A little joy, a tinge of hope

People are reclaiming little bits of their daily life. And life is stirring back to normal

Sarthak Banerjee

The year 2020 has ticked off all the boxes, but for the wrong reasons. There’s very little good—if any—to talk about, as we are all swamped by our doubts and anxieties. Covid-19 has messed up our lives like nothing else did: it has changed the way we live and work, the way we socialize and share—in short, it has altered life itself.

The year began on a promising note as we (a fellow photographer and I) travelled to Ahmedabad to shoot the city. We took everything for granted then—the bustling markets, throbbing streets, the riot of colours, history and cuisine, little realizing that everything will fall silent in a matter of weeks.

Lockdown followed soon and the intrigue of confinement began. Days seamlessly—if not meaninglessly—merged with the other, as we lost relevance of time. We stared blankly at empty walls amidst growing boredom and worry. There were no answers to any of our questions; every evening, TV anchors put a figure to the new Covid-19 cases, and discussed at great length, an incomprehensible curve which charted its own trajectory. Soon enough, even the Covid-19 numbers lost much of their meaning.

It was perhaps at this point, and out of sheer frustration, that I started shooting our home, something that I had never even looked very closely. It was a worthwhile exercise as I discovered many new things: the morning light from the window, the dark and deep shadows, the twinkling of lights in the evening, the kandil during Diwali—everything created its own visual magic. It was, in some ways, serendipity, but more importantly, also a means to keep the virus out of my thoughts.

But over the past few months, things are getting a little better, as I found out from a recent trip to Lonavala. People are stepping out, streets are humming back to life, business is picking up. People are once again doing some of the basic things, like roaming, meeting fellow folks, going for a stroll, or just enjoying a sunset.

We are not yet out of the woods, but there’s hope on the horizon. After months of uncertainty, we want to reclaim our lives, our little joys, and the desire to be with fellow humans. Isolation is a word best forgotten in time.

This photo essay is not an effort to document the hopelessness of the pandemic, but an effort to show our resilience and spirit, and our untiring effort to get back those lovely days lost to a spiky virus.

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About the author

Sarthak Banerjee
Sarthak Banerjee

Street and documentary photographer

Sarthak Banerjee is a former journalist with The Economic Times, and is a member of the Bambai Photo Collective, a group of photographers who try to document Mumbai.

A street and documentary photographer, Sarthak has been shooting the city, its people, its culture, festivals, bazaars, life and much more.

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