BORDER CROSSING

A BANGALORE-BASED PHOTOGRAPHER GOES TO NAGALAND AND EMBARKS ON A ROAD TRIP WITH THE FIRST PERSON HE MEETS THERE.


In the summer of 2010, I left Bangalore for three weeks and travelled to Nagaland on what could best be described as a social adventure. It’s a place that gets short shrift in the popular imagination of Indians. In Bangalore, a friend of mine once had her driver’s license rejected when she presented it. “Nagaland? We don’t take foreign ID cards!” she was told. Stories like these had only whetted my curiosity. My plan was to simply land unprepared in Dimapur, make friends with the first person I met, and hang out with him. For better or worse, that guy happened to be Peter.

Peter and I made the strangest of bedfellows. We journeyed in his dilapidated Maruti 800. I got to meet everyone from the Chief Minister to undercover informers. He introduced me to the delicacy of dog meat. Over endless rum sessions — sipped from innocuous teacups behind closed shutters because Nagaland is officially a “dry” state — Peter and his friends opened up their lives to me for those few weeks.

Byline: Mahesh Shantaram
Photographs: Author


Motherland is a bi-monthly magazine with a focus on contemporary and emerging Indian cultures.

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