The girl in the picture cannot be more than 8 years of age. And, in keeping with the traditions of this age-old performance art, she, likely, started her career at the age of 4 or 5. This means that she must have started practicing as soon as she started to walk. Long, unimaginable sessions of 5-6 hours of rigorous work under all kinds of weather conditions, from unbearable heat to torrential rain.
In 1896, a peripatetic J M Synge met his fellow Irishman, W B Yeats, who told him, reportedly, "Go to the Aran Islands, and find a life that has never been expressed in literature.” Synge took the advice, spending five consecutive summers on The Arans, and writing a definitive work called ‘The Aran Islands’.
Along the highway between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad in Gujarat, there is a little-known village called Adalaj. Its biggest claim to fame is its five-story, eight-sided stepwell, called Adalaj ni Vav -- a singular architectural marvel from the fifteenth century. Carved elaborately and intricately from stone, it took some twenty years to get built.