Photographer Parul Sharma’s ode to the pandemic-hit Delhi ‘Dialects of Silence’

To start with, there was stillness. As the lockdown tethered Dilliwallahs indoors, photographer Parul Sharma famous an vacancy — a sure type of peace that was dramatically reverse to Delhi’s tempo. The peace was shattered quickly. Migrants began their lengthy journey dwelling and Covid deaths didn’t stay a factor that haunted Europeans and Americans. Sharma got down to seize the apparitions that had engulfed the town.

From the abandoned corridors of energy to railway stations and mortuaries, from common haunts to hospitals combating an unseen virus, from the destitute to the gurdwaras that labored time beyond regulation to feed them, she has documented all in what’s now a guide, ‘Dialects of Silence’, by Roli.

Captured in black and white, time appeared to have come to a halt for some, but it slipped by from the arms of others just like the younger widow studying the Fatiah earlier than her husband’s freshly dug grave and migrant households left to fend for themselves below flyovers and makeshift shelters. As Delhi confronted the virus’ fury, medical doctors clocked in 18-hour shifts, seven days every week. Sharma captured them in animated discussions, the battle for all times in neonatal wards, the lifeless at mortuaries and crematoriums, however nobody to mourn them…

In the foreward to the guide, artwork historian BN Goswamy says the photographs have the ability to embed themselves in our minds, to creep up on us. “There is, in Parul Sharma’s clear-eyed work, so much sharpness. And so much heart.”

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