Friendships can begin at the most unexpected times and places.
Whether by chance or by design, Noma, Alex (photographer), Park, June and I met at Sunshine guest house by the calm waters of Dal lake in Srinagar, Kashmir. In this lush green valley, quite naturally an aura of warm company blossomed among each other so we decided to stick together; bonding over meals, drinks, music, and heartfelt laughter. We then traveled together through the recently opened and perilous road linking Kashmir with one of the most remote desert regions of India: Ladakh.
This picture was taken as Alex, June and I were waiting for the bus that would take us from Leh to Lamayuru — the point of departure for our week-long trek through the Markha valley in the Himalayas. Being the only one with a map and trekking experience, I was to be their guide on this journey. Yet I must say that while I led the way in a topographical sense, they were my guides in respect to many other aspects of my life.
I consider myself blessed to have been present at that particular time and place when all our paths met, blessed to have shared meaningful moments and beautiful memories, blessed to have created invaluable friendships, and blessed to have lived so many experiences with them — experiences that are still alive within me; experiences that I cherish immensely; experiences that grew up into a story.
For me, this story is a reminder that behind every stranger potentially resides a great friend, and that ultimately one never knows when such friendships will come to happen and where they will lead to in the end.
- Alexandre Diagle