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The Holy Smile



Normally after I have finished playing tennis and walked a few rounds at the MET Grounds Bandra Reclamation I return home not via the Beef Market  but through a tiny access lane near the Sunni Mosque Bandra Reclamation ,. that houses a few Miya caterers and just across their space is her house ,, I have shot her earlier from a distant she would be sulking silently grumbling and she looked very temperamental as I dont know her I thought shooting from far was the best way of shooting her street personality ,,

But yesterday that is when I shot this picture I said hello to her and before she could re act I shot her on my HTC Desire 826 and this took her by surprise she gave me her beatific smile surprising me completely ,,

She is a Kathiawari migrant , settler from Gujrat the oldest settlers here at Bandra Bazar Road when this entire place was part of the sea ,, dhobhi ghat ,,the dhobis the gujratis the koli fisherfolks the East Indians also fisherfolks lived cheek and jowl.. much before we came to Bandra in the 80 s ,,

This part of Bandra the backlanes  arterial touch main Bandra Bazar Road a commune of the erstwhile East Indians original inhabitants of this part of Bandra .. their communes were called gaothan , very specific , culturally dominating the early simple skyline without tall ugly monstrous sky scrapers ..


There are a handful of old Kathiawari families and you will see them come together during Navratri ..playing dandia at Highland Court A and B in front of their old deity Goddess Ma Ambe ,, she is kept in a Kathiwari house made of metal she is a family heirloom never immersed like the other idols.

And so you shoot a picture and prolifically capture the thread of a story a thread that weaves a tapestry of cultures living peacefully side by side ,,with the Konkani Muslim migrants that came settled in Bandra Bazar ..the Karie community , one of them was a cook for the family of Bhuttos living in Old Mumbai ,, and they wanted him and his family to relocate to Pakistan but they loved Bandra far too much.. and the patron of this family died recently ,,I shot both him and his wife for a long time documenting their simplicity and humility and there is an old Chinese family too ,, all woven together in the ethos of Bandra Bazar Road ,, the area we decided to make our home ,,my wife liked this place to its proximity to the Shia Khoja Mosque  , the ladies Shia mehfil  the bazar and my daughters school Apostolic Carmel Convent ,,and for sometime my workspace too.

So one holy smile opens a can full of smiles ,,, lol


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