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Stolen Moments of Solitude

“When from our better selves we have too long been parted by the hurrying world, and droop. 

Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired, how gracious, how benign is solitude.” 

          – William Wordsworth

Rare are the moments of soothing solitude where we’re able to turn down the noise of a world that is perpetually in a hurry around us. The chaos of our surroundings pulls us in where we’re always conscious of what we say and how we act, so much so that the identity we put on becomes a part of ourselves. We grow into that self to the extent where we start disconnecting from our other self with all its real emotions and thoughts; the one that’s safely hidden away from sight. That self is the one we only reveal to ourselves, the self that is comfortable in its own skin; a companion who knows your buried secrets.

A windmill against the backdrop of a starry night sky.

The ongoing pandemic has imposed isolation on all of us. We may be physically alone, locked away in rooms but are we truly alone? The day is a flurry of meetings, deadlines, calls and still, in our imposed isolation, we barely find a moment to ourselves.

On World Photography Day, we celebrate the art of photography wherein photographers share glimpses of lives unknown to us. Photographer and Choorma team member Shivi Bhatnagar captures a series of moments that portray that comfortable moment of seclusion from the world. Some of the images are from a trip across Africa that Shivi took with a group of artists known as the African Caravan.

Take a look at these stolen moments from the whirl of life where we are at peace for a few moments. Just you and yourself.

A woman sitting silently and gazing out at the horizon where the sky melts into the sea by the seaside in Alexandra, Egypt.

A woman sits silently on a breezy evening, gazing out at the horizon where the sky melts into the sea in Alexandra, Egypt.

A fisherman enjoying a cigarette surrounded by fishing nets near the water in Dar es Salam, Tanzania. 

A fisherman enjoys a moment of respite with a cigarette after a long day of work in Dar es Salam, Tanzania. 

A little girl lost in her thoughts, chews on her fingernails as she watches the colourful festivities of Holi in Mathura.

A little girl lost in her thoughts, chews on her fingernails as she watches the colourful festivities of Holi in Mathura play out around her.

A mother and child sit in a park on a sunny day in Harare, Zimbabwe.

A mother and child sit in a park, talking and laughing on a sunny day in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Yllka, from the African Caravan, soaking up some sun while scribbling in her diary at the Science Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Yllka, from the African Caravan, soaks up some sun on a cold day while scribbling in her diary at the Science Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Shikhant sitting on the pavement with his bag and looking at his phone in Africa.

Shikhant settles down on a corner of the road in Cairo, Egypt to take a break, oblivious to the noise around him,

Yllka sitting and looking out of the window.

Yllka sits by the window looking out as people from the African Caravan team who were together for eight months, leave one by one.

A man sitting in a rocky cave in Goa.

Anuj sits in the cool shade of a rocky cave to escape the blazing sun on a long and tiring day in Goa.

A man sitting and waiting for someone near the door of a mosque in Cairo, Egypt.

A man waits for someone near the door of a mosque nestled in the colourful market streets of Cairo, Egypt.

Anyone who’s tasted solitude will agree that these calm moments are tinged with an exquisite kind of beauty. We hope you manage to steal a few minutes of serenity in your company this Photography Day.

 

All images are by Shivi Bhatnagar

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