Kadal – The Sea

Kadal (translates to The Sea in Tamil language) is a series of photographs imagining the dreams and realities of children living by the ocean. Children of a fishing community who have lived by the sea in Kasimedu, north Chennai for more generations than most can remember were the original people of Chennai. The men who went out to sea everyday bringing back thousands of fish while the village women sold the catch at the fish market are now seeing an end to their livelihood as the sea is emptied out by commercial trawlers and the coast begins to eat itself. The tsunami that took place over ten years ago is fresh in the minds eye but even fresher in the dreams of the children. The children, most of whom weren’t born during the unforgettable tsunami have vivid dreams and imaginations about the sea and the havoc it can cause. Nightmares of waves washing away their homes and drowning are common yet an inherent love and respect for the sea is undeniable. A job and a fixed income far from the sea is what most of them dream of besides deadly, underwater creatures among others. There is a lot to learn from this generation, to question what role the ocean plays in our future, why they dream the way they do and what it is that will keep them safe from the changing tides.

On The Edge

Descending from the plateaus of Tibet and flowing through China, India and Bangladesh, The Brahmaputra is one of India’s mightiest rivers with widths running up to 10 kilometers at some places. On its 3000-kilometer journey, the Brahmaputra provides a livelihood to thousands of communities living on its banks and depending on it for food, water and farming. In 1950 however, the great earthquake in Assam altered the topography of the river valley and the people of Assam have since, seen the worst droughts an d floods in India.

Since the great earthquake, Assam has witnessed some of the worst cases of river erosion where according to official records, 36 villages, 10 schools, 6 tea gardens and hundreds of human and animal lives have been washed away by the river due to heavy erosion. Farming and fishing communities living by the river have struggled for decades trying to protect their land from being eaten away by the river which has only worsened due to increased deforestation and erratic changes in the climate.

In 2012, the floods in Assam displaced over a million people and erosion has affected close to 4500 villages in the state. Today, being witness to both extremes of climate change, from droughts to floods, villagers from Tinsukia district in Upper Assam are struggling to protect their land and livelihood from the eroding banks and the rising waters of the mighty Brahmaputra.