Monday, December 21, 2009

Signature Smoke

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During my college days while in transit at Elphinstone College we smoked the chillum behind Rhythm House close to the Jewish Synagogue lane..or at my friend Syeds joint behind Taj Mahal Hotel..close to Royal Yacht Club..

Another place was Rajas joint next to Mandlik House near to Salvation Army..

I have smoked the giant chillum at Shuklaji street close to the opium dens..but my love affair with drugs came to an end once I got married about 31 years back..

I have never touched it since than at the dhuni I shot pictures of Chillum smoking a subject most unique in photography as every guy has his own signature style ..

The most mundane , the shiitiest was smoking a reefer but some guys laced it with other hard drugs..some friends would take brown sugar gulping with huge draughts of beer..

No Smoke Without Fire

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no love without desire
what you could not sow
someone else
will come and sire
supply and demand
seller searching
for a buyer
what you could not
get at home
from the streets
you take on hire
truth
a virgin
sodomized
by a liar

I PIMP MY PICTURES

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on google search
flickr twitter facebook
as a poet
with my camera
I took
so you too
could as a poet
have a second look
photo blogging
is addictive
like picking pockets
for a crook
whatever
our caste
color or creed
death the common
denominator
that swallows
us in a brook
god sneezed
the earth shook
a terrorist attack
they mistook

A Message of Peace Through Pictures

The guy standing next to me is Shakil Bhai he owns this prime place and the dhuni too, he organizes the Ali Maulah Dagah urus with a committee ..

He was a pefect host , offering me tea and dinner too.. but I was just interested in shooting them , unfortunately their sandal procession was on 5 December and I missed it.

I shot this dargah on 9 th and 10 th December.

I prefer this place , Dharavi its quaint lanes and kind and friendly people.

And my orange clothes have been put to rest for 2 month eight days , I wear only black no whites no grays.

Because I am very close to my inherited Hindu culture and because I am a Shia ... they began calling me the Shia Pandit..and it does not offend me at all, I take it as my pride of being born a Muslim in India..

I am what I am in the eyes of the beholder , a Muslim mam once asked me if I was a Hindu, I said I was ..as much as he was a Muslim..the strange thing is we are so devilishly condemned as Hinds and Muslims that we have stopped being human completely.

I have eaten food with a beggar on the road , I have begged alms with my Guru at the Nasik Kumbh .. and that moment taught me the purity of humility..

I have met the Aghoris but did not partake their meals ..the only time it was a matter of choice rather than humility..

I sometimes wonder at Facebook, people add me as a friend because I shoot Hijras or because I am a Shia or because I am in Bollywood perhaps only on the periphery..very few add you as a human being with a message of peace though pictures.

Hassan Ganda - Don Jaun Bawa

Over the years my visits to the few dargahs I have been to during Urus time I met a lot of weirdo bawas , kinky bawas crazy bawas , but none like the sauve sphisticated Hassan Ganda bawa.

He is delight to watch and shoot , his encounters with women who pursue him in the nights in the fields to sleep with him , just to father a child is unbelievable , but Hassan does not lie and man woman nature has its shortcomings too..

Hijras he keeps at arms length , he is a peacock a conceited pigeon , and because I listen to his stories that he has repeated so many times he likes me.. we bond well ..

He is a perfect model for the kind of pictures I shoot.. I told him I would take him to my shop dress him in an Italian cut suit and he was furious as though I had insulted him..he cooled down immediately...the bawas are like little children you handle with kids gloves.

He has taken my visiting card and come what may I am as crazy as he is I will shoot him in a western suit...ha ha


Having lived with wild animals in the jungles all his life he is as wild in temperament and thought..I have never shown him a single picture of his and one day he told me at the Dhuni - Ye Bhenchod Internet kya bala hai..

.I have promised to take him to a cybercafe and show him all his pictures via Google Search..

And Glenn Losack has promised to give him big green backs for lifting a 50 kg stone with his member.. ha ha

Amanat Bawa at Ali Maulah Dargah Dharavi

Amanat Bawa too is the murshad of the Chancawalli Rafaees , he is always smiling , but seeing me he goes into spasms of mild friendly laughter, it is his way of acceptance and I interpret this with the language of my soul.

He likes me a lot and deliberately poses for my camera that waits on him.

Honestly I think its my fate and my wild spirit my lust for freedom that endears me to the bawas.

I dont ask questions , I am not journo material...I dont poke my nose in their personal life nor am I curious about their past.

