I have been travelling to India since I was 18. India is my second home.
Often people ask me “Why India?” and I get bothered! Why not India? why do we need a reason 🙂 … I believe I had always been attracted by this country when I was a child.
My God Mother had been to India and had shown me her photos. At the time, we had to close all shutters and set up the old slide projector, something looking like this one:
There were some very fascinating colours and we could grasp moments of life, sadness, happiness, … it was simply mysterious and amazing at the same time. I always wanted to be in those pictures and I made this a goal. Initially it was only a dream, I would always say that I would go to India, travel there. I didn’t want to go with anyone! It was MY thing, “my” dream to realise on my own and I did it.
The first time I travelled to India, I was barely 18 years old. I went to carry on an internship at the Corbett Tiger Reserve. My English was pretty bad, my Hindi was even worse, but I managed as I could find a way to communicate with people in non-verbal ways too.
After my first trip, I went back to India every 6 months or every year. My heart is in Uttarakhand because this is where my experience started. I worked with several organisation, mostly NGOs and I also studied ethno-ecology by staying with the Rongpa “Tribe” of Mana, near Badrinath in the Indian Himalayas and published 2 videos that are digital resources at the Musee de l’Homme of Paris: La photo : Toilette à 7 mois de Vishal Ganesh & Offrande maternelle et fillette impertinente, Temple de Mangleshwar, Mana, Village du Haut des Rongpa.
Then I started to think that holidays and internships were not enough and I really wanted to live in India. I was also a bit tired of “fieldwork” and didn’t see myself in villages forever. I wanted a city life where I could work with international people and Indians. I had always been tutoring and I did an online Master’s degree on teaching French as a Foreign Language. After a 6-8 month gap teaching English Second Language in France, I got a job in Bangalore and moved to India. I have been living in India since then.
When I was in Bangalore, I started to learn Bharatanatyam, a traditional South Indian dance form:
Now I live in Pune which is a city located in Maharashtra, about 4 hour drive from Bombay. This is one of my favourite place in Pune, the Aga Khan Palace & Gandhi National Memorial where Gandhi was imprisoned during the Quit India Movement: