Photographer's Note

Punjiben wanted me to photograph her, as she had heard I was distributing photographs to certain rag-collecting women. I was trying to limit the numbers at this point, for more than one reason. However, I was transfixed when our eyes met...she is stunning. The other ladies began to pass around a mirror, checking their hair. Punjiben did nothing of the sort...her beauty radiates regardless.

This was taken during my last couple of days in Ahmedabad. During my time there, I did not bond with any of my colleagues...just these women. I really miss them - I am a different person because of them. I feel like I have taken a little of each of them away with me. I hope time permits me to see them again...soon.

Reflecting upon why I enjoy being around these people. Conversations are simple, truthful and straight to the point. There is no time for idle chit-chat.

So, is it because I have things that they do not? Does that, in some warped way make me feel better about myself?

The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas
(Short Story Summary)

The author begins the story by describing to us a magical place called Omelas. Omelas is a wonderful place and the people who live there are happy and do not have a care in the world. At this time, they are celebrating the Festival of Summer with horse races and processions through the city. The sun is shining, music is playing, and the people are dancing. Not only is Omelas a happy place with happy people, it is a beautiful place. Far off to the north and west the mountains stood up half encircling Omelas on her bay. The air of morning was so clear that the snow still crowning the Eighteen Peaks burned with white-gold fire across the miles of sunlit air, under the dark blue of the sky. There is no guilt, shame or fear in Omelas, just happiness. Looking at Omelas from afar, everything seems perfect.

Somewhere in the city, under one of the buildings, there is a small, dark, locked room. This room has no windows and only a sliver of light is able to reach it. There is a child of about 10 years locked in this room. The child is never allowed out. This child is malnourished and neglected. It looks like they have never had a bath or seen the light of day. The only contact this child has with human beings is when the people of Omelas come to feed it half a bowl of cornmeal and grease. The child has no clothes and is covered with sores.

All the people of Omelas know about the child locked in the room. They are brought up understanding that the reason they can live such a happy carefree life is because of this child. The child bears the grunt of all the shame, guilt, and fear of the people living in Omelas. If the child were to be let out, Omelas would fall to the ground. They would no longer get to live the charmed life they have grown to know. They also feel that the child has been a prisoner for so long that to let it out now would be pointless. The child probably would have so much fear of the outside world that it would go crazy.

Every once in a while, one of the residents of Omelas goes to see the child and decides they can not live with what is happening. They leave Omelas alone and on foot. The people leave and never come back. The place they go toward is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. They are never seen or heard from again.

Author: Ursula K LeGuin

Project: Underexposed - Lights in Dark Spaces

sowhat, rosiegirl, prantik, rajju, MayaG, stevep has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Kajal Nisha Patel (kajspice) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 525 W: 63 N: 762] (4542)
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