Flared Shift Dress

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Without A Map

On one of my many trips to the Qutub Shahi tombs I was wandering around not finding anything interesting to shoot that day. It was an overcast day which was getting darker by the minute. Then the sky is opened up. It started to pour heavily and I somehow managed to find a dry spot for myself. As I wiped my hair dry I heard a voice singing. I froze. Stopped moving and stood silent. Strained my ears to make myself believe that it was actually singing. It continued full stops by now the rain had laid up a bit my curiosity made me follow the singing. Sitting in the middle of one of the tombs was a young man, probably in his late teens, eyes closed and totally immersed in song. I sat down silently to soak in the atmosphere. It surely had turn serial. These experiences do not often happen and one has to fully soak in them completely. I invariably do not shoot at these times. 

These are the kind of experiences which make photography for me completely worthwhile. Funny part is that I don’t shoot at these times.

It all began when I was about 14 years old. My parents gifted me an Agfa Isoly camera. I then got myself or Nikon Em. I outgrew these cameras within a period of 6 months, the bug had truly bitten.

In India you are never very far from a historical monument. There is one at every turn and one at every corner. I grew up in a house which is about 200 years old in the older part of Hyderabad. Heritage and old monuments and buildings were all around me. I naturally took to liking to these old structures and over a period of time became enamoured by them. There was a certain beauty and romance in these buildings which really appealed to me and I started photographing them in earnest.

To me it is as if these old structures talk to me. I just have to spend time patiently and waiting long enough for them to start opening up to me. Whenever they opened up to me I notice that the clouds up in the sky for doing their own dance and that to me was the perfect combination. Despite the passage of time and despite in many of them being in ruins somehow, somehow each of these monuments have managed to preserve their character.

The brilliant hues of a dancing peacock in front of a dry tree against the ramparts of a dilapidated fort wall soaked in the yellow winter sun in Ranthambhore, the sounds of a temple in the quietest of places like Sangameshwar, the azaan from the most busy and biggest of mosques in india, the Jama Masjid or the beautiful silence of Harmandir Sahib at 5 on a cold Amritsar morning. 

These places have always spoken to me.

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