Tat Tvam Asi is a story of an India lesser known. It is a psychological expedition through a place and space hidden away from the chaos of the urban city life. Surrounded by the news of mob lynchings, political violence, hatred and also confronting personal crises provoked me to go on a journey, not knowing the destination. This helped me to restore a balance in my self and to find my position in the world again.
Tat Tvam Asi is a phrase in Sanskrit which translates to Thou Art That (That you Are) in English. Although this phrase manifests itself through different literal interpretations in religious texts in India, it essentially connects us to a sense of being, a sense of the self, of who we are. In my life, this bears significance to my sense of belonging in a place. Growing up I was always intrigued by the idea of a utopian world, a world where love would triumph over ego. That would go on to define who I was. However, the world is not meant to be so. It never was. Seeing my own family fall apart over and over again made me ask myself what exactly is Home. Does Home define one’s Identity? Can any place far away from where I live define my “Home”? Can I construct a reality in my mind and call it my “Home”?
That is when Rishikesh happened to me. An escape from the starkness of reality or was it even real? I don’t have those answers. Maybe I never will. Rishikesh is a “home” to many: Broken hearts, lost souls, dreamers alike. A dream tucked away in the foothills of the largest mountains in India, the Himalayas. This journey is not so about the place as much as it is about my own void and the need to look for a space I could call mine, the need to belong somewhere. My sense of incompleteness being projected into a vast space of light, often interspersed with fragments of dark. In this work, people exist for me but only as inconspicuous identities. Maybe those hidden figures were just my projections: any man who is lost looking to find his belonging, to pray for an answer.
I do not know if the experience is a shared journey or just mine. All I can say is that this temperance of a "Home" called Rishikesh is a part of my living truth.
In this world that I have constructed through the still images, I am present yet not quite there. Standing frozen in time, just like the photograph. I am there, distant from the reality of a past i do not want to belong to anymore. I am there, all by myself in a world of my own. My “Home”.
Still image excerpts.