1650552968 652 Visual Notes at the Hospital Because Life is Everywhere
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Visual Notes at the Hospital, Because Life is Everywhere

1650552968 652 Visual Notes at the Hospital Because Life is Everywhere

Photograph/Dinesh Khanna

There is something about hospitals that makes all of us uncomfortable, even with the thought of just visiting one. Unless, of course, one is a doctor or a nurse. I have often wondered how they feel being in a hospital every day. Dealing with patients. Illness. Trauma. The pathos of suffering. Both, of the one who is ill and the family members who don’t know how to deal with the situation and can only hang around, hoping all will be well.

“Photography is not just about shooting the happier moments in one’s life.”

Recently, my mom fell ill. Not terribly serious but worrying nevertheless. And when one has to go to the hospital in the darkness of night, somehow, there is more bathos in the pathos than if one went in the bright light of the afternoon. Entering a hospital through the Emergency also opens one’s eyes to the myriad tragedies which are happening simultaneously around us, but we are not really aware Dinesh Khanna of. Accidents. Heart attacks. Some patients are comatose. Others are crying and moaning in pain.

At 3am, we were told she should be kept under observation for a few days. So there I was, as is my habit, taking visual notes, watching people with their loved ones. After all, it is photography that helps us value the moment that we are going through. It can record our thoughts, our memories, the way we feel… and not all of this may be the conventional happy snapshot.

Of course, as seems to be all pervasive now, one came across an example of political power, even in this oasis of caring and worrying. A senior politician who has been convicted and is meant to be in jail, was in one of the hospital’s suites, pretending to be ill, with dozens of followers hanging around, hoping for a darshan of the Netaji.

Dinesh Khanna’s career path veered from being a calculator salesman, a garment quality checker, a busboy in a New York bar and a client servicing executive, after which, he finally gave in to his desire to make images. He co-founded the Delhi Photo Festival and regularly conducts ‘addas’ in Delhi to encourage discussions on the medium.


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