She needs...

Photograph: Rajat Dey. Words: Mine. Design: Gopika Chowfla

Photograph: Rajat Dey. Words: Mine. Design: Gopika Chowfla

Last year, Prashant Panjiar had the excellent idea of creating an exhibition that melded words and photographs for Serendipity Arts Festival.  It's a simple and elegant concept: a photographer takes a photograph, a writer responds to it. The photographer doesn't know the writer and the writer doesn't know who took the photograph. What emerges is something new — part word, part photograph, rich with different perspectives.

Prashant had a set of photographs he'd selected and asked me to help him find the writers who would respond to the photographs in words. I wasn't supposed to write any of the pieces and it was only because of one of those the last-minute panic-situations that I sat down, pen and paper in hand. It took no time to write the words for this photograph by Rajat Dey. I'd loved it from the first day that Prashant had showed me his shortlisted set. 

These days in the city, I find myself thinking of spiders.
In the throes of arachnid passion, 
the male brown widow spider
all of himself to his mate -- 
his seed, for creation;  
his body, for her to gobble up. 
As though just that most fertile part of him isn't enough to convince her to make space in her crowded body for something they might create. 
She needs
She needs
a piece of him. 
Then maybe, just maybe she'll allow a little dream to be born. 

I'd written this just a few months after moving to Delhi. A year later, having decided to stay put in this city for a little longer, I wonder if Delhi's got the piece of me it wanted.