1978, Srinagar, India
Plate 73, 18x27
This Kashmir neighborhood of Dal Lake was unique because of the way they used the lake. So very, very many boats were used not to travel from here to over there, but rather to live on, to store merchandise, to sell and deliver things to customers. Either the customers came to the appropriate boat by inquiry or seeing the displays, or the boat went out to find the customer. I became curious as to why some stayed and why some moved about, and although I got a number of answers, I would believe it was mostly the attitude of the owner of the business.
This boat population seemed to lead reasonably complete lives. One evening, friends from another boat came over to our boat to visit and stayed for dinner. We had rented our boat as they had theirs. At the end of the stay, we paid a bit extra to our landlord - who had also become our cook. More exciting than his cooking, which was fairly good, was to go shopping with him. Since the boat was large and always rented out, he was a good customer. Most of the merchants sailed by and yelled or made noises so that he would notice them and order what he needed. When he needed an item and the merchant did not have it, he would fetch it sometimes. At other times, he would give the order to another merchant friend, and they would take it out to our boat. Dal Lake, Kashmir is a world unto itself.