When I decided to become a photographer, I thought the only way to leave behind my caste identity was to go far away from my village. For the last 15 years, I have lived in different cities making a career in photography until the Covid-19 pandemic made me go home. With the lockdowns keeping me home for extended periods of time, I came to confront the reality that I was born into. Being in my village, I realized that social distancing isn’t new to us, we have lived our lives in isolation since birth.
However, staying very close with all my family members, I was able to see the beauty in the everyday life of my family and village. Turning the lens upon myself, I began documenting my family and my home that I have been ashamed of all these years. Photographing the everyday joys, struggles, agitations and discrimination of my family and making it a part of the visual consciousness of this country was my way of resisting the oppression that continues to haunt us till day. What began as an attempt to document the daily life of my family and my village with photographs, the work now extends itself to use staged photographs of my family, videos and a voiceover to become a documentation of four generations of my family.
Taking the form of a heartfelt letter to my four year old nephew Kirubakaran, I hope this work lends him a helping hand as he begins to confront the realities of being born in this country that divides people on the basis of caste. I hope for a world where Kirubakaran and all the others from his generation live a life without oppression.