I chanced upon a breath-taking gallery of photographs on Instagram under the name of @thedirtyshoes with a most compelling line in the bio, ‘Trying to live the life from my own little understanding of it.’ And some incredible photo-moments flashed on my screen, along with some wonderful writing as well.
Uncommon traveler and photographer, Rizul Verma have a muddy pair of shoes indeed- traveling and documenting through word and visual the heady experiences of being out there. One look at his gallery will reinstate your belief that traveling ultimately makes a storyteller of you.
What makes every photograph of his compelling is that the incredible images are always accompanied by a simple yet profound thought, penned with much sensitivity and lucidness. Every post thus transforms itself into a photo story by itself. This is definitely inspiring because very rarely do we find a seamless blending of amazing photography skills and an eloquence in writing.
The Uncommon Box caught up with Rizul to decipher exactly what fuels @thedirtyshoes to keep exploring and pushing farther the boundaries of travelling with limits.
Such stories always begin with a simple event- as simple as getting to experience a DSLR and being blown away by bokeh and macro shots. But it was the 2013 Kashmir trip that proved to be Rizul’s lifelong affair with Nature and of course, Photography.
A Jar full of love from the seasonal streams which have come to life.
A bundle of fresh grass which even the pastel greens would be proud of.
The cassettes which carry the song of the mountains, of the rain falling on the leaves, the deafening sound of the river gushing from the fresh rainfall.
There is also a box of pebbles which she has collected, there are the white ones, the grey, and then the beautiful muddy browns. There are also a few broken pieces which makes me fall in love with the imperfections.
There are letters which she has been writing for the past weeks. Signed off in the cherry dipped lips, stains of which have filled the room with her.
This is how her tiny little parcel of love from the mountains arrive.
One of the significant details about Rizul is the importance he credits to Instagram in his journey as a photographer.
To be able to share his experiences in the form of stunning visuals with the world out there through this medium has been ‘fruitful and fulfilling’- in his own words. ‘Signing up on Instagram was also to share my stories with the people around the world, to able to share my piece of mind with the like-minded’- Rizul explains.
He goes on to discuss the importance of this medium further:
‘I personally have been mostly into nature and travel. I wasn’t much of a travel enthusiast but that 2013 Kashmir trip changed it all for me. I would like to explore more of the places culturally and her life experiences from people all over. Instagram, I believe is a very powerful medium. I enjoy sharing my heart out here and people have been appreciative, I can say I have found another side of me by sharing my experiences be it in travel, motivational, romantic or my love for the nature.
Receiving the news of the snowfall all around. The colours which were once so vibrant are being covered by the fresh sheet of snow. I wish I could be there among the locals, see them tackling the snow and learn how they co-exist. The difficulties people go through are immense but still, they will serve you the best tea you have had for long time.
Instagram has helped me mature as a photographer and a writer, there are so many talented people out there to learn from and grow. I hope to share many more stories of the love lost and found, of the people I meet on the road, of the journeys planned in future, of the life that in itself is a journey to remember.’
You travel a thousand miles but nothing comes close to being at home and especially when you know its Chandigarh you’re heading back to.
When quizzed about the challenges and how he has been dealing with them, this inspiring soul has a deceptively simple ‘funda’- Rizul says,
‘Challenges in photography, in general, are immense, there’s this creative barrier you face. That is when you need to challenge yourself to be able to be productive. There’s a quote which has always been a source of constant motivation to me: “If you’re not living off the edge, you’re taking too much space.”
“Travel” “wanderlust” “himalayas” few of the many words I have been extensively reading through most of the year gone and knowing it’s going to get even more mileage with the summer now kicking off.
To be true travelling doesn’t come to me naturally and yes I am a bit jealous of those born travellers. I have my own prejudices when planning to move out and even though not wanting them to cloud my mind, they always do and to an extent that all my enthusiasm starts to fade away right before when I am to make the move.
