Tears rolled down the cheeks of that boy. His mother had just beaten him left and right. He cried out of desperation. The metal collars fixed around his knees might have hurt him while he tried to walk. Along with that came beatings from his mother. His tears melted her. She hugged him and wiped his tears. She was about to cry, but held on.
There is a kind of loneliness poliomyelitis gifts its victims. A feeling of abandonment by the creator. As a child he would easily surrender to that pain unless somebody took up the fight for him. His mother was a woman who wouldn’t give up so easily. She held his hands and helped him to walk. Then she released him to his own path. But, the moment she released her hold, he fell.
Everybody around was walking. Cows and dogs were walking. There was a river nearby which was flowing gently. Even sand on the river bank was moving in the wind. Other children were leaping into water and playing. There was movement everywhere; a movement without pain. That boy might have felt completely helpless.
Sometimes intense anger and frustration come along with love. For everyone, walking was such a simple thing and why couldn’t this boy do it? May be because of this thought she beat him whenever he fell. Whenever he walked a couple of steps, there was tremendous joy on her face. Though short lived, it gave her hope; a hope may be only a mother can sustain.
Photographed on the banks of Godavari River at Bhadrachalam, Telangana State.
Part I – Hyderabad
Photographs and text by Gaurav Rachamalla, Joyel K. Pious
Between the past and present, the rural and urban, and the wilderness and human settlements lies a space that doesn’t belong to either sides. We would like to call it the ‘Edge’. In the pace of urbanisation, these edges usually vanish or transform beyond recognition. Exploring these unique spaces at night was an idea that hit upon us accidently. These edges, bordering two contradicting spaces, are clearly visible at night. One side of them is dark wilderness, while the other is a sea of light and humanity. Sitting at those thin borderlines and looking at the urban landscapes ahead, we knew that the past lied behind. It is a past which we don’t belong to, but can just ponder upon.
Hyderabad: With centuries-old history, the Pearl City is an ideal landscape for finding edges. Lying dormant for several years, the city witnessed unprecedented growth after Information Technology boom. Famous for lakes, hillocks and rocky topography, Hyderabad has been undergoing rampant urbanisation for the last two decades. However, some places still refuse to surrender to the invasion of concrete. They form the thin but unique border lines of Hyderabad. Landscapes near Maula Ali Dargah, Attarah Seedi near Golconda Fort, Osmania University’s wild outdoors and Pahadi Shareef Dargah were our destinations. From these places, the city seemed to be away and close at the same time.
In the company of 'beast' and fire
On the rocks on a cloudy night
Playing with fire near Attarah Seedi.
In the background is Qutb Shahi tombs
A concrete box borders Osmania University's classrooms and outback
Pahadi Shareef Dargah gives a sense of separation from the bustling city
High-rise buildings slowly conquering wilderness
An island of tranquillity
That place looked like carnival ground. People were walking here and there, talking in loud voice. During the peak hours of evening, when all would be returning to their nesting grounds after the day’s routine work, this kind of crowd was not very unusual.
I was at Bardhaman railway station, awaiting the long distance Amritsar Mail. A beautiful female voice had just announced that the train was running an hour behind the schedule. I was standing impatiently, counting minutes.
Shriek… A strange voice caught my attention. I looked around. Spectators were gathering around something in a corner, not very far from where I was standing. I walked towards the crowd to see what was going on.
A family of Bonnet monkeys. They were three. An infant, its mother and father. They were chained together with a rope and metal collars. A middle aged man wearing a dusty white shirt and blue lungi was seeking alms from the onlookers. Both the adult monkeys seemed to be familiar with such crowds around. But the infant was yet to feel the reality of life outside jungle. It wanted to move freely like the onlooking strange creatures. It tried to move. Alaas! Whenever tried, it had to pull the parents too. A difficult task indeed.
The tight collar around its neck was disturbing the baby very much. The mother tried several times to break free her baby. But all her attempts ended up in vain. Thanks to their master who was too much dependent on them for his daily bread.
Photographed @ Bardhaman, West Bengal