Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Hijra Pierces his Cheek with a 18 Feet Rod

The Ritual of Piercing the Cheeks With a 18 feet Rod

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Most important you have to be clean in mind body and thought.

The fast continues and the person can only have liquid with the rod in his mouth.
This is the first time I shot a hijra doing this ritual and because I thought I might not get this opportunity again I shot him extensively.

I shoot every mood every nuance I have on hand 2 cards of 16 GB so obviously I am in no mood to scrounge , and because I am under no editorial constrain and because I dont have to give head to a photo editor to publish a single picture I am
impulsively free to hit the trigger as many times I want.

I have not mortgaged the soul of my pictures for money ..and some things you cant buy if they are not for sale ,,, like a bloggers attitude towards life and photography.

I shoot single frame without noise I shoot the soul of reality .

I shoot wide I hate telly ..but my photography equipment is that of a beggar on the street enough to cover his shame , I have no patron saint of photography , I have no sponsor but I know when my mentor gets tired of the camera he uses he will give it to me ..and this Dr Glenn Losack MD ..his generosity has no limit or boundary where I am concerned or my 2 year old grand daughter Marziya Shakir.

Glenn is the light in the dark end of lifes tunnel.

We both are vivid feelers of pain , we are as crazy and we are as different as cheese and boot polish.

He is the only white man who I see colored even without my glasses .

He is a Brooklyn born Jew but religiosity or race does not matter to me Glenn is Family and beyond that there is no issue or difference in our relationship.

And I want Glenn to buy a shanty in the slum as he loves beggars and beggar kids .. but Glenn will never give up the comforts of life the only bullet that can kill him is Heat , that keeps him away from Mumbai for the moment.,

The Hijda Gets Ready for the Cheek Piercing

The hijdas are a very unique race , totally seeped in ritualism and hardcore spirituality of the street , they are active participants dancing their way into the Holy Saints heart during the various Urus at Ajmer or Haji Malang.

I have tried to talk less on my pictures keeping them as visuals only, but my fascination for the hijda ethos makes me voluble.

One thing I must reiterateI was invited here by Raja the piercer and it was the first time he invited me here to Sion Koliwada , imagine I know him since three ytears.

Why this change of heart I dont know,,he hardly ever talked to me or ever called me, but now I have his phone number.

Raja will not pierce your cheeks without money this is his basic rule hard cash no Udhar means no credit , he charges for the removal of the hooks and the rods too..

But he is experienced and does a fabulous job.Nobody complains .

Photography is not about shooting a picture and sharing it for comments discussion etc photography is the mother of all emotions ..just see the raw thoughts in the hijdas eyes in a few seconds the rod will enter his cheeks through and through..so I was not merely shooting his facial expressions but his spiritual anguish only the wise will read it and understand.

He was a decent hijda not raucous or loud , and gave me a lot of respect as he knew I would reach the dark and crevices of his soul through Shivas eye embedded in my camera like body.

Of late due to professional personal problems my heart and soul is not in my photography there are other fears that haunt me I shoot this with a passion but not the way I should have if I was in a better frame of mind.

You can write poems and a novel on an empty stomach but street photography should be with a peaceful state of mind without hindrance stress or agitated state of mind.

So with this picture I show you the various frames of this hijdas cheek piercing with a 18 feet rod , I confess I shot him extensively he was my subject and I did not let him go.

And he had told me the following day he would go back to Nasik from where he hailed.

The Tamils are good natured people very possessive about their rituals customs and Goddess Maryamma.

I am now a known face ion this community and even people I dont know greet me and remind me that they had seen me in their procession .



So my genre is hardcore street photography of pain , I wanted to pierce my cheeks at Mahim but my Tamil frends told me to wait , perhaps it is because when I do this ritual one day I want my mentor Dr Glenn Losack to be there and shoot me too a Shia blogger among the Tamil brethren.

Because I can cut open my head with a dagger I have no fear of pain at all..and maybe because of my diabetic condition I dont really feel pain like you would ..only my bleeding does not stop for a long time.

There is another ritual connected with Maryamma the devotees walking on fire.I have not shot it as yet.

The one Maryamma feat I missed this year was the Maryamma Feast Madras Wadi Worli.

It happened and I did not know about it.

But through Raja I will cover the Sion Koliwada belt next year too.

Hardcore Cheek Piercing with 18 Feet Rod

Hardcore Cheek Piercing with 18 Feet Rod

Spitting Milk in the Devotees Mouth

This was the first time I was shooting this important milk ritual in good light and the milk is blown into the devotees mouth to lubricate the steel rod and make it movable in the mouth.

The same technique is applied when the rod is removed at the Maryamma temple after several hours , the guys with the 18 feet rods in the mouth sometimes with hooks on the back pull cars and move in a procession , a very slow tedious procession through the main road of Sion Koliwada .

I was shooting this event here for the first time barefeet , dog tired in my diabetic condition without food or drink.

All I had was jeera and lime before the piercings began at the Sai Baba Temple.

The Rod Goes Through Both The Cheeks

Hardcore Street Photography of Pain

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