I love you

I use the words I use, I write the way I write, and I photograph the way I photograph, because I am sensitive. You can call me an emotional fool. But what you call me and how you see me doesn’t really matter; all that matters is how I see myself. Someone questioned me once: “What is the most difficult thing in the world?” and to this I said: “To be honest with myself.”

Believe me when I say this. There was a time in my life when I was not true to my own self. I was more focused on what people thought of me than what I thought of myself. I ended up becoming the least common denominator, playing to the gallery. I forgot who I really was. I forgot my values and my principles. I was ashamed to be me, to be doing the things I had done, to be responsible for much hurt and pain and anguish around me. I literally couldn’t see myself in my own eyes – imagine that. I forgot the meaning of love. I was bitter. I was shattered. I was broken.

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But there is a kind and loving God. And all I needed to do was to place my hand in His. When I think of those days and the long, arduous and oftentimes painful journey from then till now, I am reminded of the hymn, “Broken Vessels”:

I was just a broken vessel laying shattered on the floor
Every piece that really mattered had been shattered o’er and o’er
Then I found a man named Jesus and He looked upon my face
He said if I would let Him, He would mold me back in place

So He gently placed my life upon the great potter’s wheel
He washed away my angry pain with love that I could feel
With His nail scared hands He touched my heart
He cleansed me through and through
Then He smiled at what He’d fashioned, ‘twas an image all brand new

Lord, I’ve seen the sign you’ve shown me, others shattered on the floor
Lord I know how much their hurting for I’ve been there once before
They’re just longing to be mended by your hands of love so free
Help me Jesus let me show them what forgiveness did for me.

Then He’ll smile at what He’s fashioned, an image all brand new.

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Jesus. Allah. Krishna. Guru Nanak. The name doesn’t matter. What matters is belief, faith, trust, respect, and love.

All of these feelings influence my photography and photography in turn influences my life. As Ansel Adams said: “You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” 

I am human. I err. I am not perfect. Not even close. In fact, I am as imperfect as they come, and more. I have many flaws. But I consciously and painstakingly attempt each day to remove every bit of negativity from my being.  I try. And the journey is beautiful.  It becomes easier when you believe, you have faith, you trust, you respect, and you love. It is not the change in itself that is important, but the act of change.

And so you see according to me at the end of it all, it is no so much the photograph, but the act of photography. It is not so much being loved, but the act of loving. Unconditionally. I don’t ask of you to love me in return, but only ask that I may love you.

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To quote the Bhagavad Gita:

Karmani Ev Adhikaar Te
Maa Phaleshu Kadaachan
Maa Karma Phal Hetu Bhu
Maa Te Sanga Astu A-Karmani

To action alone hast thou a right
Never at all to its fruits
Let not the fruits of action be thy motive
Neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction

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Or in the beautiful words of William Nicholson in “Shadowlands”: “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God – it changes me.”

On the same lines, I love because I’m helpless – it changes me.

I love you.

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  1. Emily Mabee December 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Your words and photography inspire me, especially at time when I need them the most.
    Truly there must be synchronicity at work.
    Bless you. Debesh.

  2. Anu December 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    Absolutely fantastic pictures as always.
    And I agree with you when you state, that to err is human and also that one has to be true to oneself. Easier said than done.
    Each day when I get up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror and feel good about myself, and my conscience is clear, and when I feel I can face HIM… I know that I am being true to myself.
    If you feel that you are walking that path, and have reached that destination, then you have achieved a great deal in life. I am happy for you and good luck in continuing to walk that road of being true to oneself…..

  3. Karen December 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm #


  4. Eric Hatch December 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    This love shines through and empowers your work. You take enormous risks leaving your self so wide open to the breath of god, and your reward to taking this risk every day is the work that you are doing. I am a cankered man by contrast, and have not found the voice you use so fluently. I wish I had your courage and integrity.

  5. sonika December 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Until some time back…like every incurable romantic , i used to think of love , about love rather …in my own childlike way…..

    I don’t anymore……maybe i am growing up…and maybe…..because love is so profoundly intangible , impossible to write about …beyond the realm of human language . So i focus on the tangibles….the passion i feel for certain things , the small things that make up my day , putting one foot in front of the other ………it serves as a bedrock of sorts……keeps me anchored…….

