I shot this girl when I was employed in my last job. At that time, I was President of the Indian operations of a Dutch multinational and did not know that this was to be my last corporate job. I had gone to visit one of our business groups in Pune, India, and during my trip, one girl asked me if I would visit a school they were supporting.
They had named the CSR project they were running “Project Roshni”. Roshni means “light, bright”, and it is of Persian and Hindi origin. It has a physical and psychological meaning, and in this case, the reference was to the psychological aspect.
The schoolchildren were—are blind girls, so by supporting them, we were attempting to bring light into their lives. In most images of blind people, we see someone wearing dark glasses, carrying a cane, and sometimes accompanied by a dog.
It’s rare to look into a blind person’s eyes, and the experience is unsettling. I remember my hands shaking when I raised the camera, and my heart feeling squeezed. It was a very difficult visit—emotionally—and I could not help but wonder what the future held for these girls.
I always have that same feeling when I look at the images of these girls. It’s been years now, and as I write, the SARS-CoV-2 virus (and its mutations) is ravaging India. Most of us are holed up at home and are unhappy about it. We crib, moan and complain about how we cannot party or go to restaurants or engage in many social activities.
It must be even more difficult for these girls. There is always someone who has a more hard time than we have.
How many of us are blind in one, or more, of these aspects? It’s a difficult question to answer. Whenever I look at these old images, I hope that the girls