Exploring Intimacy - Widows of Vrindavan

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1. Intimacy Introduction Formation of intimate relationships Practice of intimacy Different notions of intimacy Gender differences in intimacy Different types of intimacy The power of vulnerability to create intimacy Mediums through which intimacy can be perceived

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9-14

2. Language Non verbal communication Verbal communication Developing intimacy during the World War DevelopingiIntimacy back home from sea

15-18 19-21 22 23-24

3. Widows of Vrindavan Widowhood in India Concept development Questions to address Introduction of the city Start of widowhood in Vrindavan Why do these widows come to Vrindavan? Data analysis Questionnaire Stories from Vrindavan Learning new skills My intimate bond with the widows Conclusion Prototypes Bibliography

25-28 29 30 31 32-33 34-36 37 38-40 41-56 57 58-60 61-62 63-64 65-74


The Latin etymology of the word ‘intimacy’ comes from the word ‘Intimus’ which means ‘innermost’ 1 Thus, incorporating a notion of sharing by acknowledging an urge of belonging together.



Intimacy is not sex, & sex is not intimacy. It is the experience of emotional closeness, of knowing and being known at a deeper level by another person. Intimacy requires vulnerability: revealing sensitive aspects of one with another person, especially by feeling free to share deeply personal emotions, thoughts and experiences with them. It inherently connotes a closeness of some sort and sets certain boundaries and limits in human relationships. It is a form of personal expression that helps in the developmental role in identity formation, through the consensual validation of personal worth by providing individuals with the opportunity to feel understood and accepted as they are, within the relationship. There is no set definition to Intimacy – it can be as subjective as one wants it to be. That’s one of the things I really love about it. It can be as deep as the fondness and trust we feel with the people closest to us, and it can be a glimmer of “we’re in this together” among strangers who are all stuck in the same elevator. Every individual has a primal craving to be truly known by someone, to build a deeply committed relationship based on honesty & self disclosure. The identity of every individual will cause them to express their notions of intimacy in a different manner from each others.



Practice of Intimacy

The practice of intimacy refers to the practices that allows for the creation and sustenance of a close and special quality of relationship among people. In sociology, there are a number of practices of intimacy that analyze how people conduct themselves with different people and situations, such as in a relationship between couples, child parent relationship, friendships and sexual relationships as well as other relationships that experience and are recognized socially to have a specially close connection feature. 3

অ�র�তার অনুশীলনী

I slowly share my things with you and you share your things with me. In the process we have to face the possible conflicts that take place between the two of us and try to resolve them. If those conflicts can be resolved, then the two people’s relationship will move into a higher level. If not, it will be stagnant.

Formation of Intimate relationships

Intimacy, as a concept also follows a certain kind of structure. In the beginning, maybe for no particular reason, there is a sort of feeling between two individuals. If the outlook between the two are compatible, and the two individuals are willing to go on then an important sharing process takes place.

ঘিন� স�ক� গঠন

An important factor in forming intimate relationships is self interest, it is believed that compatible personalities are important in the formation of intimate friendships. People not only get intimate by knowing one’s personality over time or through interactions during the thick and thin of meaningful experiences, but also by observing how the person acts with other people. 2

Intimacy is not solely practiced through self disclosure but it is a result of a variety of practices. The component practices that include include sharing with, giving to, spending time with, feeling attached to, practically caring for, know, expressing affection for, etc are not exclusively about intimacy. Even though these tend to ultimately produce intimacy, they are not sufficient conditions for intimacy. Intimacy and love are very close and their uses and classification even academically will often interchange. Love is often conceptualized as an emotion, embodied affect and therefore, in this context loves becomes an attribute of a person and not a quality that connects people.4 The Love feeling can happen without reciprocity and in the absence of any relationship with the loved person. On the other hand, intimacy refers to a form of interpersonal connections but is characterized by patterns of interactions that are durable and both the parties acknowledge of relationship. Thus, an expression of love is an intimate practice and declarations of love build intimacy.

We’re wired with a desire to feel physically safe and emotionally secure. Our heart longs for love; we want intimacy to feel connected with the fabric of life and not so painfully alone. Being human means being vulnerable. We may open ourselves to another person, only to have our sensitive heart met with the rough shards of shame and criticism. As our overtures for connection are met with rejection, we may keep ourselves hidden to protect our tender heart. The desire to stay safe and avoid danger is governed by our amygdala, which is a part of the old brain. It scans the environment to dodge threats of gathering storm clouds and unseen predators. Modern day threats are no longer wild beasts, but rather the coarse and indelicate ways we treat each other. 3



Women have an invisible, emotional thread connecting the different boxes such as work, family, hobbies together. All those boxes are open at the same time. Our emotions are connected to our thoughts, to our hearts, to our minds, and to our bodies. When one box is affected, there is a chain reaction that ultimately affects our spirits. Where as men regard intimacy as working or playing side by side. Men rarely do they share their secret dreams and darkest fears, even when they do, they often use humor to camouflage their feelings. Men almost never look deeply into each other’s eyes. Their approach to intimacy also harks back to history Males during world war 1. They faced their enemies but sat next to their friends. Men were far more likely to regard “debating” as intimate.6 Intimacy requires being in your comfort zone, & men’s testosterone are associated with competitiveness.

Person 2 : I cannot be sexually or emotionally intimate with someone I don’t feel safe with. Physical touch and emotional honesty are two major parts of expressing intimacy with anyone I care about. Person 3 : To truly laugh with someone, not at them or near them, but with them requires a certain amount of intimacy. Because laughter, like any emotional expression, requires the safety to express that joy. The trust that your expression won’t be dismissed. The openness and sharing of the moment.

Gender differences in Intimacy

When women want to draw closer, they face each other, lock eyes in what has been called the “anchoring gaze,” and proceed to reveal their worries. To women, intimacy is talking face to face. A behavior that evolved years ago when females spent their days holding their infants up in front of them, soothing them with words. Women are more likely to consider organizing a neighborhood or community party together and taking a vacation together with a crowd of your closest friends as ways to be close, because estrogen is associated nurturing. 5

অ�র�তায় িল� �বষম�

Person 1 : When I want to express love to my boyfriend without saying it, I put the tip of my nose up against his and wiggle my nose. It’s goofy, but it’s an intimate gesture for me because it involves being very close, physically, to the other person, and I don’t do it to a lot of people. I also express intimacy by telling people secrets. Like the mean rumor someone made up about me from high school that I’d rather forget.

Different notions of Intimacy

I went around asking a few people, from different backgrounds their “Idea of Intimacy” to see how they would express it.

অ�র�তার িবিভ� ধারণা

It is a form of personal expression that helps in the developmental role in identity formation, through the consensual validation of personal worth by providing individuals with the opportunity to feel understood and accepted as they are, within the relationship.

Men are by nature compartmentalized creatures. They view their work, family, hobbies, and recreation in separate boxes. Breakfast in one box, disagreements with your wife in another box. Your day at work in another box. Men go through their entire day with each box standing alone, unconnected.

Person 4 : Intimacy is our inside jokes. It’s the way we can be ridiculous and not self conscious with each other. It’s when a touch can express love, longing, and desire and still be tender. It’s being able to read my husbands face and know exactly what he is feeling before he tells me. However among all these ideas, there is a disparity in how the same concept is defined differently by the sexes, since god has wired men and women quite differently. 5



The desire to stay safe and avoid danger is governed by our amygdala, which is a part of the old brain. It scans the environment to dodge threats of gathering storm clouds and unseen predators. Modern day threats are no longer wild beasts, but rather the coarse and indelicate ways we treat each other. 8 When growing up, if we felt repeatedly unsafe to show our true feelings and desires, that vulnerable part of us goes into hiding. We may not be able to avoid the attachment in our relationships, perhaps tentatively reaching out, but staying well defended and not allowing others to get close. Or, we may become anxiously attached scanning for any hint of discord. When trust with ourselves and others has been frayed, then even the slightest misunderstanding or friction may be experienced as a tsunami like disruption of trust.