    You remember , when you explained to me about signature style and how not to ever worry or think of that….? that our styles …and genres and passions all keep changing and evolving with time…..i suppose the same applies to the change in you…..how could you not….in this school of hard knocks……it chiseled you inside out….and that is something to be celebrated….

    what is also to be celebrated is those special people in your life….who made/make you want to be a better person…..loving whom “changes” you…….
    and what is also to be celebrated in the brilliant precise sensitive photographer you have evolved into…….

    ps. and i do believe finally that you don’t copy paste these lines and poetry from google…because i was stunned when while talking , you recited these lines from the gita and their english translation the other day without a pause …..:)

  6. letizia December 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Great Debesh :). You are a very sahaja joghi:). You are great and special wonderful person. thanks for your light interior.

  7. Ranvir December 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    I will just express through two Quotes. First – “The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” ? Laura Ingalls Wilder; and, second, “If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” ? Virginia Woolf.

  8. Susan Aurinko December 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    By loving, we become more loving. By loving, we open ourselves to others, to pain, to joy, to an infinite number of possibilities. Love equals possibility. Loving, in the end, is really all there is of any consequence. Birth and death are beginning and end. Love is what should happen in all the time between the two.

  9. Roy December 19, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    Debesh, we have been together during our initial days of adulthood. Knowing your professional complusions it makes me wonder where you stash away your thoughts?! They do find expression in your blog and these words that you say have truth ringing loud and clear. Help me my friend, if you can, to be half as eloquent!

  10. payal talwar December 19, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    as always, your words touch the heart – you actually pour from the heart and that depth comes through….love the last line …i ask only that i may love u…and that really is the essence of love….

  11. Emily Mabee December 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    Debesh, Keep shining your light on the truth and expressing that truth so eloquently. Your work is very romantic but also grounding. the words lift and the photography grounds. A nice balance. This time of year is very reflective for us that celebrate the ritual of the birth of Jesus. Hopefully, more hearts will be opened and we can put an end to division and hate. Of course as humans we have both shadow and light but we also have the power to choose and reflect on consequences. Here’s to higher consciousness!

  12. Priyanka December 20, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    “I am as imperfect as they come, and more”…is a line that requires courage and the strength of conviction (that you want to grow.) The very fact that you recognize this – makes it a certainty – that you will!

  13. Heidger Marx December 20, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Dear Debesh,

    I can’t thank you enough for your openness and courage to do what you are doing!

    I congratulate you on another amazing blog with the most profound and resonating thoughts. If this weren’t enough, your blog (again!) is accompanied with the most gorgeous images to enhance the power of your eloquency. Kudos, my friend!

    My God has no name and he / she / the being encourages me to find my own way in the disturbance of our modern world and guides me through the principles of gratitude, compassion and loving kindness. Accepting ourselves is an extremely painful process, however, there is no alternative to it! The rewards are endless and while I can’t say that I have mastered this process, I keep trying over and over, through nothing but experiences, some are good, some are bad, but they all help me grow.

    Thank you for being you.

    Sending you love and light,

  14. Emily Mabee December 21, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    Debesh, I thank you for your openness. I thank all those who commented. Your work is changing the world one reader at a time. In the name of the nameless God, Thank you.

  15. Elena December 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    Beautiful. Thank you. Wanted to tell you that all along.
    Made me remember a piece from one of my Top 5 books:
    “Love won’t change the history of the world … but it will do something more important: teach us to stand up to history.
    Love and truth, that’s the vital connection, love and truth. Have you ever told so much truth when you were first in love? Have you seen the world so clearly? Love makes us see the truth, makes it our duty to tell the truth … how you cuddle in the dark governs how you see the history of the world. It’s as simple as that.”
    Julian Barnes, History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters.
    PS You should get this book if you haven’t read it yet, I feel its your kinda thing :)

    • Heidger Marx December 21, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

      So true, Elena! Love and truth go hand in hand! Love makes us vulnerable, which allow us not to sugarcoat the truth and stand by what is right.
      Thank you for sharing your beautiful thought with us and for recommending the book!

