The Best Photo I Never Took

Mysore at the start of a hot and sunny October.

The Dussehra festivities mean the small town is bursting with people.

On a busy road, a tallish Indian man with a huge grey handlebar moustache has a wide basket balanced on his head.  It’s more than a metre in diameter, shallow, straight-sided and piled infeasibly high with bananas.

He keeps his back and neck perfectly straight to ensure the basket is steady, and holds the side with one hand.  He’s riding an old-fashioned Indian bicycle — the classic Hercules type that looks like it was built for battle.  Olive green and heavy.

Riding steadily through the frantic traffic of the hot afternoon, balancing his load of bananas. Back and neck always straight. Purposeful but serene. And this huge grey handlebar moustache, immaculately groomed.

It was the best photo I never took.


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