3) Spiritual Intimacy: Sharing a religion or religious beliefs is not a precursor to spiritual intimacy. Having spiritual intimacy means being able to share inspiring moments with other people. Be it a sunset, a transformational spiritual experience, or radical new thoughts you’ve had on the meaning of life, each of these moments can be shared with other people.

The Power of vulnerability to create Intimacy

Intellectual intimacy is the ability to talk about things like work, people, interesting ideas, and thoughts about the world. Creative thinking processes are communicated, validated, & engaged. Opening up about your wildest dreams, your most passionate opinions, & your hopes give people insight to your humanity and what makes you special.

Emotional Intimacy requires vulnerability. We may open ourselves to another person, only to have our sensitive heart met with the rough shards of shame and criticism. As our overtures for connection are met with rejection, we may keep ourselves hidden to protect our heart.

দুব�লতা অ�র�তা ৈতির কের

2) Intellectual Intimacy:

Different types of Intimacy

Physical & sexual intimacy both play critical parts in romantic relationships. It seems obvious that in order to be sexually intimate, you must be physically intimate. For many people, physical acts of affection like kissing, cuddling, or being close are incredibly difficult. Engaging in sexual intimacy is easier than simple physical intimacy. A lack of physical intimacy can create feelings of loneliness & isolation. 7

িবিভ� ধরেনর অ�র�তা

1) Physical Intimacy:

4) Emotional Intimacy: Emotional intimacy is as reciprocal as it is personally beneficial. Being personally and emotionally intimate means having the ability to openly express emotion. There is no longer any shame, guilt, or inhibition on being emotionally present with your state of being. Showing others that you are able to be emotionally intimate helps them understand where you are, and creates security in knowing they too can be open about their emotional state. 7



Holding onto certain possessions may be a way to activate the recall of emotion. Yet it is not simply emotional memory that is triggered by an object but also the connection you had with the person who is represented by it. For example, I happened to open a box that had been stored away for many years and found something that had belonged to my Great grandmother. Along with elation, momentary sadness was activated in me, as though I had somehow connected with her again. Discarding certain relics of the past may serve to deactivate recall and symbolically dispose of the person. When relationships are over people sometimes want to discard vestiges of the past that represent their attachment to another person, including memorabilia, gifts, photographs, and anything else that can potentially trigger once lovely emotional memories that have now become tainted.

The causes and mechanisms of objectum sexuality are not currently fully understood, but many existing insights of psychology may be used in order to explain the phenomenon. Some theories state that the individual may have strong sexual or emotional feelings that they find difficult to come to terms with – perhaps through fear of becoming vulnerable to another person, or perhaps because the object of their affections is deemed inappropriate. As a result the unconscious mind attempts to protect the conscious part of the psyche from the reality by directing that love toward a harmless and ‘safe’ inanimate object. This brings about certain questions in my mind – Is objectophilia a disorder, a sickness? People who claim to have it also say that they couldn’t fall in love with a human being because they don’t feel attracted to them. On the other hand, attraction is not the only thing that defines love and when it comes to other needs like communicating and emotional support, how can it be obtained from an object?s Or maybe these people have found a new meaning to unrequited and unconditional love.


Mediums through which Intimacy can be perceived

When I look through my objects, I spot a silk scarf from my grandmother, a rag doll from my childhood. Of course, these objects don’t hold meaning simply because they’re worn in and well loved; they hold meaning because they’re personal and attached to an experience, an event, a declaration.

It is an unusual psychological phenomenon in which an individual feels powerful affection toward a particular inanimate object. In objectum sexuality the emphasis is not on ‘sexuality’ at all hence it is distinct from fetishism, where as the individual may be sexually attracted to the object, they also have strong feelings of love and commitment toward it. Generally those suffering with objectum sexuality believe the object to hold reciprocal feelings and to love them back, while in some extreme cases they may also find it difficult to understand ‘normal’ relationships between humans. Objectum sexuality can also be referred to as ‘object sexuality’ and those who experience the feelings may be referred to as ‘objectophiles’ 9

মাধ�ম যার মাধ�েম অ�র�তা অনুভূত হেত পাের

Everyone has an object with a story. It’s not about its aesthetic or monetary value; it’s chiefly about the narrative wrapped up in the object, It’s an intriguing pursuit, the idea of exploring our dearest objects and the meanings we attach to them so vigorously. What makes a possession prized? How are we placing value on these objects? And what might our surroundings reveal about our personalities?

Mediums through which Intimacy can be perceived

The objects we collect and that we are attached to serve as the hard evidence of our memories, they ground our histories in a tangible reality. We are connected to them in a quiet, intimate way.

মাধ�ম যার মাধ�েম অ�র�তা অনুভূত হেত পাের

1) Objects of Memory :

1a) Objectum sexuality :



But can emerging science and technology defeat loneliness? How will inter human relationships evolve in this context? Are we seeing the collapse of the institution of marriage? Is the potential for sexual education still unexplored? How is our psyche responding to all these changes? Can we find real intimacy amid shifting identities and permanent surveillance? What is the exact future of Intimacy?

The Radio has always had a special power. It has exerted this power from our grandparents time. Gathered in a living room to listen to news. There is an intimacy, a one to one connection that no other medium can match. It is at the very least ironic that television, perhaps the most maligned of the mass media by parents and teachers alike, is likely the most extensively used in the classroom as well. I cannot recall the radio being referred to as a vast wasteland nor can I recall anyone saying in reference to radio, “There’s nothing on.” The Radio has the power to individualize its presentation within the mind of each and every listener. There is an intimacy and shared vision that it creates.


Mediums through which Intimacy can be perceived

New apps like Invisible Boyfriend are already out there, which can send you real texts like a real partner. Futurists predict that in just 10 to 15 years we will have robots that look and feel incredibly like humans. It’s obvious that these developments directly impact our evolution.

2a) Radio - An Intimate Medium :

মাধ�ম যার মাধ�েম অ�র�তা অনুভূত হেত পাের

The Internet enticed us to move our lives online, promising an end to isolation. Since its inception it has demystified sexuality for millions of people. So now we can access love and intimacy at our fingertips. And technology is only going to continue to take intimacy to a whole new level in the future. As we continue the quest for augmenting our existence, virtual reality holds the promise of lifelike experiences without the need of actual physical presence.

Mediums through which Intimacy can be perceived

With the rise of social media, the definition of identity has expanded Social media has given us the means not only to curate our image and how we are perceived, it has also created a heightened awareness of that perception and how other’s identities are perceived. We occupy a virtual world in which the virtual identity remains the newest, most complex, and most unexplored.

মাধ�ম যার মাধ�েম অ�র�তা অনুভূত হেত পাের

2) Technology :



Later, when you are in the presence of the artist with their work, the relationship you have with it is permanently altered. If you have established some trust, you also can learn so much about an artists relationship with the physicality of their process of art making; the posture, the breathing, the gesture, the distance. As viewers we start to notice the small and the great aspects of the artist’s process and important details that allow us as viewers to understand the dynamics and relationship between an artist and their creation. “It’s about being there, right there, feeling the energy of creation. It’s about intimacy, about detail, about the personal connection with the artist.

