Death in the family, photo essay by Dipjyoti Banik
Death is the inevitable and unavoidable conclusion to life. When we are born, we’re committed to a life sentence. It’s true that we will never know when we’ll die, or how, but we know that it is the ultimate eventuality. Death can also be viewed as an yardstick by which we measure the values and purpose of our lives. As a social animal we humans generally live in groups we call families and our various cultures have different ways of mourning death just as we all react differently to death individually.
Recently one of my uncle passed away and as I got the news I experienced a blend of mixed emotions. He was in a paralytic state for more than a year, slowly withering away, unable to perform even the most basic human task but on the other hand he left behind his wife and two unmarried daughters which in the conventional Indian society meant that he died unfulfilled.
So, being there in midst all that I was overwhelmed by the emotions that surrounded me yet somehow felt disconnected. Tears didn’t come to me unlike his daughter who was understandably devastated having overlooked his medications for more than a year and neither could I feel any other emotions as I have always been disturbed by death,ever since my grandmother passed away when I was 11. So, I decided to take a few photographs. Photographs just to preserve those final moments when his body was to be taken away for cremation and the general mood of the place.Later on I decided to take a few more in the wake of his death also known as Sraddho.
This is more of an incomplete series, but a very intimate one which for me generally reflected the moods after a death in my family.
(by Dipjyoti Banik)