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Home calling

A photo essay by a young Tibetan photographer who crossed over to India in his childhood.

art and culture Updated: Jan 23, 2012 19:39 IST
Tsering Topgyal

Photography happened to me by chance in a draw of lots by my schoolteacher . I was lucky once more before that, when I crossed the dangerous mountain ranges to reach India from my native place Tibet, where my family still lives.

The chilling memories of crossing the treacherous path with limited resources and isolated groups still haunt me. It is hard to forget the helplessness as we saw one of our group members being washed away in the river current. He was not as lucky as me, perhaps.

There were corpses lying in the snow. Perhaps they were one of us. I don't remember which route we took to cross but from a distance, I think, I saw Mt Everest. I was nine then.

I don't remember why my parents sent me to India but I am still waiting for the day to visit my birthplace and shoot pictures of the lives of common Tibetans from my point of view. Not to make any political statement in my photographs, I believe it would be equally hard to avoid it in Tibet.

In these pictures of old age homes and other Tibetan communities, I've tried to find a connection between Tibetans living in India, who've seen an independent Tibet, and people like me who don't know how Tibet looks like.

— The author is a documentary photographer based in Delhi. For a project, he is documenting Tibetans who have seen their native land at least once.

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