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  • Pradip Chakraborty

The Parallel World

Updated: May 1, 2021

There is a parallal world that exists just next to our very own world. We, the folks of the mainstream society, may not have the time to mull over and acknowledge the existence of such an anomalous world. But that does not contribute much in flipping the reality of them having existed there for thousands of years. Even 5000 years ago, they were there in the form of eastern 'lower towns', lying adjacent to the western 'citadels' during Harappan civilization. Therefore, we, the denizens of the modern world, bewilderingly ensnared in a peculiar mesh of avarice, glitz and self-indulgence, sometimes get to cross paths with this parallel world and the people in it and then some of us, with significant resources, connections and wealth, try to get away with their ethical burden by means of some top-down philanthropy which does NOTHING but help the philanthropist gain some instant celebrity and the rest of us discreetly retract ourselves in fear of losing our hard-earned upward mobility.

In my individual capacity, what I've tried here is simply to go spelunking the lives of all those people, animals, plants that constitute the parallel world and showcase them in their most natural form. An ingenous way of life, the conspicuous simplicity and insurmountable exuberance in celebrating every moment of life- these inherent qualities of life there were so enthralling that I couldn't help but give way to my inexorable urges of capturing them without jeopardizing their spontaneity. My objective was always to try uphold the very essence of their uninhibited lives; to capture in real time how they walk, the innate rhythm in every stride, how they talk, how they cry, how they laugh. They are cut off from the line of social mobility. They have no access to the mainstream world, neither can they initiate a meaningful discourse. It's not the fact that they cannot speak, but even if they speak, their voices, their supplications invariably fall on deaf ears. This noxious position of "speechlessness" further complicates the whole problem and makes them more alien to us, since we always prefer to keep it light, we don't feel any obligation to reach out to them or talk in a language they understand- the language of compassion, empathy & humanity. (As a matter of fact, I really doubt whether we, the people with hefty salary packages, taking at least one trip abroad every year- can we really love anyone? Do we know what unconditional love is? We care for people as long as they care back.)


Looking through the Mother's Veil



-Wherever we go, no matter how we make it big in life, it's the feather touch of the hem of our mother's sarees, that lends us a few moments of blissful respite. And that's kind of a universal truth that almost works for everyone. Here, I present a toddler intensely looking into the lens, while his mother looks away, far far away to the twisted pathway.

Waiting by the Wall



-Childhood and its memories are invigorating at all points. Whenever we unpack the loaded trunk of our sweet little childhood memories, of all our monkey tricks, of our joyful, soulful anecdotes, they invariably make us feel good about ourselves. Lo and behold, how, in this photograph, the girl with a top bun on her head and a top gun in her hand is waiting for her father to come and lift her up in his arms since she's been sick of walking and can no longer walk on her own. She's also looking forward to catching up a grasshopper with her father.

The Mystified Glory



-Mystifying is our nature to the core and so are all of its creatures. I bet, no artist in the world would ever be able to employ the chiaroscuro so brilliantly as nature does. Its treatment of light and shade is so unerringly riveting that one cannot help but succumb to its temptation. As an artist, my instinctive response over coming in contact with this parallel world has been to capture more of such magnificent sights wherein nature gets to cast its spell at will.

The Lackadaisical Bearing





-"What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare."

Clearly, Davies didn't write these lines, keeping these people in mind. That was meant for us, the people who are engaged in a constant rat race. But in the parallel world, there is no such unnerving competition, no hullabaloo, no commotion. Contrary to that, there is a sheer sense of serenity and repose in the assortment of lives here.

The Homecoming



-"At day's end, like hush of dew

Comes evening. A hawk wipes the scent of sunlight from its wings."

And two female workers, after a long rough day, comes back home, smearing the most winning smile on their faces.




In this blog, I have tried to lay out the fleeting images of this beautiful microcosm, the little moments of fun and frolic, those brisk encounters, that spectacular wonder glinting in their eyes, those mundane chores, their low-key living and simple mantra of cohabiting with mother nature and her diverse offspring. These happen to be some of my takeaways from my first foray into documenting the parallel universe at close quarters. But what I must and should admit in this regard is that I never felt awkward or rattled in the entire journey. I best believe, it's their guileless humility, simplicity and compassion that instantaneously shatters all the invisible barriers of hierarchical social structure.

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