Humans are social beings. We need each other in order to be human. Likewise, we need intimate contact with one another. Language is the way we make that human contact, achieve intimacy. We speak and listen and in the process of linguistic interaction intimacy is realized.To understand another and be understood is an intimate transaction. Language and intimacy go hand in hand. There is power, emotional & social magic in language. Words do touch the heart of both speaker and one who is spoken to, & those who listen. Language creates intimacy, brings us together, conveys our identity to the heart and mind of another and allows them the same privilege. To communicate, language becomes vital, but what if the other person doesn’t understand the language you are speaking, does that act as a barrier to intimacy or do people know each other more intimately when they can’t understand what the other one is saying?


Mediums through which Intimacy can be perceived

This also applies when we experience street art. It is always essential to see the artwork first anonymously on the street, because it needs to stand for itself, free of the passerby’s association with their knowledge of its author.

4) Language :

মাধ�ম যার মাধ�েম অ�র�তা অনুভূত হেত পাের

The essence of this intimate activity is that very little is said to each other, it’s not a verbal sharing of thoughts or feelings, but it’s more about involving yourself in the activity and feeling an intimacy from this involvement.

Mediums through which Intimacy can be perceived

Experiential intimacy, is an intimacy of activity. It includes getting together with a group of people to create art in a silent process. It’s about letting the art unfold, by working together in co-operation. 10

মাধ�ম যার মাধ�েম অ�র�তা অনুভূত হেত পাের

3) Art :


Individuals with disabilities have the same emotional and physical sexual drives as the people without disabilities. Individuals with disabilities seeking intimacy face psychosocial barriers such as stereotyping, a lack of adequate information, negative societal and cultural attitudes regarding sexuality and disability, and often lack the proper education and resources to prepare for intimate relationships. I carried out a survey, where I asked disabled people, how much of this lived experience of Intimacy was really accessible to them, or were they yet prey to the stereotypes by society -

Non verbal communication

1) Language, Intimacy & the disabled :

না েমৗিখক যাগােযাগ


Person 1 : “ I’m a wheelchair user with limited mobility. People generally assume I don’t want intimacy at all. When I’m intimate with another person, I’m always asking, “Do they like me? Will they come back?” These questions are bubbling beneath my surface, and I do my best to hide these feelings. For once, I’d love to be the one who is wanted and I’d like to experience what it feels like to be the object of someone else’s desire. Sometimes though, I want the freedom of intimacy without attachments, & that can be frustrating, because some people assume that given my disability, I must want and need more. Person 2 : As people with obvious physical disabilities, we grew up rarely seeing ourselves represented accurately in pop culture. We didn't have any real role models or even peers we could talk to about our experience of disability. In adolescence, the absence of someone to look up to, or talk with, about intimacy, dating, and sexuality was more glaring. I would keep asking myself, how much of this lived experience is really accessible to us?



When it comes to communicating intimacy, though, body language is perhaps the most powerful tool available to couples. A touch of the hand, an arm around the shoulder, a tender kiss on the cheek, or a tender caress of the cheek are all great examples of ways couples express intimacy with each other. 12 Learning about and understanding these kinds of non verbal cues can go a long way toward strengthening and protecting the intimate connection between two people.

Non verbal communication

It is quite common for couples to use body language when they are unwilling or unable to talk about a conflict openly. Either person might withdraw physically or emotionally from the other, avoiding situations of physical closeness and keeping feelings inside. 11

না েমৗিখক যাগােযাগ

Braille has a poetic relationship with our interaction of lived space. It is a symbolic representation of an embedded language, not seen nor heard, but felt. I am attracted to braille for its visual & physical presence. It is a language that few learn to read unless necessary. It is frequently passed up on elevators & in public restrooms, blending into its surface, “visible” only to those who seek it. It is the most immersive language, as it requires direct contact with the external world.

Non verbal communication

Blindness creates a world of obscurity only to be overcome with guidance from someone willing to become intimate with the blind. Equally true, the perceptions of blindness can only be overcome when the blind allow intimacy with the sighted.

না েমৗিখক যাগােযাগ

2) Braille :

4) Silence : Most of the time, we deprive ourselves of that intimacy. We avoid silence in social gatherings. It creates discomfort. If there's a gap in conversation, we try to fill it with small talk about sports. Politics. Work. Weather. Something. Anything.

3) Body Language : In the beginning of an intimate relationship, body language is a primary means of communication. Two people who don’t know each other very well will use non verbal cues to express their thoughts when words seem too direct or uncomfortable. It is a relatively safe way to get the point across to each other with less risk of outright rejection or embarrassment.

The problem is, we dissipate a lot of energy. If you're willing to endure shared silence for a few minutes, you'll discover that on the other side of discomfort is something oddly beautiful. The people you are most intimate with are the people who are most willing to be silent with you.

The issue of body language within intimate relationships is quite complex and one that is not easily broken down into specific, predictable definitions. It is much like a dance between two people, constantly in motion and combining with other aspects of the relationship to communicate a wide variety of messages.




I'd like to explain the above by describing how I am unable to translate a phrase that my grandmother would shout to me from an open window, since a literal translation would fail to convey the intimacy contained not in her words themselves, but in the fact that she has addressed me and only me. Hence i feel that, while language can powerfully shape personal identity, it cannot dictate interpersonal relationships.

Verbal communication

“Intimacy is something that cannot be contained in language itself: it stems from interpersonal relationships between people.” 13

েমৗিখক েযাগােযাগ

Our first environment is a closed unit, and a child’s personal experiences are usually limited to exposure to family and a few chosen people, these experiences of language make a strong impression on our minds and our brains.

Verbal communication

Family is a place where creative invention in language is most bountiful, secret, and loving. Living in a special unit, a community separate from the world in some senses, a family group must often modify the common conventions of language. These modifications occur to express affection, to give personal meaning to events understood only by family members, & exist as an expression of freedom & playfulness.

েমৗিখক েযাগােযাগ

1) Language, Intimacy & Family :

Language also has an effect on thought and consciousness. In the olden times during Catholic Mass, prayers began with the word “credo,” which is Latin for “I believe.” Today, the Mass starts with the English phrase, “we believe.” The use of the first person plural, claiming that it highlights only the communal aspect of religion, rather than reminding listeners through the first person singular that they are alone before God. 14

I know that with my mother, we can trust each other to allow ourselves to be more free with one another than in the presence of anyone else. This trust is, in some respects a pact, if she reveal our “secrets” to other people, I would feel betrayed. Our shared language is a secret code and a mark and contract of the intimacy we share. The intimacy of self can be somewhat replicated if within the family there exists true trust, love, and mutual respect. To be playful and inventive with language is a demonstration of affection for the person, for language itself, for the space between oneself and others, and for the creative process. It is healing and relieving to be in a place where we can be silly and playful, and not be judged, criticized, rejected.

Such small differences in language can have a large impact on something as fundamental as a person’s relationship to God.



Men nursed and fed their friends when ill; they bathed together; they held each other as they danced, and during the long winter months, wrapped blankets around each other. These moments were often grounded in experiential reality, the nature of these encounters men on the verge of death, under fire, or being ill – giving them an emotional nakedness & intensity that not only outlive their contingent nature but that continue to grow in emotional value and resonance. It is debatable whether these relationships were those of “comradeship” or personal “friendship” or trench “brotherhood”: each of these relationships had its particular nuance and value, though it is difficult to pinpoint human relationships and feelings, especially in times of physical and emotional extremity.

I believe that secrets are the currency of intimacy, and I think by sharing them we can not only develop stronger relationships with friends and family, but maybe get a better understanding of who we are. So I feel like secrets are transformative.

