Monday, May 24, 2010

Spiritual Possession Or Devi Entering the Human Body

As soon as the Arti began I dont know what came over me I went into a trance and fell down on the floor with my cameras, and I was soon lifted on my feet.. I began shooting this sequence of the spiritual trance or spiritual possession a very integral part of Goddess worship..

Goddess Maryamma is deity in the avatar of Goddess Kali or Goddess Durga and is fervently worshiped by the Hindu Tamils and the Maharashtrians of Macchimar Colony Mahim.

At the Mahim beach during the puja a lot of people went into a trance including the high priest and his assistant.


This is the essence of what I deliriously shoot like a mad man and this is the genre of my photography.

Dont ask me questions just see my pictures I dont ask questions of the people I shoot , the people I shoot have faces I dont ask their names.

I know the name of the head priest and their children suffices in a situation such as this.

And honestly why should media shoot such mundane stuff..on hot burning Sunday afternoon with or without shoes..

I shoot barefeet burning my sole to keep my flesh alive.

Spiritual Possession Or Devi Entering the Human Body

As soon as the Arti began I dont know what came over me I went into a trance and fell down on the floor with my cameras, and I was soon lifted on my feet.. I began shooting this sequence of the spiritual trance or spiritual possession a very integral part of Goddess worship..

Goddess Maryamma is deity in the avatar of Goddess Kali or Goddess Durga and is fervently worshiped by the Hindu Tamils and the Maharashtrians of Macchimar Colony Mahim.

At the Mahim beach during the puja a lot of people went into a trance including the high priest and his assistant.


This is the essence of what I deliriously shoot like a mad man and this is the genre of my photography.

Dont ask me questions just see my pictures I dont ask questions of the people I shoot , the people I shoot have faces I dont ask their names.

I know the name of the head priest and their children suffices in a situation such as this.

And honestly why should media shoot such mundane stuff..on hot burning Sunday afternoon with or without shoes..

I shoot barefeet burning my sole to keep my flesh alive.

Maryamma Temple Macchimar Colony Mahim

126,100 items / 920,448 views

I would have never known about this place or these rituals but it was my Tamil friend Davendar from Nehru Nagar Juhu who had bought me here three years back, he was invited by Ganesh to the celebrations this year but he did not turn up.

Davendar is an accomplished piercer too.

And I became good friends with Ganesh the head priest of this temple and his sister Laxmi and the entire family.

They consider me a part of their family too.

Being a Shia Muslim who undergoes pain doing the head cutting with a dagger I know pain on mutual terms , I shoot pain.

Pain is the essence of my photography ..the ethos of pain goes beyond every religiosity.. pain is what makes you and me human..

I also understand the pain of the sacrificial goat..I went into a trance here during the arti, this is part of the mysticism of my human soul and my Indianness..

Sometimes people who have read a lot of books derogatorily call this madness , specially my Shia rituals , it hurts me , but than you have to be a shia understand the Shia angst , I am not a Hindu but I become one when I shoot these rituals respectfully , if my agenda was to make fun of religion than I too would become an agnostic or atheist .

I am not.

I dont ridicule rituals customs of other communities I shoot them as passionately as I shoot my own .I understand the other persons love for his heritage his ancestry and I pay my humble tribute to their faith through my pictures.

Photography is not just shooting pictures but holistically healing through pictures .

Because I shoot what I shoot you know pain exists man exists God exists in the state of the mind of the person who pushes a 18 feet road from one cheek to the other ..

Children pierce their cheeks with the adults and the women too.


I cannot stop shooting this event it is catharsis for my own soul too.

Maryamma Temple Macchimar Colony Mahim

126,100 items / 920,448 views

I would have never known about this place or these rituals but it was my Tamil friend Davendar from Nehru Nagar Juhu who had bought me here three years back, he was invited by Ganesh to the celebrations this year but he did not turn up.

Davendar is an accomplished piercer too.

And I became good friends with Ganesh the head priest of this temple and his sister Laxmi and the entire family.

They consider me a part of their family too.

Being a Shia Muslim who undergoes pain doing the head cutting with a dagger I know pain on mutual terms , I shoot pain.

Pain is the essence of my photography ..the ethos of pain goes beyond every religiosity.. pain is what makes you and me human..

I also understand the pain of the sacrificial goat..I went into a trance here during the arti, this is part of the mysticism of my human soul and my Indianness..

Sometimes people who have read a lot of books derogatorily call this madness , specially my Shia rituals , it hurts me , but than you have to be a shia understand the Shia angst , I am not a Hindu but I become one when I shoot these rituals respectfully , if my agenda was to make fun of religion than I too would become an agnostic or atheist .

I am not.

I dont ridicule rituals customs of other communities I shoot them as passionately as I shoot my own .I understand the other persons love for his heritage his ancestry and I pay my humble tribute to their faith through my pictures.

Photography is not just shooting pictures but holistically healing through pictures .

Because I shoot what I shoot you know pain exists man exists God exists in the state of the mind of the person who pushes a 18 feet road from one cheek to the other ..

Children pierce their cheeks with the adults and the women too.


I cannot stop shooting this event it is catharsis for my own soul too.

Barefeet Blogger at Maryamma Temple Mahim

Maryamma Feast 2010 Macchimar Colony Mahim

126,046 items / 919,618 views

I start a new set at my Flickr photostream, I shot it this afternoon totally barefeet dressed in saffron, this is a feast where the Tamils and the Maharashtrians from Fishermens Colony Mahim pay tribute to Goddess Maryamma an avatar of Kali,.

Marc De Clercq , Kabir and an eminent German lady author Ula were here covering this unique feast...too.
They arrived when the goats and chickens had been slaughtered to appease the Goddess .

After that the contingent moved to the Mahim beach, where the piercing of the cheeks began including piercing of hooks on the back to pull a tempo a car and a basket full of coconuts.

While the puja began on the beach a lot of people went into a possession like spiritual trance..and this had happened when the goats were being slaughtered too.

I followed the procession till a few meters before the Maryamma Temple where all this ends and caught a cab back home I did not wait for the removal of the rods and hooks it would have taken a lot of time I had not eaten since morning I was in bad shape due to my diabetic condition.

There were Hijras too again this year..Muskan from Dharavi and Sarita.

I once again thank Ganesh the head priest of the Maryamma temple his kind sister Laxmi and the entire family that allow me to shoot this event , and this time they allowed me to bring my foreign friends too.

This family owns the Temple and it is basically a private family event.

This was my third year shooting this event.

I was really sad as my little friend Sairam did not show up for the cheek piercing.

Raja from Sion Koliwada was the piercer , and single handedly he pierced the hooks and the rods on the men ladies and children , devotees of Goddess Maryamma.

This is a very long series about 6 GB card I shot on two camera bodies and two lenses, most of it on camera flash as the event started very late..


This time there was no Juggernaut too, a cartwheel kind of contraption where rods are pierced both in the back and in the front of the chest.. including a 18 feet rod piercing both the cheeks.

Lalbaugh Chya Raja Mukut Darshan 2019

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.....