“Solitude, for me, is about self-discovery. My home is my cocoon and nourishes me. This is one of the reasons why I have been enjoying my time alone so much,” confesses Mumbai-based photographer Rema Chaudhary whose visual narrative titled ‘Alone, Together’ chronicles her experience when the world went into a complete lockdown. A recluse by choice, Rema found herself longing for human connection during this time — a craving that compelled her to connect with her ex and eventually transformed into a series of 300 screenshots centred around their daily lives, in isolation.

Chronicling the routine during the lockdown: Mumbai-based photographer Rema Chaudhary revisit the usual routine of day to day living, through new eyes while also renewing ties during the pandemic

What prompted her to reshape her take on elective solitude? “All of us have taken the freedom of interaction for granted and our right to embrace a friend. But the pandemic disrupted that in ways we never thought were possible. Ordinarily, I would have relished a quiet day at home, but now left with no choice, I have been stripped of that delight. Choosing me time and forced isolation may lead to the same physical state but they are not the same at all. The walls suddenly felt higher, and closer,” the photographer ruminates, delving into the making of her journey through the successive lockdowns.

There is magic in the mundane, as we re-visit the usual through new eyes in the wake of this challenging situation worldwide. “Initially I never imagined that these screenshots would culminate into an exhibition,” she says. Of her reconnection with her former partner, Rema believes that there was an undeniable sense of familiarity. “Our daily calls offered a welcome dose of sanity in a strange new reality.

Shilpi Madan for Sunday Herald

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