All posts filed under: A Photo-Ethnographic Study

How i found my Will? And sooner my health. The Kushti world of Ancient Indian Wrestling: A Photographic Essay -II

It was a week later, since that night of inner churning, when I met Sangram Singh again, and for the first time at his one room flat in Delhi. And most interestingly, he was already drinking, since sunrise. His whole house smelled of tobacco. Lights not brighter than the ones we sat under, in his auto. The green wall behind him wore a Hanuman calendar of the previous year. His eyes swollen, pointed, looking towards me, followed my gaze from the wall to the glass that was kept at the low table beside his bed, rum still left in it. “It’s not good for a wrestler, you know”. He picked up the glass and emptied it in one gulp. When I was young even the smell of this bothered me, but now it’s my nectar. It is this, which makes me feel alive. But Narayan, you look different today, Sangram suddenly getting aware of my presence. You seem all ready? He said looking at my camera. You wanted to see the wrestling place, right? I …

A Dip in the Rivers

From time to time, a dip in the river changes your perception about that river you just became with. She starts knowing you and you her. To start with, first of all she calms you down. Slowly changing your inner nature. And gradually of the outside. It may even happen that hundreds of dips later over the years you may start earning some qualities of that river. Your temperature of the body gets strengthened and so does your smile. And if you are open as you naturally should be, like a child; your ever expanding nature will carry you then to the places that can only be created behind your closed eyes. Sailing along patterns of current, looking at forms, colours, patterns, walls, speculating other dimensions in the dark, to the sounds of birds and leaves, of burning dead trees and water ripples, hearing bodies visually and later, very slowly language. Sometimes a small reaction changes the whole tail of events. Sometimes the start itself is the end. But the dip is important. Because that …

When Krishna calls. A dream life of an Australian Photographer from Paris : Travels in Vrindavan

“O Krishna, the stillness of the divine union, which you describe, is beyond my comprehension. How can the mind which is so restless, attain lasting peace. Krishna, the mind is restless, turbulent, powerful, violent. To tame the mind is like to tame the wind.” – Srimad Bhagvad Gita  I was in my early teens when on my grandmother’s fierce insistence, parents took us on a tour to Mathura and Vrindavan. Krishna had supposedly entered my grandmother’s dream. She lost her sleep, and waited for that day when she would touch the earth of Krishna’s birth. And encircling the epical, ancient, holy Govardhana hill,  गोवर्धन पर्वत on her bare feet. The sun was setting in the land of braj as we arrived, the winds started blowing, grandmother’s eyes went backwards; her body calmed, voice started mumbling the words known to every wall and each monkey sitting on them, as they could  be heard from myriad mouths. Narrow lanes of brick, tall walls wearing Mughal attires turning holy, as the time turned blue like romance, the colour of Krishna, Yamuna …

The motorcycle, Dalai Lama and the Meal – I

Few years ago, I was travelling with once upon a time a beautiful friend. And like all great friendships do, we were growing up becoming something together. And during this long period of growth had found our confidence, our speech, as we took travelling to many a distant lands and one land far; discovering treasures together that helped us earning our eyes, my outer nature and his inner, we learnt together and kept going.   The sun had set again. And unlike last night that had just blown in; we should have found something, somewhere to rest, to eat by now. But here we were still riding, and had been riding our motorcycles for last two, twelve-hour days, while living through one gruelling moonless, freezing night in between, that started late yesterday noon, when we were stopped, stunned to see a river that had come on the road. We parked and got down. One spring had broken loose. Pulling in all mud, the boulders, rocks, with an intimidating noise, and the force of the coldest water …

A Journal of Animal stories in the last ancient fair of Nepal

“There is no other no other culture on earth that worships a woman as a goddess. And has gone to lengths, to make her happy, satisfy her with whatever means a man could imagine. Honoring her, doing little things, like this fair to keep her happy, may be to create another excuse to celebrate, however irrational it may be. Because you see, someone told me on this journey, that if in a family, a woman is happy everything will be favourable. Our goddess needs to happy, at any cost possible” GADHIMAI FAIR : A Journey through the culture of Nepal A sparrow woke us up. After travelling for three days overland, from Delhi to Kathmandu; changing buses including sharing a seat for seven hours with a goat. Through the night, travelling in a time travel bus I was transported from a civil society to a town living thirty years back. A town darkened by the moonless night, wearing a layer of fog only dissected by the headlight of a second world war Mercedes truck. Few …

SINGSONG : Finding the Father with the golden voice of Cambodia – A Photographic Film

In December 2018, I rented a bicycle and started recording songs of the people I would meet in my travels around in Cambodia. Through the sound filled in my ears I slowly started seeing. But few days later I realised listening, sitting in a room that all the songs that people sang were of the same singer. Sinn Sisamouth, the father with the golden voice of Cambodia. I started researching on this singer and soon learnt that Sinn Sisamouth was the most revered singer of Cambodia and South-east Asia then. He had gone missing under mysterious circumstances and was most likely killed in 1976 by the Khmer Rouge regime. And his songs were banned for the next four years to come. Khmer rouge was in power from 1975-79. It is estimated that the brutal regime claimed the lives of more than 1.9 million people. That was around 28 percent of the total population of Cambodia, eliminated. The regime tried to control and take the country back to the Middle ages, forcing millions of people from …

Bateshwar Temples from the eyes of the legendary Archaeologist KK Muhammad: A Photo Essay and FILM

My earliest memory of meeting KK Muhammad was in his white room, filled with books to the brim, touching the tall old roof of the Red Fort Complex, his newly ancient home. Astounded, I asked him if he would ever finish reading all these books! Smiling, he said, “Narayan an age comes when you don’t keep books to read them, they read me daily instead. I only use them for references”. Somehow I carried this memory for long, and since then had no guilt for keeping as many books myself, thinking either way of someday reading or at least being read by them. I also remember him today as he came out to be one of the most important person who was behind the archaeological excavations at Ayodhya, that according to him clearly indicated the presence of a temple below the mosque. Father of one of my filmmaker friend, with whom i was fortunate to work together in the making of this film, that became a tribute, a testimony for his commendable and courageous work …

In loving memory of Dhapodi Ji

Dhapodi ji became a shepherd once she learnt that she would not be able to give Ambaram any children. I saw her whole life as she slowly walked away, Limping for her daily work. She looked after seventy goats and four cows. Takes them all together for grazing daily finding newer fields and trees to eat from. Meanwhile Ambaram married again, in search for a boy the new couple got five beautiful talkative girls before a quiet boy arrived from the younger wife. All children are going to school except the youngest girl. I remember Dhapodi jiji because we never spoke. Over all It must have been over eight days as she brought me tea each day and food in the night before leaving to her hut. Falling sick around her was like i became her new goat. She gave me home medicines like my mother is giving me now for cough. One night when the family had gone out, i found her working in the candle light in the kitchen. I asked her if …