It was in October 2012 when I met this boy in Chehni village,Himachal Pradesh.The place is known for a 1500 years old building called Chehni Kothi and is an hour trek from Banjar.
He was like any other child,full of energy and seemed quite happy. The eyes had hope and the smile was infectious. He was busy collecting wood at the school for the winter season.The day was bright and sunny and he was enjoying excellent weather. He was excited to see us and was happy to pose for the camera. He looked smart in the new uniform he had just got from the school.
Went to the same place in May 2013. It was a cloudy day and there was a light drizzle,perfect weather for a trek during the warm season. Saw a boy in torn uniform,shy of the camera and was trying to avoid any eye contact. There was a sense of sadness in his eyes, some sort of despair. Was not too excited to stand in front of the camera. A packet of chewing gum brought a faint smile on his face and he rushed into his house.
While working on the photographs after coming back,something looked familiar yet very strange. Went through the photographs of October tour and realised that he is the same boy. In six months his life has totally transformed. I do not know what kind of tragic events he faced in these six months which has turned his life upside down. He is no longer the same happy boy with a glint in his eyes,the smile is gone.The uniform is tattered,shoes are worn-out but above all these his soul seems drained out of his body.
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