He is a wanderlust bitten traveler, a photographer par excellence. And he is a Bengali. Meet Kounteya Sinha,an inspirational urban nomad.

He is a wanderlust bitten traveler who has been around the globe. He is a photographer par excellence. And he is a Bengali. Kounteya Sinha is an urban nomad who weaves mesmerising stories with his camera.

Kounteya Sinha. Source ~ Facebook.com
Kounteya Sinha. Source ~ Facebook.com

Recently, Kounteya received the the first ever European Union Diaspora Fellowship, and traveled over 7 countries of Europe, meeting Indians , interviewing them and returned with 18000+ beautifully shot images with his Nikon D90. Referred to as ‘New Homelands: The Indian Diaspora in the European Union.’, every image in this project documents a spectacular and stunning story about Indians who are building a life in the European subcontinent.

His first photo series was 6262, followed by Hiraeth & Stone and Now. All his projects are characterised by his – “an unquenching thirst to know, an undying need to discover and explore the unknown, the absolute obsession to move constantly and to follow the one true religion – knowledge, the common thread”.

After two decades of professional journalism, photography is now karma for Kounteya a. About the project, he comments – “New Homelands was the most challenging work I have ever done. Imagine landing up in a complete foreign land and go looking for Indians – none of whom you know, you don’t know where they live, what they do, which ones have the best stories. It’s like being in the middle of a vast ocean and your compass does not work and you have no clue which direction is land. And all of this in a matter of seven days in each country.”

While the the first showcase of New Homelands in Delhi received outstanding reception, the series is all set to be displayed at the famous National Center for the Performing Arts, Mumbai from 12th December to 18th December.

When amateur and aspiring photographers are all contesting over social media popularity, Kounteya, a Don Bosco (Park Circus) alumnus has earned global fame with this lenses. His photography tip summed in simple words is, “if you are brave enough to take a picture, be equally brave to show it. Do everything possible so that the world sees your baby. If need be, become a human easel. Stand holding your picture in the middle of the road. Do everything possible to glorify your work. It is your utmost duty to show respect to the picture that allowed you to click it – drag it out of anonymity and give it life. It is your child after all.”

Kudos Kounteya!

And here we present 20 never before seen, spectacular shots from New Homelands with the related stories in Kounteya’s own words.

