Photographs and Styling by Akanksha Pandey. Assisted by Sarah Rajkotwala, Aishwaryashree. Lucknow Production by Saurabh Singh
KANKSHA PANDEY, 31
“I was born in Lucknow, but my features are North-Eastern. A sense that you do not belong nor fit in can be both liberating and draining.
I grew up in an environment where the idea of fun was gendered. Girls weren’t encouraged to express themselves individualistically. Some of us would not conform to the systemic conditioning and attempted to break free of gender roles: we rebelled by learning how to ride a motorcycle, doing things on our own, pursuing untraditional interests and career choices. That first smoke, hanging out with boys, befriending individuals with diverse religious identities. Essentially chasing a sense of freedom, we were determinedly unprejudiced in our approach to life. Through this shoot, I look at how young Lucknowites are unlearning internalized misogyny and redrawing the lines of socio-economic hierarchies while rejecting outdated traditions. ”