It was perhaps one of the most touristy things I’ve ever done in India: a hired taxi to take a curated tour of villages in the Kutch region of Gujarat. It seemed like a good idea at the time – assured access to places that are hard to reach by public transport, someone else organizing my schedule and time to fit many things into a single day. But I felt trapped and suffocated and distinctly disappointed: things were too beautiful, too picture-perfect, too ready and prepared. I missed the chaos and the roughness and the initiative it takes to figure it all out. And most of all, I missed the humanity. Empty shops designed with a foreign aesthetic, ready to please. Villages that were painted just so with men’s faces plastered with smiles and eyes flooding with eagerness. These pictures are instead what happened when I tried to push past all that. When I went behind the shop to talk to the workers hanging out in the back or the women preparing lunch. When I chatted with the children playing in the shade as my other travelers shopped in the craft stores. When I forced the taxi to stop in order to walk through a local market buzzing on the side of the street. I found a glimpse of humanity, but I got out of my dilapidated ambassador taxi at the end of the day wanting more. Click for more photos.