A former Kodai resident, I graduated from Kodaikanal International School in 2015 and began the photography project ‘Humans of Kodi’ as part of the requirements of the IB program. I was inspired by Humans of New York (HONY), a popular Facebook page. Drawn to its approach of seizing a candid moment and personalizing it through a brief yet considered interaction, my goal was to capture the natural moments of the Kodai community in its day-to-day endeavors—whether this was Sunday market, or after school on a busy weekday.
Kodaikanal, tucked away in the Palani Hills of Tamil Nadu, is home to a fascinating array of personalities. To portray the diverse community and its stories, I enlisted a Canon DSLR and my classmate, Anup, as Tamil translator. We trotted around town, interviewing tourists, residents and students, getting their consent to publish photos and responses – and parting with an invitation to check out Humans of Kodaikanal on Facebook. Every interaction felt like an opportunity to get to know the community better, and unite them on a surviving platform.
Through the power of social media, I requested friends to follow and support my project. Memorable community members featured from throughout the small town included guards and shopkeepers from Seven Roads; people began commenting, sharing and suggesting that their friends and family support the page as well. It was active for two consecutive years, and the page has around 1700 followers.
To take the lead on this project and bring it back to life, reach out to humansofkodai@