Water holds mystical significance in Indian tradition. While a few drops of sacred water link the newborn with the cosmos, it remains a powerful symbol of purification and regeneration in death, too. The Earth and the human bodies are bathed in water, projecting life as an inevitable jalyatra -- a journey that seeks to confirm our origin and reincarnation in water. Water, however, has seemingly lost its magic. Familiarity is partly to blame. Because it is so universal we take it for granted; we have stopped thinking about it, let alone appreciating it. No wonder water carries different meanings for different people. For a saint it is a heavenly bliss; for a farmer it is a nature's boon; for an engineer it is worthy of a project; and, for a city dweller it is a fluid that must flow through the tap.
Nitya Jacob's Jalyatra through eight distinct zones of the country -- from Goa to Shillong and from Madurai to Shekhawati -- seeks to re-construct the fading images of a society, its people and its social institutions, that for long had treasured water in some of the most ingenious ways .... more