles of INDIA could you help me start my travel journey
    i am a bit confused as my parents don't seem to agree to my thought of travelling
    they want me to have a proper 9 to 5 boring ass job and get married
    But i want to travel the world and i have something similar to your mission to spread happiness love and smiles wherever i go
    i would appreciate your views on this awaiting your response on swapnilrathod5692@gmail.com

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  15. Great Smiles. there are many things, india.. explore india ...

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