The river.
The city bears witness to itself. The river is in the margins. It is very dirty, filthy. The city does not need it any more. Its future is pre-configured, the river is dead. It will now be cleaned. Not like a life giving artery, but a sparkling necklace, adorning a new globality. The city is turning its back on the river even as it reconfigures its topology. There was a time when the river was its ecology. The city and the river shaped each other. Now the relationship is only with land, which the river holds in its belly. Violent. Thousands of poor thrown out, for the new stadiums, temples, bridges and pathways. Uncertain futures. Death, the predominant Hindu relationship to life in the cycle of rebirth has a timeless resonance as ashes are immersed in the waters. But what will the rebirth be?

The self.
The self. Seeking to recover a relationship in the new alienation. The river becomes a muse and metaphor for a search, within and without. Yearnings. Integral to an imagination of the self and the outside. The first bird seen on the riverbank thirty years ago came back and changed my life. Regaining personal ecologies as a photographer/activist. My organic body now extended by the inorganic body of the city. Water on a filtered tap. The river is alive, throbbing in my veins. The unresolved questions of spirit and sense. Wherein lies my reality? The engagement with the triad of the self, the city and the river, becomes a reclamation of the self. I photograph even as I experience other human abandonment. I go back, again and again, endlessly, searching. (See Alien Water Diary under Catalogues/Books)

Ravi Agarwal