Then there’s motion sickness to fight to as well. Though I make through the journey all good, but it plays on the back of my mind. Those who go through it, know how it messes up with the head. So I promised that I need to keep travelling and hope that this feeling is no more or maybe I am able to make peace with it.
Sharing this doesn’t make me feel any lesser, it’s more human than anything. It is OK to have your issues but never stop doing what you aim to. If you have found something that gives you meaning and purpose to keep doing it, then do it again and again. Nurture it with all your care and it will give you immense hope and well being.
Travelling doesn’t come to me easy but still I want to experience new places, I want to come across new cultures, want to know how life is on the other side of the road I am on. The easiest way is to jump into it and let the circumstances dictate what happens next. Be in the moment, there and then plan your move.
I am still finding my answers to the questions unknown. Still looking for the bright spot in the darkness. Still finding more meaning to the life I want to live. Still constantly trying to be a better human than what I was yesterday.
I might have been gone for a while, but I am not gone forever.
Rizul is a banker by profession, therefore time is always a challenge, but then you always find time for what you love and you should’- he insists.
His plans for the future: He would like to take on to street photography maybe for sometime in future just to challenge my creative self, as he envisions it. There’s so much happening around that you find yourself in a plethora of emotions, then to capture people in their rawest emotion is what I would also like to explore in coming future.’
There are times when you have a lot to say, but end up saying nothing.
P.s.: Mountains welcome you all with open heart so keep them litter free and have the best of times.
Plans, goals, and dreams
Rizul has an ever growing list of things-to-do and places-to-visit:
- Firstly I would like to be associated with a social cause in any way possible, maybe have a photo-series dedicated to it. So I will be looking forward to having some kind of association soon. I would like to give much more to humanity in whatever way possible and will certainly look forward to utilizing photography as a medium which is immensely powerful.
- Then there is a dream to experiences festivals of India at their native places, Naga festival, Hemis festival to name a few.
- To experience every state in India is another item on the bucket list.
- Would love to do a road trip to the western coast.
- Another dream of many is to witness the Olive Ridley turtles hatching along the east coast.
Every morning here has a different flavor to it. You know it will be an amazing day when this is the first view you are treated to. So many happy people around.
So what advice does Rizul offer budding photographers?
I believe every time I fail I learn more than I would have if I sailed through. So the advice for the budding photographers would be to fail and learn. To not be scared of failures, every failure is a victory in itself because you dared to try because you took the first step towards success which is the hardest of all. And compete with yourself more than you do with others. Be content in your own space and let people appreciate the work your own creative freedom allows to present.
‘For a picture, you need to be at the right place and at the right moment. That’s what makes it happen. Absorb the moment before you press the shutter’.
The testimony of an artiste’s craftsmanship is his ability to convey an intensely profound moment to an audience or maybe even another person- in a way that the moment is shared. Rizul Verma’s photographs and words do just that. On behalf of Team TUB, we wish him countless mesmerizing moments on the roads less traveled.
We used to write poems together in the setting sun,
Line by line, One hers and the other mine,
There was no match to Her perfectly rounded words,
She used to write fiercely with her beautifully sculpted long fingers,
While I used to be high on the purple and orange hues of the sky,
Her curled lashes, opening the world inside her brown eyes,
Full of dreams, full of energy like the sun burning bright,
She used to feast on tangy snacks and I had a sweet tooth,
It had us both going through the evenings,
Our writings sprinkled love for the notebook to turn pink,
It wasn’t only me, her cheeks too would turn red.
Still I write, but now only alone with my scrambled words,
Separated by distance, connected through stories,
I do the Nicholas Spark’s message in a bottle for her, in a belief to send our love across the oceans,
Hoping those letters would reach her,
As somewhere hers are reaching me too.
And after all this while I still believe in magic and so will you.
About Rizul Verma:
Rizul is an Engineering-MBA graduate, working as an Assistant Manager in a Public Sector Bank, with a passion for Photography. In search of himself, he has found his love in photography, travel and meeting new people to the places he travel. He is also a sports enthusiast at heart- football in particular.
You can catch him on Instagram
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