Saturday, May 31, 2014
sitting beneath a tree
a beggar mother you
see pondering to be
or not to be on the
other hand in silence
a little baby tiny legs
born in captivity wonders
bemusedly this world
of pain torture suffering
hate sectarian strife
that they call humanity
did i make a mistake
the womb was far better
its darkness comforting
motherly .. i was being
nurtured fed ..not anymore
says she ..withered milk less
teats sucking the life out of me
I have bought this post from the past forward to my timeline ..it was shot 4 years back
She and her mother come to my workspace every Thursday, I give them money and take a few pictures , the little one like being photographed..through my picture she gets to see the world free .Whats her future , well future is shy state of ones mind , it has hidden beneath the next toadstool..
She likes me and stands outside the doors of my shop , she knows I am the only guy who takes her picture and through my picture I give her respect, respect for being so small and taking up a selfless job of begging assisting her mother diligently.
And I meet them , or beggars like them , they meet me on the crossroads of the path of my camera.,,they are my subjects I shoot their life on the streets in available light , and I show you what others are too shy to show..that pain is universal, beyond the scathing realm of religiosity.
A normal beggar does not evoke such feelings like the Muslim women beggar and her child..I dont sell my pictures so you cant accuse me of profiteering through pain..
And for once just look deep in to the beggar childs eye ..and hold your vision , you will see my culture , you will see bombs demolished mosques , you will see suicide bombers you will see not one but a million Kasab..and within her eyes you will see sectarian strife, you will see collective eunuch silence you will see the clergy with a mouth gagged ,.. you will see so much and much more provided you see as I do..and you dont need a camera too..
So this is what I saw and I share it with you ..yes a child's eyes are windows of Gods soul too..
Its tough being a Muslim beggar child and carrying the heritage of pain for over 1400 years..
Among the Muslim beggars I shot , this was one lady who did not take kindly to me , she did not want me to photograph her , but I did and I paid her too .
Than I simply stopped shooting her she sits now even today at Bandra Hill Road opposite the Bandra Police Station.
And mostly people give them coins to get rid of them sometimes they are lucky a kindly person will give them money for clothes and food.. there are many kind people and more as there are misers on this street ..the second most famous commercial street after Bandra Linking Road.
I have never talked to her and try to decipher her pain through the silence of my shot.. I shoot you fill the blanks and I hate adding text as I type with one finger , it hurts after some time ..and I have 295000 blogs touched by this one magic finger that bemoans belonging to me lol
I have been shooting this child from the time she was a toddler and visited my workplace with her mother for alms ,,
Both mother and daughter came every Thursday and begged from the shops on Bandra Hill Road .
I have not seen them now since 3 years ..
This lady had 3 daughters .
And it is fortunate I gave her my grandkids old clothes and toys .. and money from time to time .
But she needed education , mother needs a job but than who hires beggars in Mumbai..
Many years back before I shot him here at Mahim Dargah lane I had spotted him in Ajmer Sharif.
And over the years shooting beggars I have come to the conclusion there is one lot of beggars that follow the Urus circuit , they visit the main dargahs or holy shrines to beg and so they are incessantly on the move .
And the chances are getting good returns instead of hanging around in one street corner.
And if you really seriously think than Beggary is a full time profession too..there are slum women I am told who wear the hijab and go and beg in distant areas as the chances of being recognized is nil.
Some carry their kids too and this is the irony of being a minority not only in numbers but in economic backwardness and living far the below the poverty line .
It used to be a very tiring trip for me as I would take a cab from Bandra to Gateway of India pier , from the pier an hour trip by boat or catamaran to Mandwa pier and a bus trip to Alibagh included in the boat fare.
Than at Alibagh Ihad snacks tea at Sumangal Restaurant and a ricksha to Jayant Dhulaps house a few minutes off the main Alibagh beach..
The races start post lunch after the tide goes in and than the bullocks arrive from neighboring areas districts .. the races continue for about 2 hours or so.
Than catching the last boat to Gateway of India .. if you miss the boat than the bus journey is a pain in the butt about 5 hours via Panvel.
Once I slept over at Dhulaps house and took the boat the next morning.
But the exciting part is the day before the races when the Kolis burn Holika in the fishing villages of Alibagh and Murud Janjira.
Earlier I used to go to Alibagh on Holi to shoot the bullock cart races on the beach , and to Murud Janjira to shoot the same on Gudi Padwa. Than came the ban on these races and I stopped going to both the places .
I was told there was one in Murud this year but I did not go , its a long trip , very tiring and if the race is not there you come back empty handed , and will my deteriorating health I avoid such excursions.
But I miss the races the rising adrenalin I am not scared of Death I rush into the path of the racing bulls and take my shots
And every one knows me as the colorful mad photographer from Mumbai.
And it was these races , that taught me timing , I hated panning , and taking risks ..
And for all this I must thank my gurus Shreekanth Malushte who bought me here the first time and than there was no looking back .Late Prof BW Jatkar who helped me a lot shooting this form of action and the seagulls on the boat that bought us fromGateway of India to Alibagh.
And last but not the least my very humble teacher mentor Mr Anil Bhartiya a great photojournalist and fine art photographer too.
But it was Jayant Dhulap at Alibagh his wife Sharda daughter Abha that extended their hospitality to shoot the races at Alibagh .
And Kiran Batham my friend from Murud .
Shooting the bullock cart races on the beach barefeet is an awesome high.. and I have documented this sport form at my Flickr photostream.
lowest of the low
woman for those
is an eyesore
her kind they
give a few coins
shoo her away
far from his doors
to reach out to her
they wont explore
a painful enigma
a sorrowful metaphor
forgive me she is
nothing just a pebble
washed away on the
sea shore ..a boat
oars ..her self respect
her dignity emasculated
egos are not willing to
restore ..when it rains
it pours ...but she
survives i am sure
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