A simple incident while driving through the streets of Kargil, India taught me quite an interesting lesson.
I was busy taking in the scenic surroundings and clicking away with the camera. My hands were in sync with my eyes. As soon as I spotted something, my hands would race towards the camera.
Then the un-happening accident happened. Well, I had tried asking people for their permission before clicking them. And everyone obliged. From the army men near the Gumri cafe to the women in the houses on the Leh-Manali highway, all had just smiled at me and given me the permission to click them.
A bunch of schoolgirls walking home caught my eye on that fateful morning. As our car passed them I lunged outside with my camera to grab that perfect shot. Their playful smiles would have looked really nice surrounded by that picture perfect frame of sandy rocky terrains. So, I decided to click them.
I looked at them seeking their permission and what lit up their faces looked like a reassuring “yes” to me. But they had serious plans to surprise me. As I clicked away, I heard a soft splash and the next moment before I could realize how badly drenched I was, I was pulling the camera inside and hurriedly wiping it dry.
And before I knew it, I had started laughing. And so had all my friends. We kept laughing for a long, really long time. The incident had taught me something important. In my desire to capture something beautiful, I had broken one of the most important rules of being a traveller. Something as simple as respecting the locals’ right to refuse being clicked.