The Humans of New York (HONY) photo-blog has inspired numerous projects around the world, and among them is a rather unique take by a college student in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
Nineteen-year-old Shivdeep Singh, a chemical engineering student at IIT (BHU) Varanasi, started a photo-blog called "Cows of Benaras" on Facebook a few months ago.
The description on the page reads, "Everyone speaks a language not everyone can decipher. A moo has a sorrow and a laughter of a lifetime too."
The format of Singhâ€™s blog is the same- he uploads photographs, in his case of cows, and accompanies it with lucid descriptions from the animalsâ€™ points of view, which are sometimes funny, at others colourful and intriguing.
"I believe that there's a song in everything if you have the ears to listen. For instance, Ravana must relate a lot to Rihanna. For all we do is just gonna stand there and watch him burn..."
"The idea came from Humans Of New York, which has risen above being just a page to a phenomenon. Brendon, the page admin of HONY interviews random people on the streets of New York and sort of puts up a Human Blog of each person. I always wanted to do something like that. But then I shy away from people a bit, so I thought I'd do it with cows. The Cows of Benaras. Plus since a picture speaks a million words, It gives me the liberty to write whatever I wish to (sic),â€ť Singh, who is member of Media Club, IIT BHU, tells The News Minute.
"I never believed in love. I believed in food. But if you love someone, you let them go. And if the love was true, they'll come back to you. Just like maggi did."
The young lad, who hails from Muktsar in Punjab, chose the bovine beings over other mortals because he feels â€ścows are something that Benaras would never get short of.â€ť
"You just can't portray Varanasi without a stray cow. And they are such peace loving, carefree creatures; I thought that it'd appeal to a wider range of people as a unique concept. I can recall counting probably 40 cows on a one-way journey from the railway station to my hostel, here in Varanasi. So I thought, 'Hey! Why not cows,â€™â€ť he says.
"For seven years I come here each day, with a slight hope in my heart that she'd come back. I don't know who took her away, but my love is eternal. Each evening I stare at The Ganges and sing that Brayn Adams song for her."
"Which one?..Could you just hum it, please?"
"You know it's true.. Every time I moo.. I moo it for you..."
Singh sources most of his pictures from the internet and some of them arenâ€™t from Varanasi. He says it is "because probably I don't really have the resources or the time since I am just a student."
"This is something I just do because it makes me happy, and some people tell me that it makes them smile. I try putting in a light- humor element or a philosophical one in most of my stories. Some are to indirectly inspire if it manages to appeal to that portion of a viewer's mind," he says.
"What are you trying to prove?"
"It's a mootaphor, human. I'm tyred of this life."
"Usually I stare at the pictures and allow my mind to storm in all the observations I can make and then frame some sort of a story around them," Singh adds.
But the descriptions, which according to him is "real soul behind the page" are entirely his creations, he asserts.
"My friend kept cowplaining on how he couldn't grow famoos all his life. Then one day I explained to him that it wasn't too late. His fossils could still be discovered like a million years from now. That would make him the most famous cow dead. Now he doesn't cowplain at all. Just kicks me in the shins. I don't get it why."
Through his words, Singh weaves a world around cows- with individual characters, lives, thoughts, emotions and stories- which many may not find appealing otherwise.
"Now, when I see a cow on the roadside, I can feel it has a life, something that we humans have to appreciate and respect," he says.
The page has over 13,000 likes and the response to it has been generally nice, says Singh.
The page has followers from the country as well as from other nations including Pakistan, Bangladesh and USA.
"What are your thoughts on the 4-day meat ban?"
"Well, the chicken gets to feel like a cow in Moorashtra.
Plus, the song 'Jeene k hai chaar din' would start making sense to someone."
Speaking about his move from engineering to blogging, and what heâ€™d like to pursue in the future, Singh quips, "In India you become an engineer first, and then you decide what you have to become in life."
Singh has still a long way to graduate and is looking forward to exploring life and embracing whatever destiny has in store for him.
(All images source: Cows of Benaras/Facebook)
The article has been updated.