INDIA. Mumbai. A view of Marine Drive from atop the flyover, 2010.
In my initial days of college, right after breaking out from the cocoon of school the memories of traveling past marine drive are fresh in my mind. The feeling of a new found independence, combined with the scent the sea and that of late monsoon showers glazed the roads with the reflections of countless headlights and traffic lights. My journey often washed over an over-whelming calmness that was much needed as we juggled between prep classes and college. I would rarely take my friends along as I wanted to preserve the preciousness of these journeys. Back then the sight of the sky and sea merging into a dull blue made me feel like I could almost reach out to them.
INDIA. Mumbai. Students trying their hands at a portrait session at JJ School of Arts, 2010.
Sketching portraits was always my strong suit, and it became stronger with every session of portrait class. During this time I would isolate myself at the back of the class and form a sort of barrier between me and my mates in such a way that there remained only the life, beauty and emotion of the model to be captured and I. I would watch as the initially still and composed expression of the model would become uneasy, with a desperation to move, even a little. The hollowness in their eyes grew deeper with every passing hour. I marvelled at the feeling of being able to witness this metamorphosis of emotion taking place. I wondered if others could see what I saw, but to me no one but the model and sounds of charcoal scratching flimsy newsprint sheets existed. After class ended there was nothing but an army of ghosts with the same face that showed its observer a different side of itself, much like the phases of the moon.
INDIA. Mumbai. Children having a goat-drawn cart ride at Juhu Beach, 1971.
Running around with my siblings, making sand castles sculpted to the uniqueness of our imaginations and decorating them with the shells we had collected after splashing around in the water, consisted some of the innocent pleasures of our long awaited Sunday trips with Dad to Juhu beach. Despite the fact that it was Sunday, we’d get up early as opposed to school days. After some scurrying around in a battle to get ready first, we’d race up to the car and drive off. Dad would buy us many treats like golas, bhel puri, pani puri and coconut water. Then after playing on the merry-go-rounds we’d get cart rides where we pretended to be great kings and queens in a chariot cheered on by our royal subjects. Dad keeping a watchful eye on us would smile, with an inexplicably genuine feeling of happiness.
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