The same rule of thumb applies to my relationship with the hijras..I was offered money , future by a very rich hjra to be her companion , I refused I am just a photographer and blogging is my only vanity..I have been poached by hijras to shoot them in the nude I refused..not my cup of tea.

I am a poet I read the poetry of life and by shooting it I give it another dimension.

I have seen many things I could have shot never did , I am broke penniless sometimes , a part of my karma but I have not yet sold my creativity of picture and word to anyone else..I am a professional darji , tailor and that keeps the house fires burning..

I have one student who learns photography under me my 2 year old grand daughter Marziya Shakir.. in return she teaches me too..

This world is an Inn , a short stay and than the time comes to take leave , and you have to swim to your destination so you leave behind everything , the only thing you take along with you is your humility ..as loin cloth wrapped around your soul..

Clawing My Way Out Of Madness

the normal world
is a house of madness
in which we live
we just take
what is not ours
pain sorrow hate
in return
we give
like Prometheus bound
to karmic chains
we are held captive
to destroy
this planet
our collective motive
a heritage of our
doomed fate
perhaps
our children may
outlive
masters of their destiny
no more submissive

to randy my best friend

Crazy Bawa Makes Butter Tea

Crazy Bawa Makes Butter Tea

Crazy Bawa at Ali Maulah Dargah

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This dargah is a token of tribute to Hazrat Ali..and is in a very congested Mumbai slums called Dharavi..I had come here once with late Handi Sai many years back..a liitle distance away from here is the famous chilla of Ghaus Pak much venerated by Sunni ladies.
The dhuni here is owned by Shakil Bhai I was told.

Coming here barefeet is a tough choice the tiny filthy lanes ,but it is a place of peace once you reach within.


Crazy Bawa is a nice guy , recently he used the sword on my belly at the Sandal of Fakhruddin Shah Baba as a body piercing act...he knows I can with stand pain.

Crazy Bawa makes the most exhilarating butter tea , you got to taste it to believe it, it is solemnly divine.. he speaks to me in bad American drawl, as he thinks I am a foreigner.

This is a hardcore area , you meet all kinds here good the bad and the ugly.. it comes with the territory and these are pictures shot on 9 Dec 2009..

Bawas come and bawas go, they are nomadic and hitch up with any rafaee order ..but you will meet them come what may at Ajmer Sharif at Char Yar..


Bawa world is intriguing, spell binding and makes good documentary provided you have the temperament to deal with bawas.

Ali Maulah Dargah Dharavi Urus 2009

Ali Maulah Dargah Dharavi Urus 2009

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This was a dargah at Dharavi where another group of the Chancawalli Rafaees sat under Amanat Baba..

I was invited to this place by Hassan Ganda..This Dargah is in a very congested area of Mumbai.

Budhapa Ek Darauna Khab Hai

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hamari badkismati ka jawab hai
gardish mein behta hua sailaab hai


I miss my old shop with its red door , the red door taken away by the bhangar guy, , what remains only pictures and nothing else and the stink of dead fish and prawns yes Bandra Bazar Road is a curse on the Queen of the Suburbs .

Now the elections are over each one sits on a saddled horse but not a tear dop for Bandra Bazar Road that saved the sitting minister from imminent defeat, winning by 1600 votes is no achievement to write home about.

.I see this man on Bandra Hill Road and it saddens me , and do I really need a camera or a camera eye to shoot this..my picture backdrop has changed , but pain is common denominator as it touches us all in one way or another.

I was in a cab a few days back and shooting pictures of the beggar old lady of Mahim , the taxi driver asked me , what would I do with the pictures , I told him I post all this on the net, he said quite amused ..do people really have time to see all this..

Man is curious by nature , he loves challenging the maze of his mind and man is adventurous too.. and the photographer is the silhouette of man shadowing his moves and his actions provided he is not shooting insects ,mountains and flamingos in flight.

The best way of learning photography is shooting with the incandescent third eye of Shiva embedded in the camera body of a man..auto focus, in built memory card..hardly goes out of order..Marziya uses her childs vision as a camera..she sees what others who dont see.. actually they dont care to see it..

Teaching photography to a two year child who knows how to insert the memory card in the camera, or to place the camera battery in the charger , is learning from the child too...Hung on my waist as I shot the political rallies gave her a rare perspective..and I really miss her Marziya Shakir product of a God of all good things..



The title translated in English means old age is a nightmare for a man on the street

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