Saddleworth Players

Indian Dancer, Udaipur. © StuartColeman

Instantaneous culture shock

Hello , I’m Stuart Coleman and my Indian Travel Expedition is on at Millgate Arts Centre.

As some of you know, my wife Charlotte and I recently spent seven weeks touring Northern India. As independent travellers we followed a rather circuitous route through Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim.

I'd been to Nepal before so expected a degree of familiarity but I wasn't prepared for what met us leaving Mumbai airport. Heat, hassle, poverty, dirt and a sea of humanity and a view of life that was quite simply overwhelming. I looked at Charlotte, as we travelled into the city, wondering why she hadn't spoken for a while and saw she was in shock. She was staring open mouthed as she watched our driver maneuver around obstacles, vehicles and people. Organised chaos understates what it looked like and the cacophony of noise was overwhelming. Tuk tuks, cars honking and people shouting, beggars walking up to our vehicle, putting their heads inside and asking for money; I think it was the first time we had ever arrived in a place and experienced instantaneous culture shock.

Acclimatising is always difficult but it happens. Within twenty four hours we were navigating the city, eating street food and booking train tickets. Our big trip had started and we had once again become travellers. I can't say it became easy because it didn't but the adventure had started and we were ready for our challenge of a lifetime.

I hope the exhibition gives an insight into the wonderful culture and richness of life that makes India so special.

Photographs from the exhibition can be viewed at Stuart's website.

Displayed along with the Indian photographs are photographs taken by Bob and Helen Conway whilst travelling through Burma and the arctic north.

Stuart Coleman, Jan 27, 2016