To Mask Or Not To Mask? Street Life Photos From Jaipur

The world has changed after the coronavirus pandemic. In many parts of the world, people are ordered to wear masks in public places. The conditions vary from country to country. Few countries advocate face masks while traveling in subways/trains and shopping in the supermarket like Hungary. On the other hand, in countries like India, it is compulsory the moment one steps out of the house. Authorities have also directed face masks as a personal choice in some nations like the USA. Most people abide by the directive to wear a face mask in Jaipur. Yet, there are many who disregard this. This is evident in the city streets. Earlier this week, I decided to do street photography after a long break. Habitually, I use a face shield along with a face mask when visiting the market area. Furthermore, I avoid walking long-distances in the market and park my car closest to the destination spot. Using a face shield was not possible with the camera, so I selected the least crowded part of the walled city. The zoom lens allowed me to click pictures from a safe distance. The traffic on Jaipur streets is at an all-time low on weekends; consequently, the bazaars are not crowded. Over here are pictures of the street scenes from Jaipur for you to enjoy this virtual tour.

Street Scene Photos From Jaipur


To Wear A Face Mask Or Not To Wear A Face Mask?

Looking at the street scenes, this seems to the most common dilemma. Here’s more to this quandary.

  • Safe Distance

Safe distance seems to be the thumb rule. Below is a picture of a man waiting for someone; at the time trusting safe distance and a mask to stay safe.


  • Divided World

The world seems to be divided on the use of face masks. This is evident from this photo with these friends in conversation. One of them is clearly not convinced that face mask will keep him safe.


Here is a picture of young street sweepers. Like one of the pictures above, their views on safety seems to be divided.


And yet another set of people. With and without the mask.


  • Safety First

This is one of my favorite photos. This family has taken the pandemic seriously, and all of them are using face masks. A role model?


  • Survival is paramount

During India lockdown in March-May, the hardest hit segment was the daily wage earners. During the pre-COVID world, it was easy to spot them in large numbers on the street. But now, this is not the case. Here is a picture of one such daily wage earner, a Pan Gutka seller in the streets of Jaipur.


Yet another picture of a daily wage-earner, a ragpicker on Jaipur street.


There are many who wear a face mask over the chin. Probably, Just to avoid the fine for not wearing one?

Wearing a face mask in current conditions remains a necessity. Unfortunately, we are not accustomed to the same. This results in lowering our guards. Comfort can be fatal! Here is a picture of a pigeon grain feed seller from Jaipur who prefers comfort over safety.


  • Cover it all

In stark contrast, this gentleman on a cycle prefers to cover it all.


And a few more.



  • DIY Masks

While walking on the streets of Jaipur, it is fascinating to note the variety of styles of masks. The fabric masks remain the preferred choice owing to the climatic conditions and comfort it provides. Simultaneously, one can also witness people using contraptions. It is not because they want to save costs; people have been using Gamcha for centuries in this part of the world. Here is this gentleman unwrapping his face mask before getting into the act of feeding pigeons.


Often, people from the neighboring villages visit Jaipur for work. And they use the most interesting contraptions. They are both adaptive and innovative. The Pagri used for covering the head also doubles up as a face mask when it is unrolled.


This one is probably the safest face masks I have seen, to date!


  • Face Mask is more about compliance than safety for some

And here is another pigeon feed seller in Jaipur, with a make-shift mask, a handkerchief. I’m not sure how effective such masks are when they don’t cover the nose. Some people wear masks to comply with government rules and avoid a fine.


Many people wear a mask without covering their nose. This is either for comfort or due to ill-fitting masks. Here is a rider who is wearing an ill-fitting mask.



There is an abundance of choice when it comes to styles and a variety of masks.


  • The right way

Very few people believe in getting themselves completely covered like this rider.


I came across a flower-seller in Jaipur Flower Market; he was relaxing after selling his entire inventory. Very few people in this morning market in Jaipur were wearing masks. It seemed like we were back in the pre-COVID times. I will suggest people not to visit such crowded markets currently as this is risky.


  • The exception

So when is the removal of masks in the crowded market justified? When you are starved and you give in to tempting street food like Jaipur Kachori?