Many returned soldiers carried with them photographs of their dead comrades or small items that belonged to them. The most immediate and yet the most evanescent of human senses, touch could only be preserved in memory and through language.

Not all secrets are destructive. Many are essential to establishing bonds between two people. When siblings keep secrets from their parents, for example, they attain a sense of independence and a feeling of closeness. But the creation of any secret between two people in a family actually forms a triangle: it always excludes and therefore involves another.

Developing Intimacy during World War

Truly intimate relationships depend on really seeing another person, which means knowing the deep reaches that not everyone has access to. We can never completely merge with another, nor should we. Being an adult requires maintaining healthy boundaries but sharing these tender parts of ourselves allows others to love us, just as accepting others’ secrets allows us to love them to a certain extent.

Verbal communication

You keep secrets from each other; you keep secrets from yourselves. Secrets bond you; secrets drive you apart. Keeping a secret can be a burden, or it can delight you. Sharing secrets can be a relief, whether it’s with your old friend or new therapist.

েমৗিখক েযাগােযাগ

2) Secrets :

যুে�র সময় অ�র�তার িব�যু�

Into the trenches of World War I, the norms of tactile contact between men changed profoundly. Mutilation and mortality, loneliness and boredom, the strain of constant bombardment, the breakdown of language and the sense of alienation from home led to a new level of intimacy and intensity under which the carefully constructed mores of civilian society broke down. 15


Consequently, there is the urgent need within war writings to remember and re present these moments, to evolve a literary language around touch. The writings of the soldier poets may be regarded as a phantasmic space where they would resurrect their dead comrades through language, infusing them with the warmth once known. It is a great irony that the world’s first industrial war, which brutalized the male body on such an unprecedented scale, also nurtured the most intense and intimate of male bonds. A very different order of male experience, one that accommodated fear, vulnerability, support and physical tenderness, sprang up in its place. 21



Building on this thought, I wanted to explore the opposing side of this. The obvious conventional avenue of Intimacy is through a husband and wife relationship, So can intimacy yet prevail with the loss of one individual? And if so, then how? Using this idea as a foundation, I decided to re look at Intimacy through the perspective of a ‘widow’/a woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not married again.


Developing Intimacy back home from sea

In practice, men often found ways to impart information, & their letters offered a powerful & highly personal insight into their every day life. Receiving letters from family & friends was also vital to morale, keeping men & women connected to the homes they had left behind.

Hence we can say that, the letters were only a medium of communication but the content of the letter, was that which held the truest form of emotions of these men and women. Even though they were separated by distance and various other barriers, the Intimacy shared between the husband and wife didn't fail to prevail.

সমু �� েথেক অ�র�তার বৃি�

The British Army Postal Service delivered around 2 billion letters during the war. In 1917 alone, over 19,000 mailbags crossed the English Channel each day, transporting letters and parcels to British troops on the Western Front.16 Letters were written in spare moments, sometimes from front line trenches or in the calmer surroundings behind the lines. Censorship dictated what these men were permitted to disclose in their letters.

Developing Intimacy back home from sea

Letters to and from the front lines were a lifeline for men serving in the navy. Few things mattered more to those serving abroad than getting letters from home. The mail was indispensable, It motivated them. The mail, whenever it arrived, helped to reassure the worried families of the sailors back home.

সমু �� েথেক অ�র�তার বৃি�

Sailors who were at sea, would be away from their homes, children and wives for long periods of time, in such scenarios letter writing was a vital way of keeping in touch with family even across huge distances. Apart from being the main form of communication It also helped to ease the pain of separation.


Widowhood in India

Widows in India have a pronoun problem. The estimated 40 million women widows in the country go from being called “she” to “it” when they lose their husbands. They become “de-sexed” creatures. Clearly, it’s more than a problem of language, although that discrimination goes further, with epithets such as “husband eater” used against them.

ভারেত ৈবধব�

Widows of Vrindavan

In the northern Indian state of Punjab, a widow is referred to as bitch, which means “prostitute” in Punjabi. In this region, they usually arrange for the widow to marry her deceased husband’s brother because being owned by a man is a way to avoid being raped. Widowhood is a state of social death, even among the higher castes. Widows are still accused of being responsible for their husband’s death, and they are expected to have a spiritual life with many restrictions which affects them both physically and psychologically. Although widows today are not forced to die in the ritual of sati, they are still generally expected to mourn until the end of their lives. According to 2,000 year old sacred texts by Manu, the Hindu progenitor of mankind: “A virtuous wife is one who after the death of her husband constantly remains chaste and reaches heaven though she has no son.” 17 Whether young or old, widowed women leave behind their colorful saris, part with their jewelry, and even shave their heads, if they are in the more conservative Hindu traditions.


Widowhood has to be seen as a public interest issue, without being confined to the personal, domestic domain. Finally the trappings of a house that keep defining women as dependents need to be overcome. Although the Constitution now guarantees widows certain rights, this is often obscured by lack of information. Widows are often not aware of their legal rights, nor could they afford a lawyer to assist them. Sometimes widows even subordinate themselves under customs, for the sake of the family harmony, and forfeit their inheritance to their children or in-laws. 18 Living in oppressive environments, some widows come to the holy city of Vrindavan in order to devote themselves to Lord Krishna and find salvation and peace. But even here some depend mainly on begging, singing devotional songs and charity.

Once widowed, these women often confront a denial of inheritance & land rights, degrading and life threatening mourning & burial rites & other forms of widow abuse. Widows are often evicted from their homes & abused, some are even killed by members of their own family.

Widowhood in India

Widowhood in India

In India, a woman’s social status is inextricably linked to her husband’s, so that when her husband dies, a woman no longer has a place in society. To regain social status, widows are expected to marry one of their husband’s male relatives, sometimes unwillingly. For many, the loss of a husband is only the first trauma in a long term ordeal.

ভারেত ৈবধব�

The widow is ‘uglified’ to deprive her of the core of her femininity. It is an act symbolic of castration. She is deprived of the red dot between her eyebrows that proclaims her sexual energy. Widows seem to follow rules based on tradition because they have internalized them. They keep doing what other widows did without asking, resigned to a kind of fate such as placing restrictions on their own diets.

ভারেত ৈবধব�

Widows in India keeps insisting that the situation of widows can only be dealt with through the creation of conditions that promote the self determination of women, and not through an emphasis on advocating their dependency on others who see them as burdens or competitors for societal resources.

Widows of Vrindavan

Fortunately, there is a change happening in the attitudes of people regarding widows, particularly in urban India. The exodus of widows to the holy city of Vrindavan has slowed to a trickle, with more and more widows opting to stay with their children, who are running double income homes. Many widows, if they opt to come to the holy cities, are also doing it out of choice, seeking a life dedicated to spirituality.

They are also denied their rights, subjected to abuse & evicted from their homes because they cannot inherit property. Widows are forced into exploitative work to support themselves & their families. Young widows, who were child brides, face great risk with little protection.

Non-governmental organizations are taking measures to empower widows. These organizations run shelter homes and capacity building centers, where widows are taught skills and are given the comfort of food at least one warm meal a day, medicine, tap water,

The fundamental flaw in the law’s treatment of widows is the bias that exists towards women’s protection, rather than women’s independence. Widows are left marginalized as the legal system assumes a paternalistic stance. Instead of helping women to become self sufficient, the state takes over and propagates the rhetoric appropriate to a caretaker social welfare ideology, but it does not implement programs that would provide the measures it promises.

and shelter, so they do not fall victim to exploitation on the streets. But still the need for improvement is huge and interventions are few. Change is taking place, but slowly with the active participation of private and Government based NGO’s working in the favor of these widows, along with awareness among the public. 27


Widows of Vrindavan

2) How Intimacy remains alive irrespective of adversity, & if there is a common thread that exists? 3) Memories/Instances/Objects/diary entries,& handwritten messages, through which important stories about their pasts and histories could be told/ relived in remembrance of their husband.

