Client : Asian Paints

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Shadow by the Sea

In January 2015, I was commissioned by Asian Paints to explore the exotic colours of the quaint south-Indian beach town of Varkala. Backwaters, pristine beaches, spice markets, ubiquitous houseboats and Ayurvedic spas. On this journey, I wanted to get away from the cliches that have come to define the sobriquet- "God's Own Country.”

It was difficult not being seduced by the sea. But to let it dominate was to cheat the local palette off the rustic flavours of bucolic Kerala; where the emerald greens and turquoise blues provide a perfect backdrop to shades of yellow, red, umber, and ecru. In my chromatic enterprise, I encountered the vernacular architecture of Kerala, uniquely shaped by eons of interactions with traders near and far. I chanced upon the vibrance of the fishing hamlets, replete with multicoloured boats and even more colourful characters. The bustle of it's fish market was never a din. And in Varkala's villages, I revisited that fast disappearing old world hospitality, where doors open with a smile and language is never a barrier.

I hope my pictures redefine the contemporary Kerala metaphor. If you ever have an encounter with Varkala, get off the beaten track. Wander a mite. After all, as Tolkein wrote, "Not all those who wander are lost."