People are divided on face masks. Some feel this interferes with their freedom. On the other hand, people advocate wearing one for their personal safety and that of others. As with anything, there are two sides to a coin. What do you think? Do you wear a mask when you step out of home?

Whatever you decide, safety is paramount.

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Here are more posts on the street photography in Jaipur “Eye-less” Street Photography  and Face-less Frames -Hands

82 thoughts on “To Mask Or Not To Mask? Street Life Photos From Jaipur

  1. In Wales it is compulsory to wear masks on public transport, in schools but not in shops. Walking the dogs, I don’t wear a mask, quiet streets, I live on the edge of town. It’s easy to social distance if I meet someone.

    In town, a mask always and I carry hand sanitiser with me. Not everyone wears a mask though, but I have noticed more and more people wearing them. But like in your photographs, Arv, some wear them correctly some don’t.

    Nearly all shops have hand and shopping trolley sanitising stations, for you to use when you enter the shop. Some people use them, some don’t. There are marks on the floor to designate the two metre distance, most people observe them, some don’t.

    During the summer months our town is very popular due to the long wide beaches and when we get some decent sun, who needs to go overseas. Unfortunately, this year because of Covid, the town has been swamped and as much as our traders need the visitors for the towns economy, I for one will be glad when winter comes in and we go back to being a sleepy seaside town.

    To Arv and all readers of your blog, stay safe, wherever you are in the world

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks for sharing details on compliance from Wales. Across the world, people have been careless when it comes to wearing masks and maintain physical distance. This is one of the top reasons why there were so many causalities in the USA and a few other countries in the Europe. I guess we are responsible for our own safety. It is still possible that we might get infected despite precautions but still…. This is akin to locking your cycle in a public place and getting stolen.
      I can understand why you are yearning for cold weather. It is just a few months away so you have reasons for rejoicing, Mike.
      These are tough days. We are witnessing more infections as the “unlock” procedures gain momentum. I guess the authorities are desperate to get more tax collection which explains we have rising cases and it is being taken lightly. This too is a controversial topic. But the bottom line is that we are responsible for our own safety.

      Appreciate sharing your thoughts on this situation, Mike. Thanks and you too take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have heard that the pandemic is particularly bad in India. I think that has to do with the extreme population density. Here wearing a mask is mandatory in places where many people meet like in shopping centres. But in a small isolated community, where I live, we just keep our distance.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. How the world has changed with one deadly virus! Smiles have vanished under the masks, fear walks with them when they step out, anxieties have mounted for them who can’t pay their bills, children are cooped up, weary of their digital devices… each person has a different story to tell.

    You have some wonderful shots of people arv, the most interesting one is the one with pagri! Here it is essential to wear masks whenever you’ve to step into a grocery store or a mall. Some beautiful ones have been created and the house speaker Nancy Pelosi wears matching masks whenever she delivers her opinion! Stay safe and keep distance.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. This situation has created difficult and tragic situation. Everyone is struggling in one way or another. I wonder why economy took precedence over lives of people for the US president? I assume it was his advisor who must have weighted the likely death vs economic downfall. It is good that some proactive measures have now been put in place. Some people have taken the current situation positively. People who are exploring a variety in masks certainly belongs to the same. Out here cosmetic companies are complaining of the fall in lipstick sales due to masks. On the other hand, Kohl sales have picked up.
      I’m glad you liked this picture. Thanks for good wishes. Take care. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had come across a cartoon that depicted mask wearing style in India. You have seen most of them on your day out 🙂

    Flaunting the rules had been there right from the beginning. Some people actually don’t care, apparently they are not sensitive enough to understand the consequences. Its also a reflection of our behavior towards community living.

    I know its not very comfortable wearing a mask but at the end of the day its about our safety. Let’s just hope we all don’t suffer for long due to carelessness of some.