Through my concept I want to explore the different journeys of Hindu widows residing in Vrindavan, dealing with the personal loss in their lives and their anticipation of release moksha from the cycle of mortal life and individual identity by discovering faith through their devotion to lord Krishna.

Questions to address

1) How the obvious conventional avenue of Intimacy is through the relationship of a husband and wife, but with the common factor being loss, how these widows have recreated their lives to include intimacy?

িবিভ� প�� সে�াধন করা

1) Spatial Intimacy between the widows and Vrindavan 2) The Intimacy these widows shared with their husband 3) Sisterhood, the Intimacy between each other

Concept development

I would like to study the -

ধারণার উ�য়ন

Widows disposed by their families, travelled to Vrindavan to find solace in the devotion and worship of Krishna both as a God and as a divine husband. Slowly, widows in Vrindavan have withdrawn themselves from the worldly affairs by immersing into religion to escape marginalisation, personal loss and to find an emotional space by establishing their relationship with god Krishna.

4) The widows might lose their intimacy when they lose their husband so is there another way, for it to flourish? Is it through music, dance, or worship? 5) How we always perceive intimacy to be shared between different genders, and how in Vrindavan they're all woman - So then what is intimacy within the same sex and the comfort of coexisting.

To study this, I start by contextualising the widows relationship with the old town of Vrindavan. By studying their everyday life within the town’s old architectural dwellings, performing rituals in temples and on ghats, their relationships with other fellow women and life in the streets of Vrindavan depicts the physical setting and spirituality of these women.

6) Exploring these widows through different age lenses - Widows of age from 16 - 80 year olds.

An interesting aspect that I came across, was that out of all the imprints of history engraved in the landscape of Vrindavan, widows are the oldest link accessible between Vrindavan’s written history and of what remains today in the city. I would like to set on a journey which starts with physical exploration of a location on a map but actually veers towards a spiritual Vrindavan which is deep within the realm of our inner consciousness. 29


Widows of Vrindavan

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advised the widows to come to Vrindavan, lead a life of devotion, sing bhajans, worship Lord Krishna & seek salvation. However, with time this tradition degraded and widows travelling to Vrindavan were no longer treated with dignity. With its darker, less loving side, Vrindavan started being known as "The city of Widows”

While in the past Vrindavan was considered the most beautiful of forests in the whole of India, in the last 250 years it has mushroomed into a concrete jungle filled with hundreds of temples, ashrams and apartments catering to an ever increasing flow of tourists and moksh seekers. The roads and by lanes choke with modern day traffic and a milieu of people from different parts of India and the rest of the world. The Radha Krishna legend continues to be the main source of livelihood for its people and most of the income generation activities in the city depend on the functioning of its over 5000 temples and ashrams. Vaishnavism is the main tradition followed in Vrindavan.

The condition of the widows of Vrindavan became so critical that they had to beg for food and they had no medical facility. By singing bhajans twice a day from different temples, they earned only eight rupees a day (four rupees in the morning & four rupees in the evening). Their lives were miserable and even worse were their deaths. After their death, their bodies used to be chopped off and thrown in the river Yamuna, thus depriving them a proper cremation as per the Hindu rites.

Start of widowhood in Vrindavan

When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu settled in Vrindavan in the year 1515 as a devotee of Lord Krishna, he realized the pitiable conditions of the widows of West Bengal living in the slums there. 21 These widows were ostracized, humiliated and finally abandoned by their own family members, shunned as a burden. Persistent torture and humiliation inflicted on elderly women forced them to leave their home and lead a life of insecurity and suffering.

বৃ�াবনে ৈবধব�র সূচনা

Introduction of the city

The ancient name of the city, Brindaban, had been named after its ancient groves of Brinda, Ocimum tenuiflorum, or Tulsi, with ban meaning a grove or a forest. Two small groves still exist, Nidhivan and Seva Kunj. It lies in the Braj region. It is about 15km away from Mathura city , the birthplace of Lord Krishna. 19

শহেরর ভূিমকা

In ancient times, as mentioned in the Srimad bhagwat and in the writings of poet Kalidas, Vrindavan, located on the banks of river Yamuna, was a place of green woods and rolling meadows. It was home to Lord Krishna where he is said to have herded his cows, danced with the gopies, fought the evil Kansa and fallen in love with Radha.

The conditions in general of women in India leave a lot to be desired. Among them, the worst lot is that of the widows. After the death of her husband, a stigma of inauspiciousness is attached to the widow. Seeing a widow while one is embarking on a journey or doing some important work is considered ominous. They become inauspicious.

In addition to temples, Vrindavan also has samadhis (places where ashes of famous religious persons are kept), ghats (stepped bathing places along the river), kunjas (gardens), kundas (man-made water tanks) and institutions of religious and cultural education. There is a 10km. long circular pathway surrounding the town called Parikrama Marg where, on specific days such as Ekadasi, the 11th day of the waxing and waning of moon, devotees, bare-footed in many cases, perform the ritual of walking and completing the Parikrama. 20



Widows of Vrindavan

A little over 25% of the widows are getting pension. Only those staying in a home have somebody who will run around to procure pension forms and push them through the UP administration. The money goes directly into bank accounts so all those getting pension have bank accounts and most of them operate their accounts. Several widows with bank accounts have died, so their accounts need to be opened and the money used for the welfare of the living, struggling for existence. Widows continue to come to Vrindavan to beg and eke out their last years without dignity, a proper shelter and medical facilities. While spirituality, ill treatment and poverty in their homes in West Bengal may have compelled many of the older widows to come to Vrindavan, today many come because of the charity available in the holy city. "We cannot beg in our villages but we have no shame in seeking alms in the holy city," a widow stated.

Why do these widows come to Vrindavan?

1) Pension woes :

এই িবধবা�িল ি�ন বৃনদাবেন আেসন

Start of widowhood in Vrindavan

She is forced to lead an austere and pious life, reciting bhajans and worshiping deities, but forbidden from participating in any social, religious and auspicious functions. Most of the time, she has to remain in isolation and not allowed to participate in festivals like Holi or Diwali. Thus, she is turned into a living corpse. While the condition of women in general and widows in particular has significantly improved over the years since independence after several legislative and executive steps, still hundreds of women find themselves in ashrams in religious places like Vrindavan.

বৃ�াবনে ৈবধব�র সূচনা

A widowed mother was not supposed to be present even at the wedding ceremony of her own son or daughter. One can imagine their plight, as the widows are not allowed to participate in the marriage rituals of their own children. If there is a family function, widows are ordered to go inside their rooms and remain confined to her room till the function is over. At the turn of her own biggest personal tragedy, her husband’s death an otherwise normal woman, singing, laughing, wearing colored clothes and generally enjoying life, is suddenly condemned, ostracized, stigmatized and forced to lead an austere life. She is made to break her bangles. Her once proud locks are shaved off. She is allowed to wear only white saree and eat only simple vegetarian food without onion and garlic.

Nawadweep, the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is supposed to have been a reincarnation of Lord Krishna & started the Vaishnavite movement. This explains the emotional link between Bengal and Vrindavan and the stream of Vaishnavite widows from Bengal, since 80% of the population of these widows are from West Bengal.

