Dark Still Water
The River Cooum meanders through a village by the same name. The length of the river is about 65 kilometers, of which 18 kilometers fall within the Chennai city limits.
This fresh water source is today a poor reflection of its glorious past. Once a fishing river and boat racing ground, it has borne the brunt of the city’s unplanned population explosion. Today, it is a drainage system in the city.
River Cooum is a pool of dark still water that is breeding mosquitoes. It is also homes to many families who live in the makeshift houses along the riverbanks and by the road.
As I walked by the river this morning, I could see the rubbish floating on the water. Yet children were also playing by the same area. I took some pictures of the children and spend some time talking to the families who live there. I chatted with a middle-aged man who has been living there for the last 17 years. He and his wife with their two children make a living by selling coconuts and watermelons along the same road. Nothing looks permanent in their home. Everything looks makeshift. I don’t think their children would ever go to school. Life is hard in a temporary shelter without clean water source. However the kids still put on great smiles. As such, I was able to capture their beautiful as well as innocent moments.
How could one help the families to get out of such poor living condition?