In her series Ladies Only, Mumbai-based photographer Karen Dias (b. 1987) has observed and documented an unusual sub culture that has formed in the women’s compartments of Mumbai’s local trains. Especially reserved for the female sex, women going to work and young girls going to school or university spend long hours every day in packed carriages traveling across the city.
In these crowded and suffocating spaces women create a sort of domestic realm, spending their time chatting, reading, chopping vegetables, buying jewelry from the train vendors, and on the rare moment that it’s quiet, some sprawl across the metal banks to catch a quick moment of rest from the blur and chaos of the city.
The series is a narrative of a life that is hard and strenuous, an existence that is rife with the struggle of trying to find space in a place that has none to offer.