The term used for the distributions that take place in Vrindavan is "batta batti." The religious tourists to the city distribute blankets, shawls, saris, buckets and even cash through the bhajan ashrams. Around festival time, the charity increases. A widow revealed that one winter she received five blankets and three shawls. She did not need so many, so she sold them to shops that buy back goods from the widows. Bengali women are used to parboiled rice, so the finer quality rice, distributed by bhajan ashrams, is also collected and sold and in its place they buy the cheaper rice that they are used to.

Driven by ostracism by their families and often without any legal recourse to hold on to the property left over by their deceased husbands, they became rudderless, and had hope to find some solace in the land of Krishna. Little did they know that the life in Vrindavan would hardly be an improvement over the desperate life, they had left behind in their homes.



Widows of Vrindavan

"I am poor, my husband is disabled and I have left my two daughters with my mother in Bengal so that I can earn and save for their marriage," Aparna, a widow retorted. Just because I have a husband, I should not be denied the charity available to the poor and underprivileged in this city." Aparna works as a domestic help in two houses before coming to the ashrams for chanting. Once in a year or once in two years she goes back home with the goodies collected through the ashrams. 4) No check :

5) Child marriage : The state of West Bengal has not been able to check child marriages. The chances of widows going back to West Bengal are dim. Many of the widows I had spoken to said they were better off in Vrindavan than in their own villages. The government’s effort to check child marriages is limping along. A whopping 80% of the widows interviewed had married below 12 years and had become widows by the age of 24. Widow remarriage was opposed by these widows. For many of them even thinking about remarriage was a sacrilege. They said there were social and religious taboos to a widow remarrying, Some said they did not believe in remarriage and those with children could not even consider of it as an option.

At the West Bengal end, despite the widow’s pension being increased from Rs 500 to Rs 750 a month, the government has not been able to check the widows and destitute women leaving for Vrindavan. Most widows have not heard of the fairly generous pension scheme in Bengal nor do they know how to access it. Every district has a widow’s pension quota. Some 500 to 700 widows may be entitled to the pension in a district but it is not large enough to accommodate all who are widowed.


Why do these widows come to Vrindavan?

There is a large growing number of married women that can be seen at various ashrams in Vrindavan. Married women are called Sudwas as against Vidhwas and flaunt the sindoor in their hair and ivory bangles on their wrists, symbols of their married status.

The district magistrate and officials were not even aware of widows leaving West Bengal for Vrindavan. There was a steady stream of widows to Vrindavan. Most of them come with their spiritual gurus from Nawadweep. Earlier older widows may have come to Vrindavan but now even young widows are coming because the city provides opportunities for survival and livelihood.

এই িবধবা�িল ি�ন বৃনদাবেন আেসন

3) Married women too :

Why do these widows come to Vrindavan?

Vrindavan, for these widows is not just religious solace, but in the sisterhood of other widows they find companionship & support as well.

এই িবধবা�িল ি�ন বৃনদাবেন আেসন

2) Sisterhood :


Widows of Vrindavan

What is your name? What age did you get married? Place of Origin?


Data methodology


Data analysis

�ণালী িবঞান



1) General Questions :

Current age? What age did you become a widow? How did the two of you meet?

1) Background of the widows :

What was the cause of your husbands death?

- Present age - Type of family - Age at marriage - Age at husbands death - Differences between the age of spouse - Socioeconomic characteristics of widow

Do you miss your husband? How did you cope with it?


Do you have children, how many? Where are they now? When & Why did you come to Vrindavan specifically? How does this place make you feel? Do you own any objects your husband? What did you do with it? How do you spend your free time?

2) Family background :

Do you have friends her, who are now like family?

Educational and socio-economic background of husband & relevant information regarding the children.

Do you share stuff with them when you feel sad?


What are you most afraid of? If you could change something about your life, what would it be? 3) Deprivation : Emotional Deprivation 37


Widows of Vrindavan


Do you think about him more than Lord Krishna?


How often do you think about your husband?


When did he die?


2) Intimacy with their husband :

What do you miss about him the most? 4) Intimacy amongst each other :

Any particular habit of his that annoyed you or you were fond of?

Who is your friend here?

Are your children more dear or your husband?

Is she the only one you share your problems with?

Do you see Lord Krishna as a form of your husband?

What is your favorite thing/quality about her? 3) Intimacy with Vrindavan :

Does she do anything that annoys you?

When did you come here?

Have you ever fought with her?

Why did you come here?

How many years do you know her since?

What do you like about Vrindavan the most? Would you go back if your children called you?



Stories from Vrindavan

বৃনদাবেন িথেক গ�

husband died. I had one son and three daughters. I left them " My with my parents as I didn't want them to suffer because of me,' I was married at 9, became a widow at 21. 'Everybody taunts widows. In all these years, my son came just once to see if I was alive.



Stories from Vrindavan

বৃনদাবেন িথেক গ�

tears smudge the ink off the paper, I smile in irony. Life might " Ashavethetaken everything from me, and it yet continues to do so, but what it gave me is the single minded devotion to my lord. As the words get hazy, my faith gets stronger.



Stories from Vrindavan

বৃনদাবেন িথেক গ�

older but she cares for me like a mother. Even after all these years, " I’m when the nightmares don’t stop, I go and sleep in her lap. We’re not related, but it feels like the purest relationship I have ever had. She’s like the mother I never had, and I’m like the daughter she never will.



Stories from Vrindavan

বৃনদাবেন িথেক গ�

is full of suffering & despair. But I found God in Vrindavan. " Life Keep smiling & taking God’s name, because your kids don’t love you, your parents don’t love you, your husband doesn’t love you, only God does. Widows only belong in one place, the home of God.



Stories from Vrindavan

বৃনদাবেন িথেক গ�

husband died a few days after our marriage. I was beaten, " My humiliated and kicked out of my marital home because they thought I was bad omen. My own parents disowned me. My village ostracised me. Suddenly, I had no home, no family, no sense of belonging. I’ve been living in this temple for more than I can remember. I have no sense of time. I sleep every night with a prayer hoping that I don’t wake up.



Stories from Vrindavan

বৃনদাবেন িথেক গ�

had a modest home. But we were happy. I remember how my " We husband saved up money and bought me a shiny transistor. I really loved my bindis and my green bangles and my red saree. All that is left now is his memories. Only thing that keeps me alive.



Widows of Vrindavan

Some did smile when they were photographed, but it seemed forced. After a momentary grin their faces resumed the monotonous expression they seemed to have worn since they were widowed. Initially they thought that I was going to sell their pictures and make money. But once I started talking to them, they realized that somebody was willing to listen to their stories. They are usually treated like objects by photographers who click their pictures on days of Holi and Janmashtami. Without talking to anyone, people click pictures. This is what makes them lose interest in anybody with a camera.

With education, comes an empowerment that can help these widows build a new identity for themselves. Otherwise, their voices will be stifled from the cradle to the grave. The status of these widows have increased drastically as they now sing bhajans in their ashrams, and worship Sri Krishna Bhagwan and Radha, while learning the work of artisans and craftspersons.

My intimate bond with the widows

From early dawn till evening, I would spend my days visiting different widow shelters through Vrindavan. While shooting photos, I tried to strike up a conversation with some of them. I wanted to get the best possible moment or capture the right expression to make a good picture. But I had trouble as the Hindi language was quite alien to most of them, instead they spoke and understood Bengali.

িবধবােদর সােথ আমার ঘনি� ব�ন

Learning new skills

The widows of Vrindavan are now being taught Hindi and English. They are learning fast to read and write, to make garlands of Tulsi (Holy Basil) and flowers, and also incense sticks. They are also taught stitching and embroidery which will translate into economic independence one day. A complete transformation is now visible in their lives, their attitude and behaviour.