ITALY - Vikrant Rao was the head of corporate communications in Emirates India. He came to Rome for a holiday and was blown off by its history and architecture - that one could walk down a single street and witness 2000-years of history. He resigned 31 days later and returned to Rome to join the American University and study Roman literature, history and archaeology. He is now preparing to start his PhD.
ITALY – Vikrant Rao was the head of corporate communications in Emirates India. He came to Rome for a holiday and was blown off by its history and architecture – that one could walk down a single street and witness 2000-years of history. He resigned 31 days later and returned to Rome to join the American University and study Roman literature, history and archaeology. He is now preparing to start his PhD.
SLOVENIA - Originally from Chennai, Guru Prasanna Nagarajan owns and runs ESolve Technology along with three other friends. The company helps banks maintain and run their systems. “We help the banks sleep at night,” says Guru who has been in Slovenia for 11 years. His main client here is the Nova Lublianska Banka. He has lived in Sri Lanka, Riyadh, Lebanon and Amsterdam but loves Slovenia the most. “It is very safe and people very warm,” he says. He says “I am in pursuit of satisfaction rather than millions”.
SLOVENIA – Originally from Chennai, Guru Prasanna Nagarajan owns and runs ESolve Technology along with three other friends. The company helps banks maintain and run their systems. “We help the banks sleep at night,” says Guru who has been in Slovenia for 11 years. His main client here is the Nova Lublianska Banka. He has lived in Sri Lanka, Riyadh, Lebanon and Amsterdam but loves Slovenia the most. “It is very safe and people very warm,” he says. He says “I am in pursuit of satisfaction rather than millions”.
GREECE - Sudha Nair is Athens’ most respected publisher and editor who runs a magazine called Athens Insider – which talks about the life and spice of Greece. Originally from Mumbai, she holds a Master’s degree in economics and financial management from SOAS London. She has worked in AIR, Times FM, BBC World Service and Star TV. She moved to Greece in 1998 and realised there was nothing in English to read. In 2004 the Olympic Games was to happen and Sudha started the first English magazine that the millions coming in, could read. It now has a circulation of 44,000 copies and is “fiercely independent”.
GREECE – Sudha Nair is Athens’ most respected publisher and editor who runs a magazine called Athens Insider – which talks about the life and spice of Greece. Originally from Mumbai, she holds a Master’s degree in economics and financial management from SOAS London. She has worked in AIR, Times FM, BBC World Service and Star TV. She moved to Greece in 1998 and realised there was nothing in English to read. In 2004 the Olympic Games was to happen and Sudha started the first English magazine that the millions coming in, could read. It now has a circulation of 44,000 copies and is “fiercely independent”.
ITALY - Curry king Micky Sehgal arrived in Italy in June 1980 with $500 in his pocket. Today, Micky owns three of Rome’s most famous Indian restaurants by the name Maharajah and has an annual turnover of over 1.5 million euros. Sehgal’s first home was 65 square metres. He now lives in a 1600 square metre villa. Maharajah’s clientele has included icons like Anthony Hopkins, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Sachin Tendulkar, Shahrukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Rajnikant.
ITALY – Curry king Micky Sehgal arrived in Italy in June 1980 with $500 in his pocket. Today, Micky owns three of Rome’s most famous Indian restaurants by the name Maharajah and has an annual turnover of over 1.5 million euros. Sehgal’s first home was 65 square metres. He now lives in a 1600 square metre villa. Maharajah’s clientele has included icons like Anthony Hopkins, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Sachin Tendulkar, Shahrukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Rajnikant.
SPAIN - Everywhere you go in Agustin Paniker’s house, you will see books. Scholar, philosopher, historian, writer and publisher, Agustin is one of Europe’s most sought after experts on India. He has written six seminal books on India – its religions, caste system and the country’s changing face. He says he has over 5000 books on India and his company has published over a 1000 books till date. Agustin’s grandfather came to Spain 100 years ago. Agustin has two adopted children – both from India
SPAIN – Everywhere you go in Agustin Paniker’s house, you will see books. Scholar, philosopher, historian, writer and publisher, Agustin is one of Europe’s most sought after experts on India. He has written six seminal books on India – its religions, caste system and the country’s changing face. He says he has over 5000 books on India and his company has published over a 1000 books till date. Agustin’s grandfather came to Spain 100 years ago. Agustin has two adopted children – both from India
SLOVENIA - In just a few weeks, the sun will be a scarce phenomenon in Slovenia. But locals know exactly where to go to sweat it out - Dr Manivannan Ramaswamy’s Ayurveda centre in Ljubljana. Ramaswamy’s steam chamber - an ancient Indian object named Vashpaswedana has a temperature of 45 degrees and just 10 minutes in it is good enough to sweat it out. Ramaswamy is using Ayurveda to help Slovenia’s World War II veterans to overcome severe depression and anxiety
