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© Swapan Nayak

"We are at the mercy of the river. Sometimes it spares us the agony of shifting out, sometimes it doesn’t, but almost always, it haunts us". Said Zoinuddin the grizzled 70 year old. It was on an assignment for OUTLOOK magazine that I had met him. I came back with enough pictures for my magazine. But I went back to the same place again after one year to photograph independently. It was then that I saw this boat being pulled out manually. The immense labour put in by these people to retrieve the boat was the ideal symbolism of their daily struggle for survival and it was as if through this one picture I had captured the entire essence and meaning of the lives of the people of the temporary islands of the river Brahmaputra.