The magazine of the photo-essay
Sept 2016 back issue
Life in a Harbour Karnataka, India
by Lopamudra Talukdar
A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous! Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
Harbours, like Railway stations, have always interested me. They are teeming with people when the trawlers come in but once they are out in the sea, it’s tranquil once again, until the next catch is hauled in. I had the opportunity to visit a number of coastal harbours dotted along the Arabian Sea coast in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka and it surprised me no end, despite the obviously hard life, how colourful and happy the people were. Life in these harbours revolves around fishing. Trawlers loaded with ice, sweet water, rations for a few days and barrels of fuel go out to the deep sea as boats loaded with fish come in. Each morning, well before sunrise, people whose livelihoods depend on fishing, start gathering around the harbour. The place is buzzing with activity in no time: fuel pumps to feed the hungry trawlers, ice making machines installed by the sidewalks, plants making sweet water, transport depots, fish auction houses, sorting centres, colourful crates stacked high and to top it all off, people from different parts of India, speaking in different languages all at the same time. Retail stalls are also set up at the harbour itself where locals can buy the fresh catch in small quantities. 
The harbours are teeming with people when the trawlers come in.
Apart from the bigger trawlers, smaller boats with outboard motors are also used to bring in smaller catches closer to the coast.
Unloading the fish from the trawlers is mainly left to the women, both old and young.
Change of hand and ownership.
The fish harbour may be a messy place, but still they want to be at their beautiful best.
The auction hall, getting ready for some action.
Once unloaded, the fish is neatly arranged according to type and size.
All shapes and sizes…
Busy morning but still lots of happy faces around.
Nets being put out to dry.
Once the fish has been unloaded, it’s time to get ready for another outing.
A harbour is a congregation of people from many walks of life.
Getting ready for the long journey.
Vans being loaded.
Transportation is an integral part of the fish supply chain.
Mute spectators.
Life in a harbour can be a family affair, as this young girl joins her father on the waterfront.
Money changes hands and so does the fish.
As the busy morning activities pass, it is time for the trawlers to get some well deserved rest in the protected water of the harbour.
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