A Photo Essay on Bengali poet Yashodhara Ray Choudhuri’s,“After the Termination”
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একটি জরায়ু আটবার গর্ভধারণ করেছিল
আটবারই সফল সন্তানদান।
একটি জরায়ু, মাত্র একবার।
প্রথম জরায়ু ( ১৯০১-১৯৯৯), দিদিমার।
দ্বিতীয় জরায়ু ( ১৯৬৫- ), নাতনির।
এখন, প্রতি মাসের দশম ও একাদশ দিনে
দ্বিতীয় জরায়ুটি তার অজাত সন্তানদের জন্য
কান্না রক্তপাত করছে।
এখন, প্রতিটি বাঞ্ছিত ও অবাঞ্ছিত
গর্ভপাতের পর
দ্বিতীয় জরায়ুটি

Yashodhara Ray Choudhuri

After getting in touch with the poet, I felt that this poem is extremely personal to her and that is one of the reasons I chose to work with it. It is about two women from 1901 and 1965 and about their pain of losing. I too related to it, on multiple levels and feel that this is the story of every middle class family of our society. This poem could be my mother’s or my grandmother’s story or of anyone from their generation. I researched my family photographs as well as the poet’s archives before I embarked on my shoot.

I started the series with an old photograph of both my grandmothers from my family album. In the first picture, they were sharing the frame with ten other family members and when I have taken a picture again, after sixty years, they are the only ones in the frame, occupying the same space. With this kind of methodology of associating spaces and memories, I have tried to relate to the pain, loss, anonymity, loneliness and memories expressed by the poet.

These themes and ideas have projected themselves through the series in different forms like the death of a street dog, or the picture of a mangled crashed car, which for the last ten years has stood on the same spot; I have no idea about its fate or the fate of its passengers; the solitary old tree, which may be the only one who has witnessed my family for so long.

With this understanding and imagery I have tried to visualize ‘After the termination’.

Soumya Sankar Bose
April 2016