They Walk on the Roadside. He Stops to Ask Why.
While on a family road trip across India, photographer Matthieu Paley became intrigued by the people he saw walking along the side of the highway, and stopped to hear their stories.
Some of my greatest memories have happened while on monthlong treks. It may have just been the endorphins speaking, but I experienced moments where my life seemed a clear line—I knew where I stood and where I wanted to go.
On a long stretch of highway between Delhi and Maharashtra, I first saw a fleeting figure on the periphery of my vision. It seemed odd … Was someone really walking on the highway? Even in India, it’s not easy to stop on the freeway, so I drove on.
I saw another on the opposite side of the road. At the last second, I veered into the exit lane, reversed the car and asked my family to please wait.
Trucks were speeding by. The heat coming from the highway was intense. The man was covered in blankets, wearing two different shoes. No bag, no water. He had a determined look on his face. "My name is Binod Yasin. I am walking ahead," he said when I introduced myself.
"But Binod is a Hindu name and Yasin is a Muslim name?" I asked, slightly confused at the combination of the two.
"Yes. Does it matter?