Following my conversation with my grandmother and the photographs that I took of her (you can see them here http://bit.ly/2lmx6ue), as she indulged in one of her long lost loves (the Garden), we were both filled with a sense of joy and deep contentment. The process of helping her get ready and taking her to the garden had moved something inside me. It was like re-living a moment from the past, but a whole new version of it.
The next day I was in Patna, chatting with my Aunt. The session with my grandmother was still at the back of my mind and prompted me to ask my Aunt to tell me something that she was passionate about but hadn't had the chance to do for a long long time. 'Sports' came the answer. A few minutes later, I found out that she had been the Basketball captain at her school. She had also studied in a Convent school, a sister concern of the school that I went to in Patna (in fact one of the Principals at our school had taught her as well). I showed her photographs from my session with my grandmother and asked her if she would be okay with wearing a Banarasi sari in a basketball court. As you can see, we ended up having a brilliant time in the court, with my Aunt not only enjoying the game but also brushing up quite a few of her tricks! And, I must say, she managed to get the ball into the hoop quite a few times!! More power to her and her love for the game! She managed to run, jump, kneel down and do all the basketball moves in a sari and it was such a pleasure to watch her in action :)
These photographs are a part of my series called 'the Banarasis' - a personal project with portraits of women engaging in a favourite activity from the past which, they have now lost touch with. They are wearing ornate Banarasis (some of which were possibly gifted to them at the time of their wedding). The idea is that the activity as well as the fabric shall serve as a conduit for exploring the relationship of these women with an older version of the self, thereby enabling them to embark on a journey into their youth and memories, whereby they are able to approach, remember, engage with, relive and revive a part of themselves, which has remained ignored due to various factors - whether age, time constraints, family commitments or even self-denial leading to a shrinking of self-esteem. When they do something they truly love, it revitalises their whole being, leading to a feeling of optimism, hope and rejuvenation of the self.
Special thanks to Sr. Lucina at St. Joseph's Convent for permission to do this shoot in the Basketball Court that day. As luck would have it, she had been the Principal when I was in school and had come back to SJC as the Principal again, a couple of years ago! I really got lucky that she was there in school that day.