Deepti Asthana is an independent photographer based in India. Her practises are focused on gender issues in rural areas. Currently, she is working on her long-term project to document the contribution of rural and indigenous women to wildlife conservation. The project is supported by the National Geographic Society.
Being stranded in Shillong, Meghalaya during the lockdown, the forest was my escape from isolation. Living right on the edge of the forest, I started to document the girls who would also come to the forest seeking different things. Some of them are stranded like me, and some are just finding freedom from their domestic responsibilities. I started talking to them about their dreams and inspirations and made portraits as per their desire. This was my way of getting to know this new city and its women, some of whom wanted to break free just like me.