Things at home are heavy. Hospitals seem to drag themselves into our living room. It is difficult to think about anything but cancer and babyR’s violent attention-seeking behavior. But I try. I keenly search for moments of joy and normalcy.
Yesterday, while going through my Travel photos, I realized I would be away in an unknown city right now if not for the pandemic. Not that I mind being home, but I miss the adventure of discovery. In this photo series, I am trying to see my home as an unknown city and love it newly.
I stand in Juna Bazaar and stare as sweat trickles down my back and life happens around me.
Today, babyR learnt the concept of ‘tricking’. That you can say something and do something else to prank someone was so novel to her that it is exciting. She asked for my ear to whisper a secret into, with the intention of yelling into it, but just end up giggling.
“Dida, bring your ear coser to me, I want to tell you a secret” Brings ear close. Babyr, with her lips touching my ear giggles-attempts a shout-but starts laughing again, runs out of breath. Starts over”
Dadi and mumma are making sheera.
I didn’t study history in school. They taught- badly- but I didn’t get a word in. So, I spent a lot of my adult life trying to understand the wider past. The more I understand, the heavier it gets.
Victoria Memorial, 2017
I spend a day at Victoria Memorial, feeling a childlike sense of injustice, and anger that can be done nothing about.
Never in my life have I been asked to sit “like a lady” and if I ever were, I’d think this is what it meant. Women in my village sit like this on the floor and nothing changed when we were given chairs. That’s how I sit. I only noticed it in college, when R walked into a classroom for a lecture and laughed at me for sitting like this in the first row.
In this picture, dadi micromanages domestic chores, from the farthest corner of the living room, in her booming voice.
Bada Bazar, Kolkata, 2017
I walk through narrow lanes, stopping in front of a Khajoor (dates) shop wondering if I should buy some as flies bump into my eyelashes.
R and babyR put up a Jim and Pam skit for mumma and me in my reading corner. All of the skits end with a group hug.
Women create a changing room for other women to change out of wet clothes. I click this photo and it triggers a conversation about consent. This is the first day of our cousins trip.
Our upstairs neighbor dries her sarees such that they flap over dadi’s room’s window all day. Today, I am sick of the yelling outside and the anxiety inside, so I sit at papa’s desk and look at the sarees dance in the wind for a long long time.
On my way to see Kishor Kumar’s final resting place after fieldwork, I see a man working on a bus. I wonder if bus drivers have as many words for bus parts as Eskimos have for ice?
Playing hide and seek with Rajvi is making us better actors.
I realise that I am only ever trying to make photos of perfect sunlight or colours.
Babyr is growing up fast, but still can’t reach the basin. Not even on her tippy toes. I remember the first time I could reach a switchboard without climbing a chair. I became an adult in my head that day.