New Delhi: The tears have dried up at Delhi’s cremation grounds. The pyres are so close to one another, they burn incessantly and the smoke burns your eyes, so it’s better to get the job done quickly.
Let us now consign our mother or father or sister or brother to the fire. This life is over. The body has shed its clothes, says the Gita, and the soul will soon take on another body, another life. Ashes to ashes.
We, those of us who are left behind, with our grief and our memories, all we can do is hold each other and grieve together in the shadow of the night, lit up by her pyre. Even in her death, she gives us light.
Over the last week and more, ever since Delhi became among the worst Covid-19 affected cities in the country, ThePrint’s Photo Editor Praveen Jain has been walking the national capital, capturing images of grieving families at crematoria in Seemapuri and Ghazipur, crowds at liquor vends, masked up city folk standing at chemist stores awaiting their turn, an ‘oxygen langar’ at the Indirapuram gurdwara on the outskirts of the capital and the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital — the city’s main Covid-19 centre.
Photographers are no longer allowed inside, so Jain stalks the gates that have become a crucible of emotion — wails of grief, pure relief as well as quiet resignation — patients enter and leave, a ceaseless turnover of life and death.
Here is a selection of his pictures of a city under siege: