‘Borrowed Time’

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller” – Ibn Battuta

Its been just about 2 years since I took my baby steps towards travel and its been one hell of a ride. Extensive travel across India and few countries around has only increased my hunger to pack my bags and get out exploring even more often.  What really fascinated me through my travel was not just walking across the streets, meeting new people, conversations that follow and photographs that are made but the stories that I get to see and experience. One reason, why I have taken up blogging all over again ( after a break of about year and a half ) is because I have come to a conclusion that the only way to justify my travel is by sharing the stories behind the captures. Most of my images when put together tells a story which the individual image may fail to convey. To begin with, I have persuaded myself to share the story of some beautiful souls I met in an elderly home in Srilanka.

“What makes old age hard to bear is not the failing of one’s faculties, mental and physical, but the burden of one’s memories” – W. Somerset Maugham


 As I headed down from Kandy to Colombo airport after a tiring 9 day marathon across the beautiful Srilanka in November 2014, somewhere in between the journey I came across a sign on the road which read “Elderly Home”. I couldn’t ask for a better way to conclude the trip than by visiting these beautiful souls. But before any of that, it was time for grocery shopping, to gift them with abundance of snacks to last for atleast few weeks. 


 I guess there isn’t any greater sin than abandoning ones parents in their age of need. The pain in each of their eyes tells the story on its own. These are the instances where I fail to gather courage to point my camera at them and ask for portraits. I mostly wander around greeting them, handing over snacks and in between capture a frame or two. Its one of those places where words are not spoken ( language barrier ) but most of the talking happens through smiles and body language. 


If there’s one thing I received in abundance at this place, it should be ‘blessings’. Almost each of them made it a point to place their hands over my head with a wide sparkling smile on their face wishing me well, just for visiting them. 

“The surest sign of age is loneliness” – Annie Dillard


“The real sadness of old age is not that you change so much but that you change so little” – Max Lerner 


As they gathered at prayer hall as part of their daily routine, it was time for me to say ‘aayubowan’ and continue my journey to airport.

Just as I was about to exit, I came across a shelf full of medicines. Like its said – “All diseases run into one – old age”. Just before heading out, I emptied my pocket of all the Srilankan Rupee I had and even loaned some from my cab driver and handed over the same to the manager of the elderly home, thereby concluding my visit with even more blessings. 


As the journey continued and the scenic landscape merged into the chaotic Colombo, all I could think of is to count on the blessings and be happy with my share of fortunes, life could be way harder than we can imagine. It’s not the miles one travels but the lessons one gathers through those miles which counts. 

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Website – www.subodhshetty.com 

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Categories: People, PhotoDocumentary, Srilanka, Stories, TravelTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Subodh, great start. Waiting for more stories and experiences..!
    All the wish to your upcoming travel.


  2. Thank you for sharing Subodh, it is a bit saddening but it makes a point of socially responsible travelling. If all the travelers make a commitment to spend at least two hours everyday doing some community/social service in the host country, they will learn a lot more, care a lot more and share a lot more.


    • True that Arooma, As photographers, we all are equipped with weapons to reach out to the public and make whatever little difference we can. If not for a major change , at the least creating awareness and speaking our mind against whats not right should be practised as often as possible. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your feedback. Totally appreciate.


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