No preparation seems enough for the social documentaries I work on. On most days, I see what lies before me through the lens of my camera: a little detached (if that is the correct expression) and not getting enough time to reflect. Usually, it sort of sinks in when I am back home – poring over the images. But when I returned from a recent shoot for Sense International – a non profit working for, supporting and advocating a better life for deaf-blind children and adults – I longed to go back and spend an afternoon with Sneha – to smell the roses, feel the pebbles beneath my feet, and marvel at her life-like-no-other.
Can I say that for a brief moment, I ‘peeped’ into her world? A world unseen and not spoken of. The world of Sneha, who considers, walking from her room to the entrance of the orphanage, an adventure – acknowledged with a shy grin. Her eagerness to learn is palpable, as she gingerly places her fingers on her teacher’s throat, sensing the vibrations which distinguish one sound from another. This is a world where a nice perfume is all you may need to belong. To be Sneha’s friend.
Reproduced here are some of the images through which I’ve tried to capture what I experienced, for you. I have to thank all the specialists and staff of the Kottayam Social Service Society (Sense International India’s local partners), including Jesse, Sally, Sheeba and Sister Lucy. They, along with so many others, lead a life less ordinary to imagine and create beautiful worlds for Sneha and her friends.
All images are subject to copyright and cannot be reproduced.