Life in the Sundarbans is intertwined with the rivers, creeks, floods and its ebbs. I started travelling to the tide country four years back, during the onset of monsoon. Little did I know that the monsoon would be one of the fiercest in the last decade, and that my life too would become intertwined with this cycle of flood and ebb. In this work I narrate my journey through the tide country, giving in to my impulses, recollecting encounters, traversing this fragile ecosystem. The landscape shifts like a sand dune from one island to another, the tide eats away the mangroves, only to breathe them out when it recedes. A constant tussle is on between people and the sea, between man and animal. Islands, once home to thousands of people are at risk of being washed away, or have already been submerged.

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An old man along the coast of Baliara, looking at tracts of construction ravaged by tidal waves.
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Women and children wait on the banks of the Hooghly river for the ferry from Bagdanga.

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Mousuni, one of the frontier islands at the edge of Bay of Bengal, is prone to ecological disasters because of its strategic location and rising sea levels.

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An itinerant hawker walks towards the island to sell baked goods. 

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A woman walking past mud embankments with a bottle of water. One of the major problems of salt water inundation is lack of potable water.

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An abandoned house on the Bakkhali coastline.

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An abandoned weather department building along the Bakkhali coastline.

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A derelict colonial era building marks the entrance to Mousuni Island. Sunderbans was an East India Company project. It settled people in forested areas to increase revenue.

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Monsoons are a particularly difficult time, with tidal waves breaching embankments and flooding miles of the island coastline.

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Students from the government high school during low tide. These areas are flooded during high tide and are inaccessible.

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Idols for an annual ritual being transported to the Island by the ferry.

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A fisherman arranges his net along the coast at low tide. The high tide brings an inflow of fish which they try to catch on their way back to the river.

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An old farmer and his wife rebuild their damaged house using logs on a raised platform, hoping to avoid the inundation next monsoon.

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Over the years repeated attempts to make effective embankments to prevent inundation have failed due to the intensity of the tidal waves and the rising level of water.