I used to be an accountant. I spent six years of my life earning an MBA only to wind up being stuck in a room moving numbers around. What kind of life's that? I chained myself to a desk in a dark office, never seeing the outside world, never noticing the people I claimed to love. But now I see. I see the whole world in the faces of children, bright and shining. I see colours and lights, movement and stillness. I want to show the world what I see. A child's glowing face is more valuable than money..
I was overwhelmed when I first visited India. The enigmatic beauty of India always fascinated me. I was standing at a palace at Rajasthan where the princesses once lived. It was a huge building painted bright yellow, which seemed as fresh as dew even after 200 years. There were some women dressed in ravishing yellow sarees. There was always something that fascinated me about Indian attire.
I was quite amazed at the beauty of this place. I captured all the beautiful memories in my camera and cherished it for the rest of my life..
"What do you see?"
"A couple of curious, happy people."
"I see irony of life decided by where you take birth."
"One's destiny cannot be decided by birth."
"Let's not talk about exceptions. Your birth decides from where you have to start and what you get to start off with."
"Don't forget that happiness is a choice."
"These women sitting on the ground are bound to live that life."
"They can have meaning too."
"Given a choice, these people will opt for that girl's storyline to start from a whole new level."
"Finish off your tea.".
"The whole atmosphere is painted with happy colours - aah! the people I mean. I bet this is one of those days. Huh?" he said.
"As much as you think it is, it's not!" Pappa answered the foreigner with a convincing smile on his face.
But the truth of the matter was that the stranger was right. And Pappa told a heavy lie. It was an obvious one; the foreigner could perceive so too, although he nodded like he also agreed.
This residents had waited almost forever to breathe this much mirth swaying in the air..
He wore his favourite pink shirt today. Various tourists, customers of his, had given him some cherished memories. Still, he thought she was special. She had strongly demanded that she wanted to meet his wife, kids, his entire family. She wanted to hear his story. After completing the city tour, he brought her home. He was a bit nervous. Even after telling the stories about so many rulers' lives, he never thought of any stories of his own. As she was clicking some pictures, he thought, "I guess I contribute to this city's beauty as well.".
They didn't look very rich... neither did they look poor. And somehow, they managed to raise their ghunghat and give a smile. On one side was a woman privileged enough to live her life and chase her dreams. On the other side there were women, trapped inside the ghunghat, preserving their culture and values. All women had their heads covered, but one of them covered it to prevent sunlight, while others covered it because they had no other option..
As she gazed through her lens,
She noticed straight lines turning to smiles,
As she peered through her lens,
She saw how it fetched a gleam in their eyes,
As she watched through her lens,
She saw the hues turn intense,
As she viewed through her lens,
She saw affections impassioned and transfixed,
As she observed through her lens,
She saw all the delightful shades of time,
As she considered through her lens,
She saw the world with a renewed standpoint,
As she looked through her lens,
She saw how just an image encapsulated life’s spirit divine.
All eyes are turned towards me. Those eyes, they all see the same person, but each has a different thought running inside their head.
Men, women and children look at me with fascination, hope and curiosity respectively.
As these thoughts come to mind, I ready the camera to capture this moment in time. A scenery of innocence and colours awaits me.
In a few years, i might pull up the photograph to see faces smiling back at me and think how wonderful it would have been if i could have captured the thoughts behind those smiling masks..
I was the centre of attraction.
I had their undivided attention.
I was the highlight of the day for them.
They looked at me with wonder. I looked at them with equal wonder. While I wondered about their clothing, their accessories and even their covered faces; I am sure they had similar thoughts about me. Not just the villages, I faced the same in the cities too.
For them, I was the ‘foreigner’. For me, they were too.
Little did they know, I was very much Indian. Just that I looked different.
After all, I was from North East. .
As she stared into blank space, her eyes in the contrast bright yellow veil could trace out the smile her mother's lips made as she looked into the white one's camera, which frowned on her when she wanted to learn the alphabets and travel the world. Her husband never asked about her dreams. The white skin inspired the people, her ways seemed liberating. Now the little girls were fascinated by the difference. Shackled by the bangles of responsibilities, her skin might not show but she was the one who was blanched..
As she strolled inside, she became aware of the numerous glances she was getting from people around her. It did not even make her a tad conscious because she was getting it everywhere she went. Suddenly she saw these two cute little kids whose unimpeachable gaze melted her heart straight away. Something about the two immensely stirred her. Pulling up her camera, she said, "Will you smile for me?" and winked at them both before clicking. She tried showing the clicks to their mother standing nearby who just stared blankly with probing eyes like the rest of them..
The eyes that were forced to look down upon gleaming at the sight of a pair of eyes capturing the strength buried inside the veils. As curiosity and fascination meets hope and change. As the yellow clad soul held her baby tighter hoping for a life; the one in the hat longs for the warmth. Though we seem so apart in this world, we are both made of the same stardust, echoes the hands holding onto the camera to the one that is embracing hope..
I got down at Ahmedabad railway station and walked down to the road. A beautiful tree trapped my eyes, and my lens. Two little boys in white passed my frame. I called them, they stood still and looked at my lens, hopeless. I asked a pink-shirted cab driver near the station about their problems. "They are lost in this city and want to go back to their place," said the driver. We then took the boys to their village and my frame captured the implicit happiness in their faces..
"Hey look Seema, how beautifully I captured life in your village in my lenses," Cara asked in excitement.
Seema says in disgruntled voice, "No Cara , your lenses are bluffing about the realities of our lives.They are not honest. Look at you and your life, that is freedom and that makes life beautiful. Here we are living life of slaves."
"Dear Seema , you may be right but keep in mind it's realisation of your inner beauty that will make you free and my lenses try to capture that only.".