Photographer's Note

Rann of Kutch is an unusual marshland spanning an area of approximately 10,000 sq. km and separating Gujarat from the Sind region in Pakistan. The dry season is extreme as it dries out the marshland leaving isolated salt islands on a vast plain. The monsoon is no different in extremity, as it floods the marshland and the whole area is transformed into a vast inland sea. The salt plains are caused by flooding of the Rann by sea, river and rainwater. It is punctuated by highlands called bets, which have scrub flora and grassland vegetation offering refuge to wildlife. It is located northwest of Gujarat in the Thar Desert. The Rann of Kutch is divided into the Greater Rann Of Kutch and the Little Rann Of Kutch. The Little Rann Of Kutch occupies 4,953 sq. kms and is spread out in the districts of Surendranagar, Banasakantha, Patan, Kutch and Rajkot in Gujarat.

The Little Rann (literally, desert) is flat, featureless and brown. There are those clumps of bushes, OK. But other than that, it is one vast expanse of dry, cracking mud. Several times, I jumped off the jeep and looked around for some object, any object, that I could put in the foreground of a photograph of the scene. Something that would emphasize the enormous sense of open space you get there. Each time, I found none. I didn't get my dramatic photograph, but maybe that told the story in itself. So I ended up taking our jeep as a FG object for this picture. You see, this is a place for claustrophobics. This is a place for moles from the big city, used to streets so congested it's hard to walk on them and they still have cars and trucks barreling through. This is a place for people who think sweaty armpits and frayed tempers on the 8:56 local fast train to work are all that constitute life.

This is a place, let there be no doubt, for those who think places this empty of people cannot exist in India. I was one.

Let there be no doubt, too, about something else. There is little about the Rann that is beautiful, picture-postcard scenic. Thousands of square miles of baked mud can not, does not, aspire to routine beauty. But you can let your imagination fill the gaps: between the clear air, the dazzling night sky, the sheer space, the silence that actually chirps and buzzes and squeaks at you constantly.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7852 W: 324 N: 16061] (56760)
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