The Shadow of Caste

“Who is the team leader of your group?”, an official in an urban administrative office asked our team who was on field during our district immersion in Satna, Madhya Pradesh. I said, “My name is Nitisha”. “What is your full name?” he questioned looking perplexed. “Nitisha”, I said again. He insisted, “You would have a full name, wouldn’t you?” I remarked that I didn’t have any, but since the team had begun feeling uncomfortable we gave someone else’s name from the team and ended our meeting.
This wasn’t my first encounter with someone on field who was supremely concerned with what my surname was. If you still haven’t understood, this is the shadow of caste which has been following me everywhere like a ghost, refusing to go away anytime soon. During the district immersion course at ISDM called Realizing India, I realized the privilege of my surname ‘Pandey’ which denoted that I come from the so called upper caste.
Most high level officials I met was a Dubey, Jha, Mishra, Tiwari, Upadhyay,…

Courage Knows No Gender

Kamala Bai is a Dalit Sarpanch in the village of Magneri in a district of Madhya Pradesh. Since the seats in Gram Panchayats have a reservation of 50% for women, she won the elections by a 100 votes. Her husband has studied till twelfth standard and she calls herself uneducated.  An NGO helped her in getting information on the finances and the working of the panchayat. Once she started work, she wanted the women in the village to participate in the Gram Sabha. She wanted them to speak up and have an equal opportunity in stating their views on matters related to the village. She said and I quote, “The Gram Panchayat should take care of the village like it is their own child. When people have issues do they go to the Prime Minister or the Sarpanch to resolve their problems?” She questioned on the things which didn’t seem right and got the administration to take note of it. She also fought with lawyers who asked for bribes and the village rowdies who participated in illegal activities. H…

Exploring Culture, Art and History

When you're bitten by the travel bug, there's no stopping for a wanderer. I recently took a trip to Varanasi, Agra and Lucknow - exploring the cities, their stories, their quirks and their glory. 

While the cities were very different from each other in a few contexts, the things that bound them together was depth - of faith, of beauty, of culture, of royalty, of art. I've tried to capture them in my own weird way, exposing all of it. 

1. The Creation

2. The Details

3. The History

4. The Constant

5. The Cage

6. The Color

7. The Strength

8. The Maze

9. The Curve

10. The Bottoms Up

11. The Perfection

12. The Linings

13. The Doors

14. The Uniqueness

Each of these captures has a story to tell, it could be very different from my perspective of them. In case you want to share your thought, do reach out. After all, artists grow and learn by sharing.

JY Photo Series - Through My lens

Jagriti Yatra is a 15 day train journey through 12 cities, meeting 12 role models, traversing 8000 kms across India with 480 strangers. Its foundation lies in the concept on building India through enterprise. 
The Yatra is one of a kind experience that will change you, motivate you, stir your emotions, question your reasoning, make you think differently, pull you into a box while pushing you out of it, inspire you, move you and all of this in just 15 days! 
This is my attempt at capturing the essence of the Jagriti Yatra 2016 only through pictures. Each of them has a story to tell - in case you want to listen to them, do drop in a comment and I'll get back to you! 
Note - Please give the due credits in case you want to use these for any purpose. They were not taken from a DSLR, only a good phone with inbuilt filters. 
Clickture #1 - The Hope, Gram Vikas, Berhampur
Clickture #2 - The Decision, Royally unique chessboard, Madurai
Clickture #3 - The Beauty, Deoria Clickture #4 - The Perspect…

To the Movement and The Constant

To weird handshakes that turned into hugs
To the numerous feelings that moved our mind and hearts
To being with others and yet being yourself
To reluctant conversations that stirred learning
To the storm in our head, the fire in the heart
To getting started at the hint of dawn
To the push that was required and the pull that we overcame
To the conflicting minds that found solace
To the music, the laughter, the tears, the feels
To the movement - that was the train, and
To the constant - that became of us. Jagriti Yatra 2016.
Signing off, Nitsy

North East - A Trip To Remember!

It was one night in the middle of August that I suddenly started planning a trip. I didn’t know where I wanted to go but just that I needed to travel. The concept of solo traveling has intrigued me for quite some time and hence I was inclined to take it up and plan something for Kerala. I got on a call with my friend Ishaan and told him about this. He and a few other friends were planning a trip to the North East and shared the idea of me joining them for that trip.
In my 25 years of existence on Earth, I have never traveled with friends for a week long holiday. Yes! You read that right. I have the same excuse as many of us – didn’t have time, too much work, no money. But suddenly neither of these mattered anymore. I was thrilled by Ishaan’s proposal and decided to take this up. And I couldn’t have been gladder that I did! This trip has been my savior in so many ways that I can’t even count. It has a been a trip of experiencing and exploring beauty, nature, serenity, peace, friendship…