New Internationalist

Shyam Tekwani

March 2003

When I took this picture I was documenting life along the Cauvery River, from its source in the hills of Coorg down to the sea in Thanjavur district in the deep south

This is the Hogenakkal waterfall where the river, placid and picturesque until this point, suddenly turns loud and wild and dangerous. It is difficult to fish in a waterfall, but the fish are plentiful, which makes the risk worthwhile for this man.

First he climbs up the sheer rock of the falls and builds a small dam with stones and mud. Then he waits a while, a few hours, sometimes even a day, depending on the time of the year. Then he sets up his nets under the falls and waits with his arms outstretched as his companion breaches the dam.

I waited with him on this day. Suddenly there was a roar. With tremendous force the blue water and the cascading silver fish burst out of the dam and poured into his nets. It was a magical moment. What with the noise, the pounding of water on his body and the fish flying about every which way, this was a moment when nothing else seemed to exist in the world.

Shyam Tekwani, India
By arrangement with
Drik Picture Library Ltd

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 354 This column was published in the March 2003 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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