  16. Helen December 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Debesh thank you for putting into words my own thoughts and feelings. I will share this on my facebook because more people need to see this.

  17. Debesh December 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I guess my resolution for 2013 should be to be more prompt in replying to comments!

    Thank you so much Emily – I guess what you say is true about synchronicity. And how beautifully said: …in the name of the nameless God. Perhaps I have answered you in my blog of today. May God be with you in 2013 and always.

    Thank you so much Anu for your kind words and wishes. I am most grateful. Wish you a wonderful 2013.

    Thanks so much Karen.

    Dear Eric,

    As I have mentioned to you at some point of time, your honesty and integrity sir, come through in the words you use for yourself. Your work is inspirational and I am grateful for your indulgence towards me. Thank you.

    Sonika, you always say the most beautiful things. Thank you for your kindness, which I always appreciate. Yes, I remember those lines from memory – they mean much to me. Thank you for being a part of this journey with me.

    Thank you so much Letizia. I am always grateful for your lovely words. Wish you a happy new year.

    Ranvir my friend, thank you for sharing your thoughts which I completely agree with. To walk the path with honesty needs courage, and conviction. I hope to get there someday.

    Dear Susan,

    What beautiful words, how brilliantly expressed. Thank you for being such an inspiration and such a source if positivity all the while. Thank you for being you.

    Roy my brother, what can I even say to such lovely words. Would a simple thank you suffice? May God always be with you my friend.

    Many, many thanks Payal. It really is – when we make it unconditional, all else ceases to exist.

    Thank you so much Priyanka. I am most grateful for your wishes. God bless.

    Heidger my brother,

    As always I find strength and inspiration in your words. Each time you write, I feel overwhelming joy at having met you (in some form). I pray that we can meet in 2013 – either here, or there, God willing. Wish you a blessed New Year.

    Dear Elena,

    Thank you so much for everything. Thank you for being you. Absolutely right: “Love makes us see the truth, makes it our duty to tell the truth …” Thank you for sharing these beautiful words. Your kindness shines through.

    Many thanks Helen. I am so touched by your kind gesture. God bless.

  18. Hannah Kozak April 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Photography has been a way to have a connection point and a separation to help me heal. I’m so happy it has done this for you as well, Debesh. I just read your blog. I believe it is through our our errors, our imperfections, that we learn to forgive each other over and over because none of us consciously want to hurt someone we love. Keep spreading that love and light. We need more people like you in the world.

  19. Rani Wilfred July 1, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Your words.. and your pictures.

    At fyrst glance.. beautiful.. tarry.. demands a more deeper contemplation… a journey.. a sincere dwellling on the words.. sitting by them.. stilling the soul a little… letting them sink into you.. stir you up.. sieve your very spirit and light up all the deep hidden crevices..
    and as the dim light approaches… the soft glow will bring forth oneself.. the faces of one … one had never encountered… never known existed..
    The tumult of the long pent emotions.. rising to the boil..churning into each other.. unitl one is unable to name the feeling.. label them.. a melange of heartache.. stubbornness.. sheer refusal to glimpse into the mirror.. regret.. angst.. accusations.. seekings of answers.. forgivings.. releases.. tears.. screams.. sobs.. sighs and relief
    finally a tender embracing of the warmth.. a lighter walk.. as though on a butterflies wings.. etheral and unreal.. dreamlyke.. yet not
    it is so scary to forsake the long trod path designed by others.. that one has been walking on.. to finally embark on your own journey.. take ownership
    love one’s failures as much as one’s successes… for both are precious.. both equally one’s own.. one no less than the other.
    To walk thys path.. where one stands bare.. naked before oneself.. without the aid of a mercury glass ..
    is torture.. it is freedom.. it is lyfe.

  20. Debesh July 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    Hannah, I really don’t know how your comment missed me, and I am really sorry for not having replied all this while. Thank you for such generous and kind thoughts, which I deeply appreciate from the bottom of my heart.

    Dear Rani,

    Yet once again you say the most lovely things. And the most true. We do need to forge our own Destiny in life for sure, yet at all times we must remain aware that there is a Higher Power and a Higher Purpose to all that we do, and all that happens. Look forward to being in touch with you.

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