What Was Home, is an exhibition and book of photographs. Triggered by a desire to revisit the past and explore memories attached to his alma mater, Mayo College, Ajmer, where he spent nine formative years, Prakash then expanded his interest to include 18 other boarding schools that held a similar resonance for him. What Was Home is an intimate tale of reminiscences by a photographer who is not only reviving his own memories but is also projecting them on to familiar spaces of ‘fear, loneliness and surprise’.
Prakash’s negotiation of his past and revisiting the spaces of his childhood reflects on the changing nature of memory; that what was once a space marked by loneliness and homesickness is now revisited with empathy and detachment imbued with nostalgia. These photographs, when viewed through the lingering intimacy of Prakash’s photographic gaze, evoke memories—some real and some distorted by time—one reminisces about engraving names on school desks, graffiti on walls, the forbidden midnight feasts, hushed conversations about ghosts that inhabit school buildings and the frenzied rush to bathe in shared bathrooms. The familiarity of these spaces and experiences invite us within the walls of what once, indeed, was home.