I am very enthusiastic about experiencing celebration of any festival or event in Indian villages. Since I’m based in Maharashtra, I try and find out about hidden towns in the outskirts and visit there. One of the most challenging shoots happened two years ago.
I came to know about a village where on the day of Nagpanchami, village people pray to animals, especially bullocks, and organize games and fun events. I had an amazing journey and fell in love with the village and its people. The open spaces, the simplicity of life, living right next to vegetable and fruit farms was like a dream for me, a typical city dweller. I was amazed to see the level of schools in the village for girls and boys. On the way I saw animals sporting pooja tikkas.
When I finally reached the spot of event, crowds of people were pouring in. The moment the bullocks were released, people started cheering on top of their voices for their favourite teams. Teams of bullocks from different villages were being raced. All the teams pulled and pushed their bullocks to perform better. I was confused and stunned, because what was supposed a fun event turned out to be so gory. There was blood coming out of bullocks’ noses as their owners pulled them by the rope. A few of them even fainted but were pulled back into the race to keep the show going. It was a sight of sheer madness. I kept shooting, fighting my way through the crazed crowd. It was an emotionally wracking event for me to shoot.