নতুন দ�তা েশখা

The women worship together, receive medical help at a small clinic and eat regular meals.Hundreds of widows have lived a life of penury, begging to sustain themselves. But not anymore.

People generally visiting try to exoticise the subjects & landscapes of Vrindavan but I feel it is necessary to understand the people, location & spaces these women inhabit, before capturing them on camera.

They now have the desire to live.

There is a home and there is a family. Once you start talking to somebody about their family, they will obviously talk about their children and parents. So I always noticed that whenever I spoke to these widows about their children, there was a certain kind of fondness and Intimacy that came about.



Widows of Vrindavan

These women had never felt so empowered, There was a true sense of sisterhood that prevailed in Vrindavan. These widows supported each other and would clap when one of them made progress.They never knew that learning could be so much fun.

My intimate bond with the widows

I realised that learning was the best part of their day. Each of them would get up early, bathe and offer prayers together in the hall before resuming their daily chores, making prayer beads and flower garlands. I would teach them alphabets, by writing down the letter and they would follow by chalking the English letters onto a blackboard.

িবধবােদর সােথ আমার ঘনি� ব�ন

Apart from listening to their tales, I utilized my time there in teaching them English & Hindi. They were eager to learn a new language so that they could use it to write poems and stories dedicated to Lord Krishna. Through learning a new language they were getting a medium or platform through which they could express their true emotions.

When I visited Vrindavan I went with the expectation of experiencing the intimacy of others, to be a sympathetic onlooker. Little did I realise that in the widows sharing their intimacy, I too, became a part of it. The paintings I received as i was departing were symbols of this nascent bond and tangible markers of intimacy.


Widows of Vrindavan





Through the writing of this paper, I have been able to examine the different areas in which these widows seek Intimacy. Since time immemorial, these widows disposed by their families, travelled to Vrindavan to find solace in the devotion and worship of Krishna both as a God and as a divine husband.

Vrindavan also was the last refuge for many of these women. When their husbands died they were thrown out of the house by their in laws. Even their own family members didn't want them because widows bring bad luck. Vrindavan was their safe haven.

The have slowly withdrawn themselves from the worldly affairs and want to get rid of all the sins they might have committed during their life by devoting themselves to Lord Krishna. These widows came to Vrindavan with nothing. Most of them wanted to kill themselves, but then after visiting Vrindavan they realized that Lord Krishna would look after them.

Some of them already seem to have reached a half life, somewhere between this world and the next and their religious faith, in many ways the source of their past troubles, finally brings them peace.

What I discovered through my research was that what the women found in Vrindavan was not just religious solace, but in the sisterhood of other widows they found companionship and support. Even though they are withered in their hearts they know they were not alone.

I always viewed intimacy as something that has to be nurtured and that grows through shared experiences. Which is why when I went to Vrindavan I sought to capture and understand this growth. But as I interacted with the widows, heard their stories, felt their emotions, I found an intangible connection budding between us. During the course of my stay, this grew and cemented itself not only in my heart but also in the hearts of the widows. I came back having become a part of that very intimacy I sought.

Their stories revealed how powerless some of the women had been under the strictures of traditional Hindu law. They were victims of enforced marriage, physical violence, sexual abuse and neglect. Some had been evicted from the family home once their children were married. Others had left of their own accord. These widows do not wish to return to Bengal. It is because of Lord Krishna and the company of these women that they still have their sanity. “You have two eyes, if you want to see paradise you will find it here in Vrindavan” said one widow.



Widows of Vrindavan


2) These widows at the age of 70, are now willing to learn English & Hindi to write poetry and stories which are dedicated to their faithful Lord. They are using language as a tool to express how they truly feel.




1) The widows of Vrindavan are known as ‘Krishna Vadhus’ These widows have lost their husband physically and not spiritually, if one goes by the Hindu mythology. In that sense all these women metaphorically become different versions of Meera, who have come to Vrindavan to devote themselves towards Lord Krishna. Krishna is their solace, and the repository of all their emotions.

Teaching is done exclusively with the use of words & personally I can’t imagine any other way. Words are not barriers to teaching they are vehicles for sharing knowledge. Right? - Wrong. Very little learning happens through words.

But most importantly he is is husband, lover & savior. Aim : The aim of this prototype is to create 'Awareness' about the lives of these widows. Materials : Through this idea I wanted to explore the personal, something that is often hidden, intimate.

Visual literacy allow learners to demonstrate the ability to interpret, recognize, appreciate and understand information presented through visible actions, objects and symbols.

The materials I associate are thread and cloth- using them as a metaphor for repairing & connecting. Something that helps to piece the loss.

Aim - The aim of this prototype is to develop a language through which these widows can communicate without the use of words, something that provides them with a sense of belonging.

Through my Prototype I would like to show how each widow shares an exclusive relationship with her Lord. How each widow feels differently when she is intimate with her Lord, for some it maybe tranquil, for some one filled with trance.

Concept - To analyze the nature of poetry and stories sung and written by these widows, and to to derive a certain kind of pattern through emotions, common words, and meanings found in these poems and stories which will then be translated into ‘Philographics’

Content : “Everyday we chant for hours at a stretch. The repetition brings about a kind of numbing transcendence of the body. At times I can no longer feel my body, the clashing cymbals & beating drums pulse through my veins as the mantras transport me to another realm."

'Philographics is a series of designs that explains complex concepts and ideas in simple shapes.'




1. Tanya Joanna,Intimacy,” last modified February 29, 2012, http:// eligiblemagazine.com/2012/02/29/intimacy-in-to-me-see/

12. Lorin Roche, To loving touch,” last modified February 19, 2011, http://www.lorinroche.com/Intimacy/intimacy/lovingthouch.html

2. Junchih Gisela Lin,"A cross cultural study of concepts of intimacy,” last modified February, 2014, http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/ viewcontent.cgi?article=2203&context=dissertations_1

13. Rebekah Berger, Language, Intimacy, and Family: How Family Is a Hub of Linguistic Creativity,” last modified October 22, 2012, https://adamevenevenadam.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/languageintimacy-and-family-how-family-is-a-hub-of-linguistic-creativity/

3. ibid

14. Richard Rodriguez, Language, Intimacy, and Authority,” last modified October 2, 2016, https://www.litcharts.com/lit/ hunger-of-memory/themes/language-intimacy-and-authority

4. Aggie,"What’s Intimacy" last modified July 30, 2015, https:// offescalator.com/whats-intimacy-and-whats-a-relationship/ 5. Gary & Barbara Rosberg,"Men & Women Are Wired Differently,” last modified March 19, 2013, http://www.marriageintimacy.com/ intimacy-in-the-marriage-relationship.htm

15. Santanu Das, "The Dying Kiss: Gender and Intimacy in the Trenches of World War I,” last modified December 1, 2015, http:// ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/body-and-mind/the-dying-kiss-genderand-intimacy-in-the-trenches-of-world-war-i/

6. Helen Fisher,"How to Build Intimacy in Your Relationship” last modified June 21, 2016, http://www.oprah.com/relationships/ building-intimacy-gender-differences-in-intimacy

16. Pbs, "Communication” last modified September 10, 2011,http:// www.pbs.org/thewar/at_home_communication_letters_diaries.htm

7. Beverley Golden,"The Faces of Intimacy” last modified December 16,2011,https://www.beverleygolden.com/the-four-faces-of-intimacy/

17. Indian Women Present Status and Future Prospects P.Rajkumar, Rameswari Devi and Romila Pruthi.

8. John Amodeo,"The Key to Intimacy of a Relationship” last modified March 23,2015,https://www.psychologytoday. com/blog/intimacy-path-toward-spirituality/201503/ the-key-intimacy-any-relationship