SLOVENIA – In just a few weeks, the sun will be a scarce phenomenon in Slovenia. But locals know exactly where to go to sweat it out – Dr Manivannan Ramaswamy’s Ayurveda centre in Ljubljana. Ramaswamy’s steam chamber – an ancient Indian object named Vashpaswedana has a temperature of 45 degrees and just 10 minutes in it is good enough to sweat it out. Ramaswamy is using Ayurveda to help Slovenia’s World War II veterans to overcome severe depression and anxiety
CYPRUS - She is 90 but her zeal to serve people in need hasn’t diminished one bit since 1947 when she became a sister of St Joseph’s convent. Sister Antonia John has been in Cyprus for 25 years and was instrumental in starting over a dozen St Joseph’s convent schools and homes in India. Today she takes care of women migrants from Asia who are exploited and have nowhere to go. She also runs a social home for them, giving them shelter, food and clothing. She also takes care of this boy whose parents were deported back to Romania.
CYPRUS – She is 90 but her zeal to serve people in need hasn’t diminished one bit since 1947 when she became a sister of St Joseph’s convent. Sister Antonia John has been in Cyprus for 25 years and was instrumental in starting over a dozen St Joseph’s convent schools and homes in India. Today she takes care of women migrants from Asia who are exploited and have nowhere to go. She also runs a social home for them, giving them shelter, food and clothing. She also takes care of this boy whose parents were deported back to Romania.
DENMARK - Visual artist Subhasree Biswas spent her entire student life in Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan. She just recently returned to education – pursuing an Msc in sustainability and responsibility from the Ashbridge Business School (UK). An alumnus of NIFT, Subhasree wants to start work on making people more aware about climate change.
DENMARK – Visual artist Subhasree Biswas spent her entire student life in Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan. She just recently returned to education – pursuing an Msc in sustainability and responsibility from the Ashbridge Business School (UK). An alumnus of NIFT, Subhasree wants to start work on making people more aware about climate change.
DENMARK - 37-year-old Vinay Venkatraman is an alumnus of NID (Ahmedabad) and runs a design company called LeapCraft in Copenhagen. He buiilt the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and specialises in product design involving sensors and data. He just created an air quality sensor which measures pollution and weather conditions which is now being put on lamp posts across Denmark, Dubai, London and Norway. He has been living in Denmark for past 10 years
DENMARK – 37-year-old Vinay Venkatraman is an alumnus of NID (Ahmedabad) and runs a design company called LeapCraft in Copenhagen. He buiilt the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and specialises in product design involving sensors and data. He just created an air quality sensor which measures pollution and weather conditions which is now being put on lamp posts across Denmark, Dubai, London and Norway. He has been living in Denmark for past 10 years
LITHUANIA - Vineet Sharma is based in Lithuania and is vice president of cyber security for Barclays Bank. In his previous job as the chief information security officer for Airtel in India, he developed an algorithm that encrypts mobile wallet for which he holds a patent.
LITHUANIA – Vineet Sharma is based in Lithuania and is vice president of cyber security for Barclays Bank. In his previous job as the chief information security officer for Airtel in India, he developed an algorithm that encrypts mobile wallet for which he holds a patent.
SPAIN - Kolkata born and Spain based dancer Shreyashree Nag gave up a high flying corporate life to pursue her passion for dance. Today she is Spain’s most famous Kathak dancer with dozens of students and a string of public performances that has left the country mesmerised. She was earlier the regional sales head at MSC Software and regional sales manager of Quest Global.
SPAIN – Kolkata born and Spain based dancer Shreyashree Nag gave up a high flying corporate life to pursue her passion for dance. Today she is Spain’s most famous Kathak dancer with dozens of students and a string of public performances that has left the country mesmerised. She was earlier the regional sales head at MSC Software and regional sales manager of Quest Global.
SPAIN - Indian millionaire Raju Parwani started his career with a watch company. He then dabbled in real estate and the wholesale business and today runs outsourcing company ARKE BLS Centre in Madrid. Officially designated by the Indian embassy here to process and verify visa applications from people of Spanish origin wanting to come to India, ARKE delivers passports within 24 hours of the application coming in. Parwani is way past his retirement age but it is difficult to keep him out of office. His company receives 200 visa applications to India I a day.
SPAIN – Indian millionaire Raju Parwani started his career with a watch company. He then dabbled in real estate and the wholesale business and today runs outsourcing company ARKE BLS Centre in Madrid. Officially designated by the Indian embassy here to process and verify visa applications from people of Spanish origin wanting to come to India, ARKE delivers passports within 24 hours of the application coming in. Parwani is way past his retirement age but it is difficult to keep him out of office. His company receives 200 visa applications to India I a day.
