Imagining a Utopia emboldens my intrigue towards the terrains we inhabit. My focus is on void and wounds. On spaces and places. The Chinese American geographer, Yi-Fu Tuan, suggests that ‘place’ gives you security while ‘space’ offers freedom. We are attached to one and long for the other. I have trouble distinguishing the two especially when it comes to emotional territories – the personal, the sacred, the spiritual. Wandering through the world and looking through a lens helps me demystify these concepts. Perhaps utopia exists in that fleeting oneness with air. When the temple of the soul is aligned with the envelope of nature. Under the muqarnas (with their infinite geometry) of Iran, by the valleys of Kashmir, the ruins of Anatolia, the vignette of Andalusia, the bruises of Balkans, I gather how Utopia transits across states of mind, shifting, projecting, drifting.

It is ironic how the term ‘Utopia’ was coined. Greek for ‘No-place’. There is that dissolution of anchors and stability. Utopia: the abode of desires should shake your ground but holds you in place. Utopia feeds on your solitude and makes you food for the vultures. Utopia is a conversation you have with the universe while the universe emphasises your insignificance. Utopia is the tension between you and the Divine.

A shepherd slumped by the curves of the mountainous roads, winding up the journey from Srinagar to Leh

An aged lady basking under the splendid spill of colours from the reflections of the Nasir-ul-Molk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran

A lone traveller at the peak of a sand dune during sundown that fringes the city of Yazd, Iran

A man drowned in the golden leak of the sun from the viewing point of Punthuk Setumbu, Yogyakarta

A Hindu devotee by the ghat of the Pushkar Lake at the break of morning near the Rajasthan province of India

In the act of devotion, a worshipper submerged himself in the divine water body surrounding the Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple, the holiest gudhwara of Sikhism.

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