    A very relevant post Arvind of the times we all are in together.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Monika, rules in our country are never taken seriously. All of us are guilty at some point or another. I agree it is about safety and also of the ones with whom we share living space- at work and home.
      I haven’t come across this cartoon so it will be interesting to see. Do share or lead me to the same.
      How have you adapted to the new “abnormal”?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My mom had sent it …… ‘safai abhiyaan mein’ it has got deleted. She too has done the ‘cleaning’ hahahahaa ….. I tried to google it but unable to find it. Will surely share once I get hold of it 😎

        Staying within the four walls and spending most of the wake hours doing household chores does get on to me now. I feel blessed that nature surrounds me still (balcony bliss) …… now if here it’s a dull day, then I do feel low.

        I don’t step out much as I start feeling uncomfortable in mask beyond a certain time. To top it the whole lot of things one has to do once they are back home is too much of a hassle. So as well stay safe, stay home 🙂

        So kind of tuning into it slowly & gradually.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No worries.
        The long drives are meant for people like you. Why don’t you undertake one? No need to step out. Even a day drive to Sariska will be awesome in this weather. I’m sure this will be a welcome change.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful pictures Arv. Interesting to see people’s ideas on ‘wearing’ the mask. Here in Calgary it’s mandatory in most public spaces, especially indoors, and most people oblige and wear their masks properly. Now you have me wondering though what they’re doing on the streets and sidewalks in downtown. I haven’t had a need to venture there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Masks are mandatory here as well. It is great that people are taking it seriously. Many people you see in these pictures are either working or on the move. Only for a couple of people might be out without a specific motive. Due to poverty, we also have issues of many people not having enough space at home. So a lot of people cannot stay at home unless they need to sleep. There are also large number of people who live on the streets. I’m glad you decided to stay home during this time.


      1. We re-watched the Nat Geo documentary. Are there still so many monkeys in Jaipur? We didn’t see any!? Or is it just one part of town? The most over-run towns we visited were actually in Thailand.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Monkeys can still be found in old city – the walled city area. The best places would be the fruit and vegetable market. If you still want to take it to the higher level, The Galta Ji is a good place. Have you heard about this temple in Jaipur?


  6. Arv, I really appreciated this post, to learn from the consequences of Covid, in India, your images have demonstrated this issue very well and I like the fact that the images are in Black and White, it makes it stand out more the importance of this issue. It seems like it’s a universe issue, that certain people refuse to wear a mask or just half way. Here in California, USA, finally it is mandatory that you can not enter any store without wearing a mask, gosh how many months did it take to come to this law. By now even young people are wearing masks. Stay safe and healthy .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cornelia, I’m glad that an expert photographer liked these pictures. I’m super happy! I agree some people refuse to wear mask because either they feel they are immune or they feel this virus just a hoax. I wish the authorities in the US made it mandatory long ago. As far as I’m aware, some state authorities were more proactive. The president’s approach resulted in a huge casualty. Do you think he stands another chance in the upcoming elections?


      1. Arv, you are right about the situation on the US, the problem was and still is that the government left all the decisions up to each state and their own governor, indeed it all collapsed in a huge confusion. At this point it’s really unknown if the president will win another term, we all hope he will not win, it would take our country in an even deeper disaster as it already is. Thank you so much for your kind reply, Arv. Stay safe and healthy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I get what you mean. The US muscle seems to have waned due to his wrong tactical moves. This only proves that he is best suited for business rather than a statesman. It is funny that one cannot trust what he states. It looks like this election is going to be very interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree the word contraption doesn’t fit well but considering how it is being used, this is the first one that popped in my mind. I don’t think people are unaware of the situation considering the lockdown and resulting disruptions. My best guess if that people feel they are strong enough to get infected from virus. Or may be they feel the virus will prefer not to choose them. Either ways, it is a faulty assumption. I suppose you liked the pictures. Thanks for taking time out and sharing your thoughts. 🙂
      Where are you based?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. The pictures look amazing. FYI I’m a girl from southern part of India…I think more than the virus the people feel threatened of poverty. Since the pandemic has turned the life of many daily wage labourers upside down, they may feel accustomed to the pandemic. I agree that may not be the right approach.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Happy to come across someone from the my favorite part of India! I agree this pandemic has been difficult for daily wage earners. Considering our social and governance system, it is very hard to support these people financially. While the governments sanction a huge amount of money for their benefits, somehow the “system” it siphons off and money ends up elsewhere. A great irony. BTW, which part of S India?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Thanks. I agree there are many unexplored historical sites. I have been to TN many times but never explored much. Somehow things doesn’t work out whenever I plan something. Perhaps, someday!


