S. Ganesan is a blacksmith. His smithy is a tiny space by the side of the road in downtown Chennai. When I came across him, it was mid-morning and already getting hot. The heat from his forge was almost overpowering.
Those artisan crafts that have survived in the west are usually practised indoors, away from prying eyes. In India, much more of life is on the street - because, for most of the year, the weather permits that and because poverty obliges people to work in the open. It is a public activity.
S. Ganesan forges iron used in construction sites, the sort that provides the supporting framework for concrete - and given all the building work happening at every side, you can see why his skill is in demand.
He was pleased that I was taking photos. And it transpired that the group looking on were his family: his wife; his son, who works in IT; and his daughter-in-law, who married into the family six months ago. They were happy to be photographed too.
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