Humans of India 

A Photography Essay by Anya Chadha, Capucine Parvery, and Taiah Hariharan

Human of AES: an expatriate in India, Marissa Wickersheim 

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Ms Wickersheim is an English teacher at AES in the high school. Through this picture, we can see her appreciation for traveling and discovery, however, her daily life is spent within the walls of AES. The AES community is a very loving and friendly environment for all, staff and students and Ms Wickersheim thinks working at this school has given her an “opportunity to learn and grow” in a field she loves. This idea of loving community at AES has also been recorded by Ms Wickersheim. She says that her “insanely intelligent colleagues” have made her a better person by pushing her to be the “best version” of herself. AES has also changed her by making her realise the importance of her value outside of school, the importance of taking care of herself, “I can’t pour from an empty cup” she states.

 

Even though the AES community is a wonderful one, it is part of a bigger picture, India. India has impacted many expatriates positively and Ms Wickersheim appears to have a similar experience. “India has absolutely added to my understanding of the world in general and all of its nuances - religion, culture, class, race etc.”. She says this experience and gain of knowledge was more than what her 15-year-old version self could have ever dreamed of while living in the rural US. India has many bright sides but does have dark sides. The major positive side Ms Wickersheim has seen throughout India is the people’s kindness and generosity, their “level of hospitality and willingness to bring people into their families”. Though being an expatriate in India is not always easy, India has brought a lot of appreciation and understanding to the foreign communities, it certainly has a strong impact on our perspective of the world. 

Human of India

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India is a country rich in culture, diversity, and authenticity. Though its ancient ruins, breathtaking landscapes, and cultural festivity bring the country alight, its unique individuals play a pivotal role in this diverse community that surrounds us. Beyond the gates of AES lies thousands of faces waiting for their stories to be told. This image was captured at the Vivekanand community, located directly across from AES. While walking through the narrow alleyways outlined by the walls of colorful brick homes, I continued to stumble upon captivating smiling faces. Whether it be the 9-year-old boy who was always eager to show off his soccer skills at the Reach Out service club or the hardworking mother chopping wood outside her home, the contagious joy flooded the community. While exchanging just a few short minutes of interaction with the women pictured above, I felt the compassion and wisdom from her years of life lessons being absorbed. Her deep wrinkles, piercing black eyes, and soft smile represent the adversity and love she has endured, highlighting the novel journeys each one of us has undertaken. 

Human of India

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During the pandemic India continued to adapt and develop; yet, the prolonged period of grief and loss over the previous two years has impacted India in many ways. The streets were barren for the first year, but India now appears to be waking up. The streets are once again bustling with people, and the country appears to have regained its vibrancy and energy. India has always been a thriving nation. Different cultures, faiths, and people coexist here, each of which is unique and lovely in its own way.

This photo was taken outside the school on Malcha Marg. We approached this young man, expecting a harsh rejection, with the intention of taking a photograph of him and his partner. I was taken aback by his enthusiasm and snapped this picture immediately away. His joy was infectious, and the group I was with reciprocated it. The faces of India are all distinct in their own right, yet they work together to give the country its personality and beauty.