An intimate photo series showing elderly Kashmiri parents navigating the coronavirus lockdown in Turkey after experiencing several military lockdowns in disputed Kashmir.
My parents moved to Istanbul to join one of my siblings in October last year. They wanted to get away from the suffocating environment of their hometown of Srinagar, the capital of India-administered Kashmir. They had survived one of the longest military and communication lockdowns, which began on August 5, when New Delhi abrogated the nominal autonomy of Kashmir so that the disputed territory became federally administered.
A trip to Istanbul was an escape from a life full of uncertainties in Kashmir, where gunfights, police cordons, curfews, mournings and protests have become the norm. Another daunting challenge was posed by the incoming winter. Winters in Kashmir are harsh and they get worse with long power outages, along with the shortage of essential supplies they can bring.
My brother and I were therefore excited that our parents were going to spend a few months in Istanbul, and hence away from the miseries of Kashmir. I flew from Qatar to join them. But then the pandemic hit the world and our return to our respective places got delayed. A lockdown of a different kind became part of our lives.
In this photo series shot with an iPhone, my parents are chronicled during the pandemic, and it captures the range of emotions that characterised this time — from yearning to nostalgia, to a simple prayer that asked for a return to their home in Kashmir.
Baba Tamim is a freelance journalist and a documentary photographer based in Doha. His work has been published by USA Today, Dawn, Aljazeera English, Caravan Magazine, Doha News and many other reputed publications.