You know the best kind of sleep? I think it’s the one where sometimes your eyes open at the time when the moon is just kissing the night sky goodbye and the sun is about to make its grand entry while you are just so thankful that you can get an hour or two more of that sweet sleep before its time to get another day started. Few would disagree to the pleasure in such undisturbed sleep but not all have the the privilege of its experience.
In his photo series titled “4am Heroes” Navi-Mumbai based Nilay Singh captures the souls who are not only awake but at the peak of their working hours; much before the crack of dawn so that our lives can carry on smoothly when the sun comes shining in. Who are these people? Singh captures the milkman, the newspaperwala, the train driver of the first local, the nightwatchman and many more such, as Singh puts it, “unsung heroes”.
In 2016 when in the wee hours of dawn Singh had landed up at the local newspaper distributor’s shop to put promotional flyers for his father’s restaurant between the morning papers, he was surprised to find the number of people up and about at that untimely hour. There and there was the moment of inspiration for “4am Heroes” and also worked well for a photography project that Singh, who was then in college, had to work on. Though his professors were skeptical on the result of Singh’s artistic thought, a determined Singh changed his body clock for one week to throw light on these incredible workers.
“Whenever I saw them, I would salute them. It made them smile and that made me happy. It’s the least I could do for them as opposed to the great value of the services they provide for us,” says Singh who thinks of these morning workers as no less than any spotlight hero.
Here are our favourite photographs from Singh’s project-
To view the entire photo series, check out the artist’s Instagram handle here.
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