A month after the blast at the Gateway of India in Mumbai, 24-year-old K K Chaudhry still cannot fathom that recognition came to him on the wings of death.
One of the 60 tourist photographers at the Gateway, he had just sauntered back to the monument's famed stone pathway after finishing lunch on August 25 when he heard a deafening sound.
"I turned around and all I could see was smoke. The next image I saw was of a man running out of the smoky haze with a child in his arms," says the Assam native, who currently works for the Afternoon Despatch & Courier, a Mumbai evening newspaper.
With minimal experience in news photography, Chaudhry was spurred by impulse. He aimed his camera and took 18 shots of the tragedy which became the first images to be captured on film. Eight of his pictures were used across India and in publications abroad.
He has not taken any pictures of tourists since the day of the blast. He says there are some who come to the Gateway and ask after 'Photographer Chaudhry who shot blast photos;' there are others who want copies of his pictures.
"But I've stopped giving those pictures. I don't want this kind of publicity."
Two days ago, he began his new job and hopes to make a name for himself through news photography. He says there is more job satisfaction on this front and a chance for him to build a reputation.
"But I still tremble when I think of that day. I went to help an injured man and when I touched him, his skin just peeled off and came into my palm."