When my mind isn't scattering in the winds, thinking of spreadsheets and word documents, I see reflections everywhere. It is just a remarkable attraction. My eye roves until it settles on an image within an image. Perhaps it is because then the brain tries to fancy the meaning in the reflections when in fact there isn't any. It is simply the dancing of the lights on one surface and the reflection of the rays into another. We all know that. Yet, the mind expects.
At Jal Mahal, I waited for the clouds to clear for the reflection of the palace in clear and calm waters. I imagined the artist who drew the palace reaching into the water with her brush and softening the edges to replicate reality and make the trees reach just as far down as they go high. Physics at work, imagination at play. With the digital camera it was easy to change the tone, warmth, and brighten the colors to make the pixels come alive.
In Sheesha Mahal, Belgian glass is embedded in the walls and ceiling. As we stood there, a glimpse of Tarun and me snuck into the glass pieces. I am barely there but Tarun's neck and head are clearly visible. I wondered how palace intrigue worked when the reflections gave away the secrets.
As we ate Rajasthani thallis at "Cinnamon" the Indian restaurant in our hotel in Jaipur, images danced in unexpected ways. To our left was a glass pane separating us from the 24-hour cafe called The Marble Arch. Cinnamon's chandelier swung eerily like a spirit on the top left while an orange light reflected on the right as if to guide the spirit. The mirrors in the Marble Arch created further magic from down below while the glass from the other side of us bounced off the reflection. Several images merged into a single story - the one where Tarun and I blissfully enjoyed the stillness, indulging in delicious food, cared for by attentive hosts.
And then I saw the mirrors in the hallways repeatedly reflecting the same chandelier. It reminded me of the playfulness with which I would twist and turn to count the number of images as I stood between parallel mirrors in my childhood. 15, no 18, oh and there's more! These mirrors in the hotel hallway, made the lobby come alive with unexpected stories within stories.
In the evenings, folk dancers came to the hotel to entertain us with their instruments, voice, supple bodies, and tenacious rhythms. These wooden dolls were unmoving but in a strange way their reflections in the glass reminded me of the way a dancer bent backwards as if she had no spine. As she reached in the opposite direction, she willed her body to go through imaginary glass, reach deep down, pick up an object from the floor, and recenter, all the while balancing four pots on her heads. Gravity defying, physics upending, and colorful. Just like these wooden dolls reflecting through the glass towards the center of the earth.
I caught a glimpse of the city of Jaipur in a mirror. The marble floors offered a set of reflections I did not expect. The arch sits perfectly, centering the image and the oval shape of the mirror. The garden looks outwards and beyond that tall buildings.
The outside came inside in this shot, as the reflection through the arch made a synchronized mirror image. Perfectly still, yet fluid. You can even see where the chandelier reflects in the floor below. I wished there was a way for the greenery to reflect too. The mind wanders demanding things not possible.
As I climbed the stairs into Cinnamon, I couldn't help but notice the way the lamps bounced off the mirror. It took several attempts to take the shot without my camera intervening in the mirror. The wall added an interesting dimension of polka dots, as if it were lit from behind.
While we waited to check in, this scene caught my attention. Like an apparition, the reflection of the door in the floor beckoned us. "Come in," it said, "there is so much here."
We captioned this shot "Man in Motion". Humera caught Josh as he leaped up for no good reason, suspended in the reflections behind and around him.
This is one of my favorite photos with Josh. Are we in a tunnel, in a glass house, in the open or inside? Is the sky above us or in front? The building on top of us is actually across the street and what is behind is in the front. There are no trees behind but many as we looked out. I could spend hours reliving this sun-drenched moment in the lobby of our hotel with a lot of glass and the city of Gurgaon bustling across the street. If the shot had been delayed by a few more seconds, we might have caught a glimpse of the subway train on the overpass above us, across us or somewhere out there.