Every religion has its culture of atonements and vows. Bigger the wish or deeper the gratitude, more eager is the follower to undertake an arduous and grueling journey. A Christian would walk miles on his knees out of faith. A Buddhist would prostrate and crawl on her stomach to gain her inner peace. A Muslim would self-flagellate to convey his sorrow while a Hindu would renounce the things she loves most out of devotion. But some take it even further.
Piercing the body out of faith is a custom in most of the older religions. Though it may induce fear, doubt and anxiety, it is also associated with a certain sense of mysticism and spirituality. I witnessed Thaipusam - the magical Hindu festival where devotees in a state of trance, painlessly carry offerings and symbols of faith in the form of heavy burdens (milk pots, kavadi, karagam) and/or have a range of intriguing attachments hooked to their body. But beyond the images of unbelievable crowds and fanfare, I also witnessed love, trust and devotion merging into an expression of faith through self-sacrifice. For many, Thaipusam is all about the flourish and the obscure customs. For many tourists, it is the defining evidence of the unique multi-cultural life in Malaysia. For many amateur photographers, it’s one of those places where you capture that ‘one’ unforgettable picture.
For me it's a story of love. I decided to capture this event through the eyes of a couple – a, married childless couple who apart from their love for their God have been loving each other for 9 long years. It's a personal story and a personal journey...
Greatest thanks to the people without whom the production of this video wouldn't be possible : Malliga, Murugan, Paulius, Sayan, Chris, Ragu and Durai.