SPAIN - Valmik Shyam Karani can’t wait till 2018. A pilot specialising in flying the Airbus 340 on long haul flights, Karani has spent the last 14 years flying with Iberia which plans to start flying to India in two-years-time. “I think the airline will ask me to take the inaugural flight,” Valmik says. He wants to be posted in India for a few years so that his sons can grow up in an Indian environment.
SPAIN – Valmik Shyam Karani can’t wait till 2018. A pilot specialising in flying the Airbus 340 on long haul flights, Karani has spent the last 14 years flying with Iberia which plans to start flying to India in two-years-time. “I think the airline will ask me to take the inaugural flight,” Valmik says. He wants to be posted in India for a few years so that his sons can grow up in an Indian environment.
GREECE - Bahadur Singh is a Sikh from Uttarkhand who came to Greece in 1998. He was a farmer. Now, he is a butcher. It bothers him that he now cuts beef. "The first time I cut an animal, I couldn’t sleep. Now I am ok".
GREECE – Bahadur Singh is a Sikh from Uttarkhand who came to Greece in 1998. He was a farmer. Now, he is a butcher. It bothers him that he now cuts beef. “The first time I cut an animal, I couldn’t sleep. Now I am ok”.
GREECE - Sanjeev Kumar is originally from Jalandhar but has been living in Greece for the past 16 years. He works in a chemical company called Glochem. He is a tremendously God fearing man and is in-charge of doing the ‘arti’ in the temple in Dilsei, Greece.
GREECE – Sanjeev Kumar is originally from Jalandhar but has been living in Greece for the past 16 years. He works in a chemical company called Glochem. He is a tremendously God fearing man and is in-charge of doing the ‘arti’ in the temple in Dilsei, Greece.
SPAIN - The name Hiro Lalwani is synonimous to having a blast. The man who organised the much talked about Holi Party in Barcelona that saw 2000 people gather to celebrate the festival of colours - 90% of them being Spanish, Hiro leads the Barcelona India Festivals and has been instrumental in throwing the Diwali Bash for the Indian Association of Barcelona. His motto - to integrate India and Spain through cultural exchanges
SPAIN – The name Hiro Lalwani is synonimous to having a blast. The man who organised the much talked about Holi Party in Barcelona that saw 2000 people gather to celebrate the festival of colours – 90% of them being Spanish, Hiro leads the Barcelona India Festivals and has been instrumental in throwing the Diwali Bash for the Indian Association of Barcelona. His motto – to integrate India and Spain through cultural exchanges
SPAIN - Tara Goswami came to renowned art school in Spain - Metafora in 2012 for a 6-month course. She never went back. This talented artist/chef/yoga expert is originally from Shillong and was recently part of an International Art Paper exhibition in Barcelona that had some very big global names
SPAIN – Tara Goswami came to renowned art school in Spain – Metafora in 2012 for a 6-month course. She never went back. This talented artist/chef/yoga expert is originally from Shillong and was recently part of an International Art Paper exhibition in Barcelona that had some very big global names
ITALY - In the image, Sanjukta Dasgupta Prayer is a professor of history at SaPienza university of Rome - department of Oriental Studies. She loves hearing her husband Mario who is also a professor at SaPienza play the piano.
ITALY – In the image, Sanjukta Dasgupta Prayer is a professor of history at SaPienza university of Rome – department of Oriental Studies. She loves hearing her husband Mario who is also a professor at SaPienza play the piano.
ITALY - Roshni Sekhar is one of Rome’s most famous yoga teachers. In a unique project, she has been using yoga in the Rebibbia Female Prison to bring out the best in the inmates for the last three years. Shekhar met her now husband Paolo 30 years ago. Paolo was part of an air crew and she worked in a hotel. They fell in love and Sekhar moved to Rome. Today, even Paolo teaches yoga.
ITALY – Roshni Sekhar is one of Rome’s most famous yoga teachers. In a unique project, she has been using yoga in the Rebibbia Female Prison to bring out the best in the inmates for the last three years. Shekhar met her now husband Paolo 30 years ago. Paolo was part of an air crew and she worked in a hotel. They fell in love and Sekhar moved to Rome. Today, even Paolo teaches yoga.
ITALY - Every night, after 8 pm, Sardar Singh from Jammu sits by the Colosseum to sell his paintings. With four flash lights lit up, he sits for three hours every day. His photographs are a big draw among tourists. He loves Italy and says “I love the way they celebrate in Italy. Without fear. Embracing openly”. Rome has been his home for the past 26 years.
ITALY – Every night, after 8 pm, Sardar Singh from Jammu sits by the Colosseum to sell his paintings. With four flash lights lit up, he sits for three hours every day. His photographs are a big draw among tourists. He loves Italy and says “I love the way they celebrate in Italy. Without fear. Embracing openly”. Rome has been his home for the past 26 years.

We wish Kounteya all the best and hope that we shall see many years of his splendid work fill up our lives with beauty and grace. Godspeed fellow Bong!
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Kripa Chowdhury

Kripa has been there done that - she's been a writer for a long time now and is a sparkling BONGFeeder from Bangalore. Her dream is to take that one long vacation to globetrot! She is our resident ball of energy and we hope she keeps writing during her world tour!

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