18. NCW, "A Study of women in Vrindavan" last modified on November 8,2016, http://ncw.nic.in/pdfReports/Status_of_Widows_ in_Swadhar_Homes_of_Uttar_Pradesh_Uttarakhand_West_Bengal_and_ Odisha.pdf

9. Mack Lemouse,"All About Objectum Sexuality” last modified August 11,2012, http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/16062/1/AllAbout-Objectum-Sexuality.html

19. Purnima Tripathi, "The living dead" last modified on August 12,2006, http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl2316/ stories/20060825001305100.htm

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20. Usha Rai, "Why widows go to Vrindavan" last modified on September 09,2007, http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070909/ spectrum/main1.htm

11. Julie Ann Amos,"Decoding Body Language Relationships” last modified October 15,2012, http://www.bodylanguageexpert.co.uk/ bodylanguageandintimaterelationships.html

21. Cynthia Gorney, " For Widows, After Loss" last modified February,2017,https://www.nationalgeographic.com/ magazine/2017/02/glofwidows-india-bosnia-uganda-discriminationexile/ 65



1. Intimacy :


http://www.marriageintimacy.com/intimacy-in-the-marriage relationship.htm


http://www.oprah.com/relationships building-intimacy-gender-differences-in-intimacy

https://www.litcharts.com/lit/hunger-of-memory/themes/ language-intimacy-and-authority


http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/2017/04/08/ the-intimacy-project-gets-close-to-the-artist-with-fer-alcala/

https://wp.nyu.edu/esferas/current-issue the-act-of-intimacy-and-the-agentic-self/




https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/01/09/ the-power-of-vulnerability-to-create-intimacy/

http://vtcompteachers.pbworks.com/f/EJ0871Radio.PDF https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/08/ lilting-shows-how-language-not-always-barrier-intimacy

http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent. cgi?article=2203&context=dissertations_1 http://eligiblemagazine.com/2012/02/29/intimacy-in-to-me-see/





http://blog.couple.me/2013/05/22/ does-the-internet-enable-intimacy-2/

https://www.theunitutor.com/ mean-talk-transformation-intimacy-can-understood/

http://www.tedxvienna.at/futureofintimacy/ http://ronrolheiser.com/the-language-of-silence/#.WifleGT1Uy7

https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/05/17/ nourishing-the-different-types-of-intimacy-in-your-relationship/


http://identity-mag. com/8-different-types-of-intimacy-its-not-just-about-sex/

http://www.gsa.ac.uk/life/gsa-events/events/t/ the-language-of-silence/?source=filter

https://www.marriage.com/advice/intimacy/ the-different-forms-of-intimacy/

https://facultystaff.richmond.edu/~creamer/silence.html https://patch.com/california/sanmateo/ the-intimacy--language-of-silence_d19dc63a

http://www.thecenter4lifechange.com/types-of-intimacy/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1988378 67




http://www.generalhotel.org/26 http://www.thomas-elsaesser.com/



2. Language :

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0271530914000330

http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/letters-to-loved-ones http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/body-and-mind/the-dying-kissgender-and-intimacy-in-the-trenches-of-world-war-i/

http://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/exploring-scandinavia https://prezi.com/j9uuvjcnz3cd/musical-intimacy/ http://www.lorinroche.com/Intimacy/intimacy/lovingthouch.html

http://www.pbs.org/thewar/at_home_communication_letters_diaries. htm


http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/52/a4288052. shtml

http://criticallegalthinking.com/2014/01/27/ touch-notes-thought-luce-irigaray/

https://www.expressandstar.com/editors-picks/2014/07/26/ sailors-love-letters-in-hands-of-relative/



http://www.lifescript.com/well-being/articles/t/the_physical_touch_a_ language_of_love.aspx

https://www.dawn.com/news/1200038 https://whatsyourgrief.com/to-read-or-not-to-read/



https://evolutionmale.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/ eye-contact-part-3-the-look-of-love/




http://www.rickhansen.com/Blog/ArtMID/13094/ArticleID/125/ We-are-dateable-A-discussion-on-dating-intimacy-and-disability

http://www.discoveringbristol.org.uk/slavery/people-involved/ sailors/personal-stories/

https://www.ted.com/talks/frank_warren_half_a_million_secrets/ discussion#t-642693

https://www.usni.org/magazines/navalhistory/2017-08/ sailors-letters-home

https://www.ted.com/talks/ kio_stark_why_you_should_talk_to_strangers/discussion#t-661438 69



http://www.asexuality.org/en/ topic/157905-repetitive-fantasies-of-intimacy-tmi/

https://www.metafilter.com/94672/ Like-postsecret-but-more-unsettling




https://www.quora.com/ What-communities-are-similar-to-PostSecret

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2007/apr/23/ bridgingthegapswhyweneed

https://psychology.iresearchnet.com/social-psychology/self/ self-disclosure/

https://www.brainpickings. org/2013/12/05/j-r-r-tolkien-on-fairy-stories/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ the-young-and-the-restless/201108/disclose-yourself

https://carljungdepthpsychologysite.blog/2014/06/18/ carl-jung-on-fantasies-art-anima/

http://time.com/2152/how-to-find-out-anything-from-anyone/ https://www.huffingtonpost.com/elena-brower/art-of-attentionode-to-o_b_861861.html

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0148296397001197 https://www.vogue.com/article/ breathless-karley-sciortino-emotional-affairs


https://www.ted.com/talks/esther_perel_rethinking_infidelity_a_talk_ for_anyone_who_has_ever_loved?language=en

http://www.trueyourecovery.com/index.php/ articles/7-are-secrets-good-or-bad







http://feelhappiness.com/letting-your-mind-wander/ https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/ does_mind_wandering_make_you_unhappy

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ blog/the-human-experience/200812/ the-fantasy-bond-substitute-truly-loving-relationship


https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ compassion-matters/201707/guide-the-fantasy-bond

http://www.southfloridamedicalresearch.com/ revealing-fantasies-increases-intimacy/





http://ncw.nic.in/pdfReports/Status_of_Widows_in_Swadhar_ Homes_of_Uttar_Pradesh_Uttarakhand_West_Bengal_and_Odisha. pdf

3. Widows of Vrindavan : http://www.indianwomenblog.org/ sharmistha-duttas-indian-widow-photo-project-is-breathtaking/

http://u.osu.edu/vsteffel/files/2014/10/Vrindavans-Widows-18sgtzr. pdf

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/ the-widowhood-effect/article33344335/?ref=http://www. theglobeandmail.com&

http://griefandrenewal.com/widows_study.htm http://groovyganges.org/2010/04/widows-in-vrindavan/




http://www.sulabhinternational.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/ Supreme-Court-of-India_-Widows-Book.pdf

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/forgotten-widows-ofvrindavan/article19574277.ece http://widowsofvrindavan.blogspot.in/

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/todays-paper/tp-others/ tp-variety/sad-tales-from-vrindavan/article1751232.ece


http://www.maitriindia.org/looking-inwards/ case-studies-testimonial/



http://www.sulabhinternational.org/people-of-sulabh/ http://www.guild.org.in/




https://thediplomat.com/2016/07/ mothers-the-widows-of-vrindavan/?img=1#postImage

http://ijmcr.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Paper845-58.pdf http://www.sulabhinternational.org/a-widows-penance/

http://www.networkideas.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/ Widowhood_India.pdf






http://www.sulabhinternational.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/ Supreme-Court-of-India_-Widows-Book.pdf


https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/city-of-widows 73


Tanya Shah Communication Design ISDI Fourth Year