Imayaanam – a visual odyssey through India

A visual journey through India's diverse landscapes and captivating narratives.
Imayaanam -Book
Imayaanam -BookIma Babu
Wait for a passenger
Wait for a passengerIma Babu


The travel bug did sink its teeth deep into photographer Ima Babu, leaving no room for an antidote. This "infection" has blossomed into a magnificent 228-page book titled Imayaanam, a journey spanning the vast expanse of India. Unveiled in Thrissur on Easter, it goes beyond a mere collection of photographs to become a tapestry woven with vivid imagery and captivating narratives. Behind Babu’s unassuming demeanour lies a keen eye that sees beyond the obvious, and a mind that perceives the world in a refreshingly different light. In Imayaanam, Babu reveals himself not just as a photographer but as a storyteller.

VK Sreeraman, writer and actor who has penned the foreword for Babu's book, describes him as a fortunate individual who possesses the gift of perceiving and portraying reality with his eyes wide open beyond the wonders around him. Babu's ability to capture not just the sights but also the essence of his experiences transforms his work into a historical narrative. Even with closed eyes, the memories of his journeys and the people he encountered remain vivid, turning Imayaanam into a living history book.

Ima Babu, adorned with accolades for his captivating photography, has made his presence in the realm of visual storytelling, with a repertoire that includes compelling documentaries and short films. His yearning to traverse the expanse of India was a dream long cherished, a desire whispered to the winds of time. As if summoned by fate's gentle hand, a call from his friend P Salil in October 2022 to get ready in a week for a long journey.

The odyssey began from his hometown near Triprayar, his heart a compass pointing towards the mystical heights of Kedarnath. From there, the path wound through the Himalayas, then venturing eastwards, westwards and finally turning southwards, completing a circuit of discovery and enlightenment.

Babu's book is a celebration of humanity and its myriad expressions. While fleeting glimpses of the majestic Himalayas, the enchanting landscapes of Kashmir, the arid beauty of the deserts, and the bustling streets of Kolkata form the backdrop, it is the people and their everyday lives that take centre stage. Immortalizing even the humblest inhabitants of these regions, his lens capture the crows soaring high above the Himalayas, the sturdy ponies of Kedarnath, the graceful swans of Bhim Tal and the diverse sanyasis (ascetics) he encounters, and even the fishing boats of Rameswaram - all find a place in the visual narrative.

Mother and child on banks of Ganga
Mother and child on banks of GangaIma Babu
A child tries his hand at fishing by throwing staone at fish
A child tries his hand at fishing by throwing staone at fishIma Babu

One of the most poignant images captured by Babu is that of a woman, cradling her infant, scouring the banks of the Ganges for any trace of money or usable clothes that had been offered at the temple and were swept away by the river's currents. His lens immortalizes not just the woman and her child but also the resilience and perseverance that define the human spirit in the face of adversity.

In a striking tableau of contrasts, Babu's lens captured the image of a modern-day ascetic, the "newgen sanyasi", with a mobile phone snugly tucked into his waist belt, his quick, purposeful steps frozen in time as his inaugural photograph. As he ventured deeper into his visual journey, he encountered the embodiment of tradition, the "oldgen hermit”.

There are many such interesting pictures depicting different manifestations of nature and life. And Babu acknowledges the contribution of many who helped in bringing out this book, painstaking at his own level, and which he has priced at Rs 600. After leafing through the pages and reading his comments, one all the more convinced why VK Sreeraman showered praise on him, reminding us of what the famous writer Mark Twain said about travel being fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

Oldgen swami
Oldgen swamiIma Babu
Newgen swami
Newgen swamiIma Babu
Expecting to cash in the  tourists concerns over  baggage safety
Expecting to cash in the tourists concerns over baggage safetyIma Babu

Babu’s book, priced at Rs 600, is a plethora of captivating images, each a unique portrayal of nature's myriad forms and life's diverse manifestations. Babu humbly acknowledges the invaluable contributions of those who aided him in this very personal labour of love, meticulously crafting a narrative that is not only visually stunning but also intellectually enriching through his quite insightful commentary. Priced at Rs 600, this book embodies what renowned writer Mark Twain had to say about travel being fatal to prejudices, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

 Imayaanam  - Book
Imayaanam - BookIma Babu

Latest News

No stories found.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Metrovaartha- En