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The Cheap Ambulance

The Cheap Ambulance
A Patient (Head injury) is waiting for his train at the railway over bridge. Date: 29 June, 2018 Location: Krishnanagar, West Bengal

Krishnanagar city junction (KNJ) is one of the busiest railway stations under Eastern railways, situated in the Nadia district’s main town Krishnanagar (West Bengal, India). I travel from Tehatta (my hometown) to Krishnanagar on a bus and then catch a train from KNJ to Sealdah station. It is the cheapest and fastest mode of transport.

The travel fare from Krishnanagar to Sealdah is only 25INR (Indian Rupee) which is equivalent to 0.36 US dollars. If one is tactful enough one might even save that expense by not buying a ticket and avoiding the ticket-checker. We might rightly guess that even the most meticulous and law-abiding ticket checker after checking hundreds of travelers can overlook quite a large number of ‘miscreants’.

A young man suffering from cancer is travelling to Kolkata for his treatment. Father-in-law brought to him Kolkata for his better treatment. A Splashy smell was coming out from his body so; nobody was sitting beside, except father-in-law. One lakh rupees (1,410 USD) is already spent, the next time will require more than one lakh rupees, doctors’ don’t gave him any guarantee of life. Father-in-law was tried to give him many lessons of braveness. Date: 17 December, 2018 Location: 43/5, Canal E Rd, Raja Bazar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700011, India

Thousands of people of different ages, gender, religion and caste travel together huddled against one another sweating, eating, chatting together and dozing off peacefully on the shoulders of strangers in the compartments packed up with people. In a train compartment everyone has a different purpose for travelling. Some families go to visit their relatives. Many go to the city to earn their daily bread. But, in this particular project though I have a more specific agenda. The Sick people from the villages and suburbs go to the capital (Kolkata) to access proper treatment and medicinal facilities unavailable in their own ‘obscure’ localities and the train is like an affordable and accessible ambulance (though it is without medical facilities it can at least provide a fast transport).

Father his showing his little boy something interesting outside the window and they are sharing the laughter. This family was sitting front of my sit in the Canning Local Train. The little boy is suffering in Head injury. Dad was very worried, but the boy was looking at his father’s face occasionally, the father was showing at various funny gestures showing him trees or other trains. Date: 13 September, 2018

All the famous hospitals in this region are located in Kolkata city. My work is about patient in this Local passenger train, for whom there is no compartment separating in this section of trains. Taking candid photographs in a congested train compartment full of people swearing and sweating in the heat is however a risky and complicated task. I therefore used my camera phone to minimize the risk of making my subjects aware and uncomfortably conscious. The photographs have been taken over the time period of July 2018 to June 2019. Language is not my forte and so instead of elaborating further I would sincerely hope that my photographs will now speak for themselves.

A young man is smiling by himself and wearing a very strange “chador”(A chador is a light winter garment very famous in Bengal) in a hot summer noon. Date: 12 August, 2018 Location: Simurali, 47T Rail Gate, Chakdaha, West Bengal 741248, India
A poster showing the picture of a missing woman has been displayed. Many people lost from the train.
Father is comforting his suffering son. The eyes of the father is closed as if in prayer. Date: 13 September, 2017
If you are feel sick in passenger compartment, you have to request others to leave the seats and if they please you. There is no other options. Date: 30 April, 2019 Location: Kaya, West Bengal 741121, India
A blind old woman is waiting for her train. Date: 13 June, 2019 Location: Dum Dum Jn, Dum Dum Station Rd, South Sinthee, Biswanath Colony, Sinthee, Kolkata, West Bengal 700030, India
A Patient (legs were cut in an accident) Going to Kolkata for routine checkup. Date: 29 June, 2019 Location: Krishnanagar, West Bengal 741101, India
Father takes her sick son for treatment. Father kept his eye always on son, because he cannot stand or talk properly. After reaching the destination, before leaving the train father wear his son the artificial legs. Date: 14 December, 2018
An aged patent did not get a sit in passenger compartment, was resting in Vendor compartments. Date: 14 June, 2019 Location: Dum Dum Jn, Dum Dum Station Rd, South Sinthee, Biswanath Colony, Sinthee, Kolkata, West Bengal 700030, India
“Variety is the very spice of life that gives it all its flavor.”William Cowper Date: 30 April, 2019
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Soumyabrata Roy

My name is Soumyabrata Roy, a Tehatta based documentary photographer.

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