Old age means different things to different people. Some spend it desolate in unfeeling old-age homes, others remain cosy with their noisy families, while some enjoy the solitude that the autumn of their lives may bring...
Inspired by his grandparents’ rather independent routine, photojournalist Akshay Mahajan decided to record a day in their lives, early last year. “My grandparents are both above 70 and live alone in south Delhi’s Vasant Enclave. The idea was to look at what it means to grow old in a new-age, urban landscape of India,” says the photographer who has recently moved from Mumbai to the capital.
This photo-project also came about during the time when the bike gang terror had struck Delhi. “It caused my grandparents to live with this daily angst, which wound its way into their routine... My granddad would religiusly put four locks every night — one each on the main door, side door, main gate and a gear lock in their car. They weren’t paranoid but the idea of security had struck in their head,” says the 25-year-old photographer who has worked on projects across Mumbai, Rajasthan, Nepal and Cambodia.
What was it like photographing his grandparents? “They didn’t pay much attention, so I was quite invisible. When I first came in, they actually just put me in the car and took me to buy a sweater!” Any striking discoveries? “Not really, looking at it through these components just reinforced what I was already familiar with about them.”