School Legs and Life
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
he has legs wont travel
pillow talking to the gravel
a future you need not unravel
Just outside the gateds of the Moghul Masjid is the Iranian Kava shop, that brings back memories of old times and Moharam ,.
The samovar , the hot black tea , a drop of squeezed lime and voila you are refreshed for ever.
During the Moharam Majlis of Maulana Athar Saab Mirza, the crowds it here and listen to the great theologian Islamic scholar who has recited Majlis here for last 50 years.A record of all times.
Picture shot by her grand mother
Ever since the birth of our grand daughter Marziya Shakir and the imminent addition to our growing family, and the law of averages , as Samiy my daughter will marry and go off to start her family , so I think knowing my love for the girl child God filled us with joy in advance.Saif Shakir my son 25 years old is still single and somehow the Istikhara , the method by which the choice of his bride is seen through the Holy Koran, or through prayer beads, has come short either seen by the prospective brides family or by us..
We were plannning to get Saif married after Moharam this year.
The matter now is spirtually sub judice..
All in the court of Allah.
I with the birth of Marziya have rediscovered my camera and am Unlearning Photography.. though I feel m wife Afshaan Shakir does a better job than me , no blur right on target.
Shooting Marziya hones my inner quest, and seeing her grow her expressions, give me hope as Photographerno1.
She is a task master, and I am never satisfied, she blends with the camera , fused so to speak.
While I write this there are almost a 100 pictures of her at my house comp that I shot in 2 sessions on a single day.
marziya shakir a human camera
with lens like eyes
shot by her grandmother
creativity as family ties
craziness poetic passions
that need no prosaic disguise
saved to web
it runs in the family
a part also a whole
a loaf and a slice
some good days
some bad days she has seen
the most important dance houses
kothas dancing bars she has been
her nimble toes her toothy smile
the dancing beggar hijda queen
her past wastelands of lost glory
where grass was always green
today she begs at turner road
traffic junction ..
a changing world
ugly hateful and mean
a lotus living in a gutter
the surroundings sorrowful unclean
Mr Salman Rushdie is doing some work on the Hijda community for the Bill Gates Foundation as mentioned in the Times of India this morning.I called up my Hijda Guru Laxmi Narayan Tripathi and to pull her leg, told her that Mr Salman Rushdie was searching for her, she was shocked because he visited her a few days back at Thane to discuss Hijdas..and was vey excited on meeting Mumbais Most Wanted Metrosexual Hijda and Prima Donna..and Laxmi has been the name that Mr Rushdie wont easliy forget , name of the the Goddess of Wealth and not Miss Fortune..
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi does not know that living with the Sufis I too can see a lot of things almost like a clairvoyant..
happiness on the drylands of her sorrow
takes time to rain
she smiles with a fraction of hope
she has no complaint
just a single plaint
brotherhood of sisters of Hijdadom
yearning for spiritual peace
at Ajmer from the Holy Saint
her body badly mutilated
but her virginal adrogynous soul
her putrid flesh cant taint
born man a woman she became
with the billowy feathered saree
hidding her adrogynous shame
to her sorrow
to her dark moments
nothing but her ownself to blame
a fistful of gender equality
she wants desperately to reclaim
her posterity broken thrown
out flower pots
to add to the notoriety of her fame
yes a dwarf with a very tall claim
he sleeps on a cart suspended in delirious pain
to his bad luck duly chained
man born of misery engrained
his body his spirit all drained
his fate wounded maimed brutalized
completely blood stained..
mankind his battlefield
a foot soldier fodder
for the politicos totally untrained
The Hijda of Turner Road
This Hijda is very quiet, very humble and absolutely unassuming, it was him that I gave a trinket to wear round his neck.. and he was indeed very thankful..
As I have stopped going tio Chor Bazar completely otherwise I would have picked up some old sarees for all of them..
And they are in bad state but carry the weight of their borrowed womans mind qualities and gender.
Archana Hijda Turner Road
She is a pretty Hijda who blushes each time I tell her that her pictures come out beautiful, she says I pull her leg, she says she is far too ugly, and than I tell her she is heavenly and I am sure God is pleased with her for recreating her personality to what it was originally.Than she innocently nods her headnot really understanding what I just told her.
