Photography / Writing

Sartre, Dostoyevsky & Chai

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Jean-Paul Sartre says that humans live in a constant state of abandonment and anguish. You are what you are and not what you are not, but you can choose to be what you are not by not being who you are. It’s the simplicity of existence & the undying need to hold yourself accountable.

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While walking down the streets of Mumbai, I always wonder if viewing this world in black and white will change how I see myself. Cut out the noise, mute the colours: look at people like they’re another faction of your reality.

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I spent the last few months of 2019, capturing everything around me in black and white as an act of catharsis. Actualising my oblation and waiting for it to reside.

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I came across a whole array of people. The nuances of their existence coloured my eyes in notable ways. Have you heard the tales of their fate? Where they hid and where their eyes slept? Perhaps I didn’t see it at first glance, but all our lives are gathered in the same vessel.

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Adhrak, elaichi and chai patti have their own boiling point. Your science cannot fathom what it takes for my chai to taste like the world is unfettering. The boiling point of facticity and transcendence. Conversations unbounded by time and reality; my eyes never cease to dampen as my chai settles.

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When your eyes open up to the possibility of a life outside of your perceived reality, even the nitty-gritty seems beautiful. Either you live out the rest of your days as somebody who never grew out of themselves, enough to see this orb; or you simmer. There isn’t much difference when I look at you in black and white and you at me.

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You have places stashed away in your mind half as well as mine, filled with anecdotes and insecurities. But, I hope we age while we dance in the dusky streets of this city like children in the alleyways of a slum. Find a spot in this city, where you can sit and seek solace in being where life thrives, every day.

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I guess, we all walk around the world with a black and white lens but it’s the stories that bring colour. We are meant to be in relation with our streets, the alleyways leading nowhere, town like communities in the midst of a metropolitan city and our fishmongers. The fabric of you and I; chaos.

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When you leave, will you turn around and look behind at the parts of you, left in these places? As Dostoyevsky would ascertain, in your pursuit to uncover the mysteries of your existence, have you found something to live for?

By Rhea Kotrashetti

rhea loves stories so much that all who know them well, say that she’s one step away from disappearing into one. an amateur poet, photographer & sculptor, a fierce lover of art, whose edges have been made soft with grief and experiences, better left unspoken; but over everything else, they hope to bloom into someone who is kind.

Instagram: @strawturtles @uncensoredturtles 


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