Kangan Arora knows she is home when the water tanks turn into aeroplane, tractors and flowers on top of houses.
The London-based designer started documenting the water tanks of her home state, Punjab, at the beginning of 2011. Whenever she would fly into Delhi, and drive down to Ludhiana to see her parents, she would click the concrete art common to so many Punjab's roofs.
From aeroplane to giant flowers with vivid petals, Arora has seen everything moulded as roof-art.
"I guess I was just curious about the tanks and the people who commissioned them," she told Scroll.in. "It’s quite a niche thing to commission and one is making quite a statement having these larger-than-life sculptures atop their houses."
The jazzed-up water tanks are also a symbol of social status. Designed by labourers across the state, Arora also met two water tank artists, Ram Lobhaya and his son Sonu, who have been designing and making the tanks for the past 30 years.
Originally from Ludhiana, Arora moved to London in 2005 at the age of 20 to study textiles at Central Saint Martins, and has lived there ever since. She established her eponymous multi-disciplinary design studio in 2011. She usually visits home once a year.
Bird or animal, the structures most certainly serve as fully functional water tanks.
Some decorative tanks signify the owner's profession or passions – a chef might install a pressure cooker, a non-resident Indian an aeroplane, a bird enthusiast an eagle or a hawk.
Arora found that the quirky tanks were not limited to Punjab, but also found in villages and tier two towns across North India.