  7. O Arv, I feel you have captured every type of mask-wearing skills our countrymen knew. 😃 It is really funny as well as irritating and frustrating to sometimes see people behaving strangely with the concept of the mask and no mask. Sometimes you get to see a variety of masks – starting from the proper mask (again with a variety of normal mask to N95 to the designer types matching with their clothes) to the DIY mask made of anything to the funniest one flaunted by mostly the middle-aged ladies in some neighbouring grocer’s (picking up the corner of their dupatta or anchal to cover their nose whenever someone is in the vicinity). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, Sarmistha. Sometimes, I wonder which emotion would best suit this reality? I guess there is no single answer. In some cases, it is poverty which drives people to improvise existing “resources.” In other instances, it is lack of understanding. And then there are people who are driven by inflated ego. As I imagined the situation you explained in last lines, it feels funny. To be honest, our country is not suitable for both physical and social distancing. Thank you for sharing these stories and instances. Anyways, stay safe, Sarmistha 🙂


  8. We are wearing masks in public here in UK. I take the Coronavirus very seriously as both my husband and I caught it and had to go into hospital. I recovered but my husband died on 10th April.
    You are wise to be careful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear about the loss. This is a serious situation which people ignore. I hope you are completely okay. Were some areas in the UK impacted more with the virus than rest of the UK?


      1. Thank you arv. Our area in the Cotswolds was badly affected because there was a big horse racing event with thousands of spectators in March before anyone knew how bad the virus was. The bars and restaurants and hotels were full of people from all over the Uk. This helped spread the virus locally.
        My husband was vulnerable as he was on dialysis so he couldn’t fight it. I was stronger but am still not back to my usual fitness.
        And emotionally I am struggling.
        I don’t think I will ever be happy or positive enough to write my blog again.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Ek taraf to bata rahe ho ki people should avoid visiting crowded places aur doosri taraf kachori dikha rahe ho… Kitni galat baat hai!!

    Just kidding 😂😁

    On a serious note I personally feel no matter how much government try to make the situation better, if people are not even willing to wear mask… no one can help them. In Bangalore also the crowd in certain small restaurants gives you a scary shiver.


    1. I get your point but considering you are an accomplished cook, it is not difficult to make Kachori yourself. I 100% agree with you. If people don’t accept the idea then it can only be implemented with a law and a strict enforcement. Unfortunately, enforcement is always an issue out here.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great photos, frustrating part for me is the way people choose to wear a mask. Honestly if it isn’t covering your mouth AND nose, there is no point.


    1. Great. I’m glad you care for yourself and others. This definitely reduces the exposure. Thanks, you too take care and stay safe. I suppose the situation is under control in your area.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. In the US, we have to wear a mask if we’re going into a public building. But we don’t have to wear one if we’re outside as long as we’re not participating in any sports. There are some who don’t comply with the order and that makes it hard on the institutions because they have to enforce this order and they don’t have the security training or no-how to do this. It’s a sticky situation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree it is a tricky situation, Lisa. With the kind of message being circulated around through the newspaper, dialler tunes, and social media, I’m surprised why people choose to ignore wearing mask. The results is the big rise in coronavirus positive cases.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow – I totally missed this post in my feed. Thanks for reminding me in your comment. The photos are lovely and I love that they’re in B&W.

    Wow – so interesting to see there. We see many of the same things here – masks on the chin or under the nose, neither of which is very effective and in many cases actually encourages the spread as now the outside of the mask is potentially infected and then when you put it on you end up getting particles on your hands and then whatever you touch becomes dangerous.

    Interesting to see that you require a mask when walking out the door. I think that there’s an advantage to that. Here the guidance is a little ambiguous – wear one in indoor public places, on buses/subways/trams, and “outdoors when you can’t socially distance” – this last one can be contentious as it is open to interpretation.

