Janet Hseih’s first trip to India was to Jamshedpur. She was involved with some charity work in the villages around the city, until she fell really ill. But that didn’t deter her from returning to the country, for personal and professional reasons.
The host for the TLC show, Fun Asia, is currently in Orissa. The only other state that has been covered as art of the travel show from the continent is Gujarat.
“Seeing the poverty and health issues was very difficult for me as a first time experience, but there is no place like India in terms of the colour and people you see, the variety you can get in one place, so I keep returning,” says Hseih.
When asked why no place in Maharashtra, specifically Mumbai, was part of the show’s schedule, she says, “Most people go to Delhi, or Mumbai when they come to India, but we aim to discover places that are as touristy and are less known for whatever reasons, but there is just as much stuff to see there.”
But Hseih, who has written a book called Travelling with A 1,000 Toothbrushes, has been to the city a couple of times, and made it a point to mention it in her personal travelogues. “It was the contrast that I saw in Mumbai that was really fun,” says Hseih, who was living at the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers at the Gateway of India on one of her visists. “I love photography, so I walked around the place taking pictures. Just minutes away from a grand hotel were slums. What was most surprising was that people were drinking, showering and dumping their trash into the same body of water, right next to a five-star hotel.”
Though she has plan of compiling a book on her travels in the country, she would like to keep it more pictorial than anything else. “India is so visually stimulating for me, and I have some 1,000 pictures of just kids, priests and people. Things that are very every day activities for people in your country are rare and interesting for the rest of the world to see. If I do, that is what I will capture in a book.”