nightscapes

My after dark affair with India began in The City of Joy. Kolkata was my initiation into a world that would come to consume my waking and sleeping hours.

I arrived at my hotel at 8am after a long haul that took its toll. At midnight I awoke and readied myself for round two. My guard was up in expectation of another onslaught. India hustles the senses into submission; throngs vying for attention blockade your path, tuk tuks, carts and rickshaws attack from all sides. Tunnel vision is the only modus operandi.

Stepping out into the night I was met by silence. The streets were deserted. The torrents of bodies, traffic and livestock had mysteriously evaporated. What was left in their wake was a window onto an extraordinary world. Buildings bound by cables and encased in detritus had cast off their shroud of bodies. The City of Joy was naked, laid bare and exposed.

At night the laws are re-written. The streets become the dominion of the dog where packs of canines rule. Heavyweight rats bound and banquet along the rubbish strewn streets. The eyes feasts on detail upon detail until they can stomach no more. Cocooned bodies litter the pavements as they metamorphose before hatching at dawn. The infernal hell holes of the slums transform into enchanted villages of extraordinary beauty with their legions of ladders pointing to the stars.

In the countryside rural India recovers from the days toil under ladened skies. Out here the elements threaten. An army of deities is no defence from the monsoon floods. The countryside, like its urban sibling, revels in schadenfreude.

India moves at breakneck speed but in the dead of night the frame is frozen. Through this nocturnal window the anatomy of India can be momentarily observed.

Nightscapes is a series of nocturnes composed of spectral cities, enchanted slums and rural berceuses.

Nightscapes is my portrait of India.