‘Photography took me places even to Finland’
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Indira Persaud (Delano Williams photos)
Indira Persaud (Delano Williams photos)

Guyanese who lives away from home will always love her place of birth

INDIRA Persaud, better known as “Aunty Ino”, doesn’t look forward to a lot, but when it is time to return to her country of birth, it is the only thing that matters then: returning to her family.

She is a medical doctor who resides in Finland, halfway around the world, but even if it takes two days to get to Guyana, she has no problem with that because home is where the heart is. It is so nostalgic for her being here, she says.

“My father has since passed away, but his memories live on inside of me. My mom is here in Guyana, and I would always come back to spend some time with her and my siblings,” she said.

Persaud told the Pepperpot Magazine that she would also return to give back to society by visiting the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) for one day and familiarising herself with the local healthcare system.

She would, at the same time, lend her services and speciality to the local medical staff at GPHC and make it a rewarding effort.

It was photography that initially took her places all over this country and even to Finland, a home away from home.

Her father, the late Ramcharitar Persaud, called Bobby, was a gifted photographer, and she learned the art of taking photos growing up. She knew it was a passion she had to pursue, even if for a bit.

Being the wild one of her siblings, especially her two other sisters, she liked riding the Yamaha motorcycle that belonged to her father, she explained.

Back then, there were no phones, so she had to get around to get photo shoots, and she would get on the motorcycle and take photographs of things, places and people all over the place, she recalled fondly.

“My dad taught me to ride the motorcycle at age 14 and I am grateful for that because on that bike I went to a lot of places, so it wouldn’t have been possible without him and that bike,” she said.

She stated that she was free-spirited back then and was so curious about everything. Without fear, she went to the city and its environs, taking photos so innocently.

Persaud is a local of Herstelling Village, East Bank Demerara, who grew up in that community and moved two streets away when she was eight years old.

She recalled she had a good life. Growing up, her father was big on education and invested a lot to ensure all his children had a fair share of academic achievement.

Photography also caused her to meet her husband, a native of Finland, who was on vacation in Guyana after completing his tour as a soldier.

Persaud said he had saved up for the trip to South America, a continent he always wanted to visit, and when she took him home to her family, they wanted to know if she was in her right mind. Still, they accepted him and the relationship blossomed over time.

She was on a ‘job’ taking photos at a wedding in the squatting area section of Herstelling Village when she met the young man who kept in contact with her even after returning to Finland.

At age 18, Persaud migrated to Finland and got married. She became a nurse and later qualified as a medical doctor.

Persaud is, however, pleased about the development in the village and the country; how things have changed significantly, and believes that these things enhance the lives of the people.

“Having left Guyana 35 years ago, I remember faces not names but the people here still remember me, so that’s a good thing,” she said.

Persaud told the Pepperpot Magazine that her daughter, Sandya Kurvalainen is a musician in Finland. She writes her own songs, and she is passionate about Guyana and everything about it, including our creole dialect.

She added that the 30-year-old even got married here in Guyana according to Hindu rites and she is familiar with our culture and values her roots.

Kurvalainen has probably visited Guyana more than 20 times, her mother says, and nothing can stop her from coming back here to see her granny.

Persaud said her daughter even jokingly accused her of robbing her of her Guyanese language because she would have liked to grow up here.

Even as a non-English speaking person, Kurvalainen gravitated toward our music and language quickly her mother explained.

She has her own studio in Finland but loves Guyana, and what it has to offer. The local culture, the arts and craft intrigue her.

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