THERE ARE THINGS I CALL HOME
I grew up in a single room house in a relatively modest neighbourhood in Delhi; while I did my schooling and college from prestigious institutions catering to the ‘elite’. Each day, ever since I can remember, presented me with stark contrasting experiences and made it difficult for me to reconcile the identity of my two worlds. This everyday contrast made me emotionally vulnerable; it also made me an introvert. There were moments I wanted to go up to my parents and seek refuge and comfort, but never could. With time I stopped acknowledging this space which was essential to my very being; the feeling of home was an emotion that I fiercely guarded, creating barriers which eventually even I could not transcend.
I rebelled against the idea of ‘home’, I addressed it with disregard. But any act of rebellion at some point in its trajectory encounters the possibility of reconciliation and mine was no different. This essay is my attempt at reconciling the idea of home with my own evolving identity. These photographs are not only a passage for the viewer into my ‘home’, my private space, but they also represent a move that I make towards breaching the barriers that I have constructed for myself in expressing my relationship with this space.
As a child I had very few friends; I grew up with things, objects. Many a times, I choose to understand people, in some cases even define them, through objects that I encounter in their private spaces. Having become a stranger to home and its people, I found it immensely difficult to photograph my family. I was met with resistance, a bit of hostility too. So the easiest path that presented itself to me was to do this story through objects.
The objects in these photographs not only paint a portrait of my family, they also speak of the estranged relationship I share with them, of distances and uncertainties that separate us. Every photograph, hints at a sense of tension, conflict; the pain of neglect can be encountered. It is my foray into my own house and yet I feel like an outsider.
But amidst this neglect, conflict, lies an alienated sense of intimacy. This essay is an attempt at reclaiming this intimacy; an attempt to embrace long lost memories, a forgotten childhood.
(There are Things I call Home was awarded the Oslo University College Fellowship in 2012)