Seema, my mother, untangles her hair after 3 months of lockdown. During the month of lockdown and sleepless nights she just could not focus on her self. She has been distracted due to news and home care work. This image was made 26 June, 2020 as part of my project Portraits of My Mother – a journal of my life, my mother and most importantly, my relationship with her. My mother being a housewife for the past 29 years has probably done the same amount of labor for the family since always. The lockdown, the pandemic, and the time spent at home is what made me notice and ponder upon her as anything other than “maa”, other than the part of her identity attached to mine. I saw changes— her white hair, her anxious behavior, and was troubled by how much I had missed while I wasn’t really looking inside my own domestic space. There were regrets which raised questions— why would she choose this life, or did someone else choose this life for her claiming care? I had a million questions running in my head and I didn’t even know where to begin or how to talk to her about them. The domestic sphere is riddled with shadows under which these women spend almost all of their lives, their work often going unnoticed, and everything they do taken for granted. I imagined being in the same position at my workplace, and I was stunned at how difficult and disturbing it seemed even within the realm of imagination. Through these photographs, I am trying to show my own contradictions, doubts, new understandings about my mother as first and foremost, a person; something a lot of us forget to consider about the women in our lives. I am trying to constantly question myself by simply documenting my mother’s life in its pieces; hoping that when I put it all together, the sum will appear larger than its parts.
Anuj Arora is an Independent photographer based in India. He grew up in Delhi. He was mentored by Bharat Chaudhary at Sri Aurobindo Center for Arts in New Delhi where he pursued Documentary Photography. Since 2018 he has been working with several newspapers as an independent photographer like The Hindu, Hindustan times and Press Trust of India. Also, he has been documenting issues of migration in Delhi as a long-term project. Anuj has been a finalist of TOTO photography awards 2020, his work has been published in The Hindu, Getty Images, Khirkee Voice (a community based newsletter by KHOJ), Sunday Magazine by The Hindu, Your Shot National Geographic and exhibited at Indian Habitat Center with respect to graduate project, exhibited at Prameya art foundation. Featured in the Alipore post. Published in SPRF (Socio Political and research foundation)