PeopleVarious encounters

India has such a great array of peoples: Hindus, Muslems, Christians, Sikhs, dahlits, untouchables, Punjabis, Tamils, the burgeoning middle class. This section is rather loose, inasmuch as it is not defined by any particular criteria such as place, race, religion, caste, or social status. It simply recounts interesting encounters with people during my travels.

The following are the articles in this section.

  » A roadside hawker

  » India's beggars

  » Importunitsts

  » The commode seller of Cuttack

  » The leg breaker of Madras

  » The human mosquito of Srirangam

  » Caste

Read on...

Read the first article in the series, about India's roadside hawkers.

I stop to watch a man across the street, standing by the kerbside, hawking up phlegm. In every city I had visited I had seen men such as he, kneading their stomachs rhythmically and making harsh yet controlled noises in their throats as they clear their lung tracts of fluid. For many, it is a routine to start and end each and every day. I had never appreciated their efforts before, not quite understanding what was wrong with them. Were they ill? Some kind of disease? The answer is yes; but the illness is the city, and its contagion is inescapable.

Available for purchase now

Sheldon's account of his overland travels around India, A River of Life, is available for purchase now. Buy the e-book from or, or the paperback from or (also available in other countries, search Amazon for more information).

The first instalment, A River of Life, Book 1: Travels in the North, is available separately (e-book format only) via or The second instalment, A River of Life, Book 2: A Tour of the South, is available via or


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