This is the beguiling charm of Archana .Today she got into a fight with the Fruit selling Bhayya I spotted the spat and rushed to her aid, I reprimanded the fruit seller who relunctantly apologized to her.When Archana moved away I explained to the fruit vendor the meaning of working in mutual peace , she too has a stomach to feed like him.. and I told him he was muck luckier than her..
So this is how I catch situations in my pictorial net.
See the glow in Archanas brightly lit eyes .. it tells her story better than I do.
The Hijdas in the Night at Turner Road Traffic Signal
The Hijdas move in pairs or in groups, knowing their vulnerability from rowdy elements, and you will hardly find a Hijda alone, the clap is a call to the fraternity , and to show their solidarity.
The modern Hijda is more aware of his surroundings, no lifting the saree to show their genitalia if provoked..like the old time Hijdas of the 60s .
On the train the Hijdas love to scare the Bhaiyyas going back to their hometown in Uttar Pradesh, they hassle the guy if he is alone and wont leave till the victim gives them a tenner at least .
The Hijdas are bound to a tremendous force of spirtuality, a power of such intensity not found among men or women.
They give it all back to the Lord who made them fractured with husk like souls..
They are surprisingly at ease with the travesty of gender , hardly blame or curse God.Yet they depend on man and society for their livelihood .
The Hijdas remember a good deed , and will show respect, and if you harm the Hijda God save you from his Curse.. a fully throated Curse.That is why even the cops dont get into the way of the Hijdas..
Even the more rougher and violent breed of Railway cops who will throw a eight year old beggar child off the running train stay away from the Hijdas.
That is why on the trains the Hijda gets away with anything..
There are good Railway cops as thre are bad Hijdas too..
On the whole I have met only good Hijdas..
The Hijda memory is formidable they will remember a face a good deed for ever.
Now dont ask me why I shoot the same Hijdas over and over again..
I know guys who wont dare train their cameras on the Hijdas.. Ha Ha Ha
I dont mean just the Press wallahs but general amateur photographers too..
The Angst and the Anxiety of the Hijda
I have a peripheral knowledge of Hijdas, I have never till date ever asked any Hijda
how he became a Hijda?
I have never had a journalistic approach to my relationship or acquaintanceship with Hijdas I met on the crossroads of Life .But as I shoot pain, stalk pain feel pain I became wary and aware of the Hijdas quintessential adrogynous pain..
I talk of the grass root hijda the lowest in the Hijda hierarchy.
Poor neglected hated and severly condemned by the mainstream society.
I met Hijd prostitutes at Hijda Gully No1 at Kamatipura , talked to Zeenath the Head Guru, but it was to the point without embarassing the basic nature of their survival , a new Hijda was being initiated I shot the pictures with my eyes, the new Hijda donning the red bridal saree , auspiciously being blessed by the Hijda diety Bhauchara Mata..these were important pictures to shoot , but it was a private moment and I respected their privacy.That is why barring a few stray incidents I have had a good human rapport with the Indian transgenders or Hijdas.
And I know a few who love me immensely for what I am, and this is written in singular humility , without any prosaic conceit or poetic pride ..
The Eunuch poetry too just took form, effortlessly , fluidly , words became emotions , emotions flights of fancy..as though a divine force was making me privy to their inner privations and their depressed lives...caught in a vice of depravity.
Last week while at Bhendi Bazar I saw two Hijdas I tried to catch their eyes but they moved away I had my camera too, I could have pursued them talked them in taking their pictures but I let the moment pass..
The Hijda in the picture is plain and begs at the Turner Road Traffic junction..
I shoot them and perhaps people think I am crazy but thats fine, creativty pre empts a hazardous form of intense craziness.
Today I gave one of the plainer Hijdas a trinket to wear round her neck and she lit up like a Xmas tree..I did not shoot her picture , it would have spolit the moment and made it transactional..
I bought a domain name last year from my friend Anil Shejale - Hijda-Eunuch .com
but have not found a web home for it.. and I have already paid a heavy sum to my eldest son for my poetry site ..he wanted me to have it as a gift but Marziya Shakir was the best gift he gave both his father and his mother.
I am perhaps the only Muslim shooting Lalbaugh Chya Raja for over 20 years or more ,,thanks to Mr Sudhir Salvi head honcho of the Mandal.....