Memoir of an ailing father

Updated: Jul 26, 2020, 08:16 IST | Prutha Bhosle | Mumbai

If a dark slice of life doesn't leave you despondent, you should be following an Assamese photographer's Instagram account for a documentation of relationships

A week after this interview, Kali Prasad Sarma passed on at the age of 69
A week after this interview, Kali Prasad Sarma passed on at the age of 69

After his father, Kali Prasad Sarma, suffered a stroke in February 2018, things were never the same for Mrinal Sarma. He suffered partial paralysis and loss of memory, making communication harder. Guwahati-born Mrinal was working in Delhi at the time. "After graduating in fashion design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Shillong, I got interested in photography. I've been into street and fashion photography since," shares Mrinal, 31.

A week after this interview, Kali Prasad Sarma passed on at the age of 69

As he was coming to terms with his father's deteriorating health condition, his father was diagnosed with a kidney infection. Mrinal decided he had to be back home. "Gradually, I grew more and more emotionally attached to him. From being fed and being put to bed, he became quite dependent on me; in fact, he became an integral part of my daily routine."

Mrinal Sarma captures moments between his parents during the lockdown
Mrinal Sarma captures moments between his parents during the lockdown

For almost 10 years before this, Mrinal had been living away from family, making this time unusual and cherished. "Thankfully, when the lockdown was announced, I was still with them. One day, I decided he would become the subject of my photos."

Mrinal Sarma captures moments between his parents during the lockdown

In a photo essay titled, Caged Inside, that spans three months of the lockdown, Mrinal documented his wheelchair-bound father, as he watched the world go by from his window, being helped by his wife as he lost control over coordination. "The pictures capture their relationship and the hope they still carry within them," he says.

Mrinal Sarma
Mrinal Sarma

Mrinal remembers that back in the day, his father was "an epitome of discipline". "From waking up at 6 am, going for a walk, to reading the newspaper, which was the most favourite bit, he had a routine. He'd willingly help my mother with household chores. Although he raised my brother and me with compassion and love, I couldn't get myself to be his friend. I'm practical and reserved, quite like him. Watching him lose control of his life disturbed me. I reconsidered shooting the pictures at some point, but I carried on eventually. I wished to capture the pain of ageing."

Follow the series privatephotoreview.com

@mrinalsarma88, Instagram

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