Hello Again.

Dharavi on Medium Format

I started this blog, I can safely say many years ago as means for an exploration. First there were the faltering steps of a confused engineering dropout. I was new to this world and there was much my sheltered middle class upbringing had not deemed to teach me about myself and the country I was now an adult citizen of. Having falling off the well institutionalized path, that would have eventually promised me a job and a share of great Indian middle class dream - I had to teach myself by the ways of the university of life. I spent the last year of my teenage youth in my room at my parents house in Bombay, pretending to be a photographer and sometimes even giving my mind the liberty to think I was a journalist of some sort but the only thing I was sure I was - was a failure. The only salvation I found was on the comment sections of this very blog.

The second more important salvation came on the streets of Bombay. The pictures were at best mediocre studies of neighborhoods and class. I could easily say, large parts of the city I had lived in almost all my life were an invisible mass and like most of middle class India I barely interacted with it beyond my class. The camera is a great tool to build that personal intimacy, it gives one license to talk to or at the very least acknowledge people and places you would otherwise miss. I was earnest and coupled by my mediocre insight - my pretending paid off and instead of writing my IGNOU economics paper I shot my first assignment for Tehelka. Rahul Bhatia who how works at Open, wrote the story, ironically it was titled, "Dating a Gorilla" on soap stars in Bombay. My life with photography has been like 'Dating a Gorilla', or perhaps an orangutan with a gorilla like grip.

I must admit to having made some mistakes since, the foremost being plagiarizing a travel piece I wrote for the Hindustan Times on Byllakuppe, in Karnataka - a mistake that made me concentrate more on photography and even more on the art of the multi-level photo-story.The rest is pretty much in my archives, except for the last 2 years when I decided to say goodbye to this place.

After some thought I have decided to restart Trivial Matters. I return to it eight years after I started it, 25 and a confident and I would like to think a respected practitioner of the photographic art. I have just moved to Delhi and it will help me piece together and articulate my stories better. I hope to find the same salvation here, that I found many years, that made me believe I could do something and was more then a nineteen year old failure.

I'll leave you with some pictures from my last two years. More posts to follow.

No time for love. Srinagar. Kashmir
[Lost Generation of Kashmir, 2009]

No time for love - Srinagar
[Lost Generation of Kashmir, 2009]

Koshy's Again
[Girl at the Cashier' at Koshy's,Bangalore. 2009]

[Man Inspect Painting at a Thrift Store in Boston, 2009]

[Girl at Chai Shop in North Goa, 2010]

[The night I stayed over, 2009]

Kaushik and Noor
[Kaushik and Noor at Gangaram Hospital, 2010]

Fish Out of Water
[John Second in a Ezerzala - Ludza, Latvia. 2010]

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Amber said...

Glad that you're back, Akshay! It's brave of you to admit to mistakes in a public forum like this. Best of luck to you for your new life in Delhi.

Shreenath said...

Cannot tell you how many friends I've referred to your blog / flickr saying some people are better off abandoning their degrees/original direction for their passion =)

Keep up the good work friend and I'm glad to see the work - keeps me in touch with my country in a way even visiting many a time cannot do.

Akshay said...

Amber, it was a while back but it good to remind yourself of your mistakes - prevents you from making them again.

I hope to make may pictures in Delhi, it at the cusp of change. I think I can build things here.

Shreenath, passion is indelible. Over the year I've realized I made the right choice and I'm happier for it.

meenakshi said...


Noor is Ellie's kid isnt it?
Lovely photograph of her and Kaushik :)

annie said...

lovely. welcome back. never took this blog's link off my own page coz even if comatose, it was worth a visit :) so glad u will be sharing more work here

Avi said...

Akshay, keep on doing the amazing work you have already accomplished! Wandering is a great education. Some of the most formative experiences of my life occurred as a kid roaming the slums near Dadar and the decaying industrial zones of Parel. Life University indeed. I hope you will continue to illuminate the neglected streams of Indian life in all their poignant beauty.

darshy said...

I've read your blog since on the days of its implementation, back when I was this budding aerospace engineer reading to take on the world.

Except it didn't happen that way.

Many nights I had discussions about you - but not about what you deemed your failures as an engineer, but rather that you were gutsy enough to really, and truly go not with some plan - but to explore yourself and the world around you.

Also - I loved your photos.

And ditto from learning from your mistakes.


Rain Girl said...

great to have you back!

Vatsala said...

Welcome back man :)

green said...

I am glad to see your blog breathing again. Looking forward to see its growth. And hoping to see more posts on Mumbai too...

Kangan Arora said...

Good to see you back, and looking forward to your insights into North India :)

JPK said...

Welcome back :)

Sujata Khanna said...

Your writing comes straight from the heart! Loved it! Keep clicking and keep writing....

Dr. Gonzo said...

Hey!! Welcome back :D Much glad at you restarting this.

Neha Dara said...

I doubt a new post on any other blog would've made me as happy :D

Mumbai Paused said...

Welcome back. You were missed.

Akshay said...

Meena, yes that is elli and kaushik's kid. Nice picture no, Hasselblad in action :)

Avi, its my full time job now - wandering. Sadly in the modern day where jobs are measured on what they do for your bank accounts - people forget the simple work of doing things you love that reflect more positively your soul.

Darshy, this virtual world is strange, you meet with know people for years. People you might never actually meet face to face for a cup of coffee.

The plan was accidental and haphazard, everything just fell into place. In hindsight everything is 20-20.

Thank you,Vatsala.

Green, Bombay is still my home city - hopefully I do some more stories there. But lately Bombay always leaves me a little too distracted to work.

Kangan, yes north india - the prodigal fake punjabi in me returns. Hopefully I have pictures from Ludhiana soon. Didn't promise you me godfather beer ?

Jpk, thanks.

Sujatha, old age has made me a sentimentalist.

I'm glad to have restarted this also, Dr.Gonzo

suburbangrump said...

Good to have you back. Glad I never took you off my list :)

Tanvi said...

Mahajan! So glad you're baaaack :). Adding you on to the blogroll.. can't wait to see what's coming next!

Robbie said...

Oh man, Akshay, I'm damn glad this is up and running again. Here's to when someday I'll cross the ocean with my pen and paper and join you to work on some stories.

Pringle Man said...

Hello, it's hard to bottle a sentiment, and I feel ridiculous trying to explain how your pictures make me feel, but something is definitely felt (gangaram hospital? wow).

I recognise your photographs,and as a result, I even love the ones I don't understand.

We are all new kinds of Indians I suppose, we've never existed before, and you defining your path is a big part of that big boss. Crack on. (please)