    I think one of the big problems we’re facing in terms of getting more people to wear masks is the false impression that it is primarily for one’s own protection. While it may give *some*, it isn’t demonstrably effective. The whole point is protecting others. And so, when I see people not following the rules I think either they don’t understand this or they don’t care about others. The other mask-related thing I think is related to this is that the masks that actually *do* protect you – the ones with filters in them, generally have filters only on intake. There’s a valve that lets *unfiltered* air out. So if you are wearing one of those you might be protected but if you happen to be sick already you’re now spreading it to everyone.

    Strange times indeed, that’s for sure. And it will be so for a while. We’ve got at least 2-3 months more for Phase 3 data to come from various clinical trials, then they must be reviewed/approved. So in early 2021 we might see an approved vaccine – but the time it takes to get from that point to our neighbourhoods could be quite some time. I can’t think of any distribution effort made at this scale in history. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Todd, you are right over there with wearing masks not just for yourself but also for others. I feel strange when people in the US are demanding the removal of rule for wearing masks in public spaces. Isn’t it obvious to these people that it is important for mankind and it is not about personal freedom? Even here people have a casual attitude because they haven’t visited hospitals and haven’t had a real encounter. The whole “Chalta Hai” attitude (which you have experienced in your multiple trips to India) is dangerous to the whole society.

      While many people are optimistic about the vaccine going by the fact that there are many nations trying to develop one but it is a tricky thing. The safe vaccine requires a couple of years to experiment and analyze. Unfortunately, the current situation demands otherwise.

      You too stay safe.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Such vivid frames and even more varieties of masks! I have noticed quite a few during the occassional walks around my place and just like you, have observed people wearing them in all manners and styles. Sometimes I wonder if it’s down to the lax attitute that the Indian society at large has shown towards anything that concerns safety? I have noticed this time and often in how people don’t think twice about flouting a rule meant to keep them and others safe. Jaywalking when the signals are red, crossing railway tracks, spitting in public places, incorrect disposal of garbage and sometimes toxic waste and now this. Although I agree that this isn’t a problem concentrated to the Indian society, but given the unique conditions of high population density, low per capita income and inadequate healthcare facilities, I was hoping people would do their bit by wearing masks properly. Alas! I was expecting too much.
    Thank you Arv for continuing to share a slice of Jaipur with us even during these testing times 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so right. Sometimes, I feel the way we behave is because of how we grow up and situations. While we might have endured many rules and regulations during the colonial years, things aren’t the same. We have so many laws but poor or no adherence/monitoring. “Chalta Hai” is everywhere. People have access to “adjustments” and alternatives making implementations difficult.
      Another interesting thing to note is that literates also behave like illiterates when it comes to following rules and trash.
      Let’s hope sanity prevails afterall masks and distancing is the only option we have at the moment. Safe vaccine will take a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This is such a great selection of photographs of people wearing masks in Jaipur, India. It is brave of you to venture out during these times. Agreed, there are many kinds of masks one can choose to wear, from surgical masks to DIY fabric ones to a cloth around your face. Here in Melbourne masks have been mandatory for some time now – mandatory when we go out for a walk and to the grocery shops. I don’t mind, and even if there wasn’t this rule I’d still be wearing one in these times.

    I do understand people have been divided over wearing masks, and you are right in pointing that out. Some people have medical conditions and can’t wear one. Others feel it is imposing on their rights when forced to wear one. Everyone will have their own opinion on masks. Interestingly enough in quite a few Asian countries where most are compliant with mask wearing, things doesn’t seem so bad with lower cases.

    I have been seeing in the news things are quite concerning in your part of the world, Arv. I hope you are doing well and stay safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the current situation is less about freedom and more about surviving; both life and finance! I hope people understand this faster. I agree things are not exactly great here but it is not alarming. But then we don’t have extensive testing facilities in rural areas so we don’t know. The world is going back to lockdowns but I suppose that’s one path the govt’s here won’t choose.
      How is it in Australia, of late?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Health comes first. At least that is what I think, and I know a lot of people who think the same. As the world is going back into lockdown, Australia is opening back up after our second wave. Hopefully cases will be more manageable now moving forward here.

        Liked by 1 person

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