The Beach Parties of Tanzania

My parents at the Beach Disco in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania, East Africa. December 1973

Image and Narrative contributed by Sheetal Sudhir, Mumbai

“These were the happiest days” say my mom, Sandhya (nee Parina) and dad, Sudhir Ramachandran, a photographer.

This picture was taken at a beach disco in Dar-es-salaam called Bahari Beach Hotel. These were times of the early 70s floral hippy patterns and elephant pants combined with an Elvis spillover from the late 60s. My dad recalls that they had just finished an engrossing session of ‘soul’ dancing and were moving to the beach to relax and then a friend clicked this picture, with dad’s very first Hasselblad camera and a large Metz flash!

My mom, a Gujarati Muslim and my dad, a Malyali, got married in Tanzania and then moved to Bangalore, India in 1975. I was born in 1976. Lately, they have been visiting Dar-es-salaam more often to see my maternal grandmother, and my uncles & aunts. In my father’s own words, whenever he sees this photograph, he is in “His fav town with his fav girl…and those were the days!!”

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This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. So beautifully captured! The emotions, the energy, those smiles…really looks like something that Sudhir himself would have shot!
    And so beautifully articulated by the charming Ms. Sheetal :)

  2. Hi Sheetal, I dont think you will remember me as we last met when you were a kid in the early 80″s in chennai. Me and your dad are actually distant coucins. Tell your dad that Rohit Sadanandan contacted you. I am presently working in dubai and family now settling in chennai and my email ID is Pass my best wishes to both your mum and dad. Long since I met them both.

  3. Hi,
    Facebook is amazing. I am sudhir’s oldest pal – from Tanzania.
    We schooled together then did Pre-degree in calicut – St joseph’s college when we finally parted. I went to Agra for medicine and Sudhir to pursue his photographic dreams.
    Met again when we both got married. My wife from Delhi and Sudhir to his wife from Tanzania (his neighbour and friend)
    Sudhir’s family and mine were known to each other. Still trying to find out where is Sushma & Sulehka?
    Send me an e-mail so when i come to India i can try and contact sudhir

    1. Hi Shiven I have forwarded your message to Sudhir, along with your email ID. You are sure to hear from him. :) thank you so much for writing in. You have no idea how much gratitude and joy I get, when people find people because of the project.

      Warm regards

    2. Hi Shiven……do connect me at
      Purushu is with me…he sends you his regards. he was with us at St Thomas Hostel. We were chatting of the good old days!
      looking fwd to hearing from U!

  4. I met Mr. Sudhir Ramachandran in early 1998 in Mumbai Airport. We both missed our flights and were put on an early morning fight next day. So we requested for accommodation at the airport and were asked to share a twin bed room. When he told me he is a photographer, I thought he is a wedding photographer, not the ace professional photographer that he was.
    But then he showed me a sample of his work, I was blown. They were incredible and since I was also keen on photography, I pestered him to share his experiences. We spoke for long time on photography.
    Some pictures I still remember:
    – mysore palace with all decoration dasara lights
    – one temple in Tamilnadu taken from a hill top
    – one picture for bike ad for on a ghat road.
    Most of the work was in large format, which only a couple of professional photographers used to use.
    He also showed me a book on his work under publication by his friend.
    He also told me he was offered honorary doctorate by Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University College of Fine Arts, which he politely declined.

    It was a memorable meeting that I will cherish.

  5. Gosh they look wonderful together – like a fragment of dream . It must have wonderful being young in the 60s and 70s. Things we much cooler back then.

  6. Real nice — Thanks for sharing with the world. Everything about this is so magical and into these we can meld memories and thoughts of the past of our own ….how infinitely beautiful….

  7. Mr.Sudhir Ramchandran, Bangluru based well known photographer..????
    Talking about photographs & memories….I have been modelling ……had privilege to work with Mr.Sudhir Ramchandran for ITC Welcome Group Hotel Maurya’s new Tower in Delhi when it was launched a few years back.One of my best experiences in modelling,it was.

  8. The couple look very bfull! Laughing out whole heartedly!

  9. Beautiful photographs of your Mum and Dad in 1973. so much energy there. Yes i remember life was one big blast those days.

  10. Just love it. I had daisy elephant pants just like that!

  11. what a energetic living image! knowing your parents makes it even more powerful. they look gorgeous and impossibly young. also incredible: how gorgeous and impossibly young they STILL look…

  12. awesome!!!!! :)

  13. What an awesome pic, Sapna! For all you know, Vivek’s parents were also at the venue :-D Your dad’s from the same community as his parents and they all grew up together. Talking of 70s floral hippy patterns, my mom-in-law gave me one of her skirts from the era. So I am the proud owner of a 35 year old, authentic “flower power” skirt! :-D Looks a lot like what your mom is wearing…

  14. This is a lovely photograph. And your parents make a lovely couple. Very evocative of that period. Many thanks for posting this.

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