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Of Life & Ambitions: Why a Mumbai Student’s ‘Project of Happiness’ Is Taking the Internet by Storm!

Of Life & Ambitions: Why a Mumbai Student’s ‘Project of Happiness’ Is Taking the Internet by Storm!

Deeksha Rathore's photographs capture the stuff that dreams are made of.

Viral is the buzzword with today’s internet generation. A student of Jai Hind College in Mumbai, Deeksha is still getting used to all the attention and adulation that is coming her way.

It was an unfortunate ankle injury that brought her back home and gave her a chance to think about what her project should capture. What was perhaps an unfortunate situation turned out to be a blessing in disguise for this young girl.

Conversations with her mother, whom she calls her go-to person, resulted in the culmination of a project called ‘The Dreamcatcher Project – A poetry of Life and Ambitions.’

Deeksha Rathore

Speaking about what this project has taught her, Deeksha said, “For me it was a project of happiness. The stories I have told through these pictures have been interesting, to say the least. It’s not like the doctor is unhappy that he is saving lives each day. There is no sense of regret at all; neither in me nor the people whom I shot for the project. The biggest takeaway for me has been that life happens and it can take you in various different directions.”

When asked what the biggest challenge was while shooting this project, she said,

“I am not a social person, so this project posed a big challenge for me. Walking up to random people, talking to them, gaining their trust and confidence; it was very impactful for me personally to have done this. You just have to listen, everyone is waiting to tell their story.”

In a project of this nature it is very important that each picture is not just visually appealing but also tells a tale on its own.

The Salesman

Deeksha says, “I didn’t want it to be fabricated. If I was telling someone’s story then I wanted them to be in the pictures. Since it had to be visually appealing that narrowed it down a little bit for me. I had to eliminate a few, a restaurant owner who wanted to be Bruce Lee. So that was difficult to incorporate. I started with a list but as the project moved along things changed and I realised that a list was perhaps not the best way to go about it all.”

Each picture has a fascinating tale to tell. Not just about the people in them but how they came into being.

The Mochi

Deeksha shares with us moments from her most ‘impromptu shoot’ as she calls it.

“I was on my way to source the props for my shoot when I found a shop selling Rajasthani handicraft, and I am from Rajasthan and I just knew I had to go into the store and talk to the people there. A lot of them wanted to become actors and that was difficult to capture. The storeowner’s son had a fascinating story to tell. He wanted to become a professional carom player. On a whim I asked him if he had a carom board and as luck would have it, he did. So that was the most impromptu shoot I did. I was running out of battery and managed to get a few shots just before my camera decided to call it a day. That will be one shoot that I will remember for a long time to come.”

“Shooting the cobbler was just funny. I landed up at Cuffe Parade where the cobbler was with a toy gun since he wanted to be a police officer. I had so many people surrounding us during that shoot. It felt like a full fledged Bollywood shoot. People were cheering, clapping, and encouraging. After a point I had to request the cobbler to stay still because it was becoming impossible to get a good shot.”

“The juicewala picture is also something that is special to me. He was so excited when I handed him the army jacket. The sense of happiness that I saw in him was just unparalleled,” she said.

The juice wala
The Bai (Help)
Flying High
The Air Hostess

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“While I had hoped that my photo series would go viral that was never the intent before I started work. I just wanted to do a good job in my project and all the attention that has come my way has been more than great.”

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