As India continues to boom, the pace of change is becoming more and more apparent. Soon to be the youngest country in the world as well as one of the most populated India's youth are starting to step into the limelight, not only as a vital asset for the future, but as the biggest challenge to the nations more traditional past.But with a conservative generation still in power, and their more orthodox customs still maintaining the country's discourse a difficult dichotomy is already at play.
In Mumbai, India's capital of bling, young people from all walks of life are coming of age in a world previously unimaginable to their parents. A fast expanding, educated and often secular youth is now aspiring to new ways of life, reflected in a rapidly growing consumer society, whilst all the while still attempting to maintain their engagement with the values of more traditional ways of life.
Ravi Shekar was 19 years old when I met him, and was born and raised to a Hindu family in Mumbai's largest slum, better known as 'Dharavi,' As a fixer for news crews, journalists and documentarians alike, a profound knowledge and witty charm saw him being gifteda camera and a love for Photography ensued. , Having shot the many faces of what is popularly known as Asia's biggest 'slum' Shekar has now exhibited outside and within the country . But while he aspires to make something further of his passion, there remains a pressure to also maintain greater personal beliefs and customs favoured by his family and his community.
Originating from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Shekar practices 'Chadi Mari', a body piercing ritual dating back over 2000 years, whereteh actual ownership of ones flesh is given up to the Gods.
This is an insight into Shekar's life as he prepares to objectify and relinquish his own body into a society governed by consumption, status and tradition to maintain a place in his community and preserving his idea of self. Working his daily efforts of fulfilling his potential as one of India's aspiring youth and breaking the mold made out for him, while maintaining his dedication to the behaviors and customs held dear by the community he loves, this is a story shared by many in the struggle to balance what is expected of them versus the reality of a young India's dream for the future.