Inspired to collect photographs of women spending time by themselves and for themselves after a conversation with her mother’s friend, Surabhi Yadav began the project, Women at Leisure. Leisure is feminist in its defiance of hetero-patriarchal claims to women’s time as caregivers, and in carving out a space for delight and abundance outside of capitalist precepts around productivity. Surabhi’s photographs depict women playing with one another, atop trees, bicycling, reading, napping … and bring out stories of individuality and freedom, of happiness and hope, and of the subversive power of leisure.
Women at Leisure: During COVID lockdown, Sneha tries to exercise in the day when she is done with her office work and her one year old daughter is asleep.
Women At Leisure: Girls playing Kabaddi early in the morning. Rinki jumps in joy as Kajal from the opposition team is taken down by her team members, Ravina and Neelam.
Women At Leisure: Sneha, helping her partner, Sourabh, put on a face mask. She put on their daughter’s hair bands on his head to prevent his hair from falling on his face.
Women at Leisure: Sneha is a newly-wedded woman who works as an engineer in a big firm in the city. She waits along with the other women in her in-laws extended family in their native village for other women from the community to join them in a celebration of her arrival in the village.
Women at Leisure: Zeba is playing chess with three of her friends.
Women at Leisure: A balloon seller takes a break after a long day of walking to different markets
Women at Leisure: Women in a village got together to mourn and celebrate the death of someone who died after a full life. They help each other get ready for Tehravi, the grand feast arranged after someone dies.
Women at Leisure: Women enjoying time together on Hartalika Teej, a Hindu festival. Another spends time taking care of one of their babies.
Women at Leisure: Sushma and Aasha enjoy a break on Sushma’s terrace before they both return to their kitchens to prepare dinners for their families. Their daughters are enjoying each other’s company.
Women at Leisure: Women enjoying an ice cream break on a hot summer afternoon.
Women at Leisure: A woman enjoying her time alone in the woods.
Women at Leisure: Women dancing in a wedding in presence of men in the community. It is considered immodest for daughters-in-law of the house to show their face, let alone dance, in front of men.
Women at Leisure: Najeeba and Samea play frisbee in the evening to pass their time during COVID lockdown.
Women at Leisure: Women from a neighborhood got together for a wedding and help hosts attend to guests who have come from far and wide. Once done with the chores, they got together to sing and dance together.
Women at Leisure: Pooja applying henna on Alka’s hair.
Women at Leisure: Surabhi relaxing during a picnic outing with friends.
Women at Leisure: Rinki is trying to learn English by reading from a book.
Women at Leisure: A group of women in the village got together in the nearest temple at 9PM to celebrate Janmastami, a Hindu festival. They celebrated Lord Krishna’s birthday by singing and dancing together until midnight.
Women at Leisure: A group of women on a religious outing to a sacred tree outside their village. After finishing their prayers/Pooja, they sat together to catch-up.
Women at Leisure: Girls and women in a family gathered in the kitchen to talk and also prepare an elaborate meal for rest of the family during a family reunion.
Women at Leisure: Deepa jumping into a pond which got some water due to unexpected rain.
Women At Leisure: Venu enjoying a picnic with her friend Sunil on a sunny day.
Women At Leisure: After taking care of her one-year old niece and doing house chores, Rinki finally found some time to work on her eyebrows during COVID lockdown.
Women At Leisure: After gently tapping on to each branch of the tree before hopping on to another, Ruchika found a spot to sit but ended up letting down her hair and swinging her body gently.