Sunday, February 8, 2015

Shooting The Christian Ethos Peace Hope Humanity

This was shot on 31 December 2008 before the Midnight Mass at St Peter Church..Bandra .

As a child I have been close to the Church my first school was part of St John The Baptist Church Protestant ,,,teachers were all Europeans and this was early 50s the school was called Private European School I still dont know how my father a tailor master paid my fees it was a princely sum of Rs 50 I am told .
I would sit in the Church if I was early and let my mind roam,, we stayed at Wodehouse Road and the kind lady who enrolled me in this school was Ms Akthar Kashmiri daughter of Late Nawab  Kashmiri , but this school had a different grade system and I had to leave after completing 4 th Std .. It was a primary school.

So Ms Akthar Kashmiri got me admitted to Holy Name High School at Convent Street Colaba .. this was part of the Roman Catholic Church.. I was admitted to the Third standard with the promise if I came first in the class I could take a double promotion , so first term I came third and the next two terms I cam first , so I was promoted to the Fourth standard here I came First all three terms and was promoted to the 6 th.

And it was here I became close to alatr boys and had taken Catechism as one of my subjects .. I had a mentor Late Fr Leslie Ratus a great scholar who later shifted to the Vatican.. he gave me books helped me in my lessons in the evenings in the spare time and than there was another priest late Fr Stephan Fernandes he was like my godfather saving me from the principal Bozo who sadly to say did not much like Muslims.

I would spends hours sitting in the Wodehouse Cathedral the most impressive Church in South Mumbai.The altar boys gave me the taste of wine too..

So the Church was always part of my backdrop,
And when I relocated to Bandra in the 90s it was St Peter Church that became my haven I had taken up photography and practiced shooting the Church interiors , cemetery and the adjacent St Stanislaus School.. At St Peter I found the Jesuits ..and began reading the teachings of St Ignatius  Loyola , Fr Jaun took me as his student and he is my mentor till date.

Fr Lawrie was  another person who encouraged me to shoot the school functions Catholic feasts and I would shoot the Midnight Mass Adoration Holy Communion all free it was my way of learning ,I am still in touch with him he shifted to St Xaviers.

I shot St Andrew Church I shot Mount Mary Basilica , St Anne Church , St Theresa Church,. and Mount Carmel Church.. all in Bandra .

I shot Sacred Heart Church Santa Cruz and the 14 Stations of the Cross o Good Friday barefeet walking behind Jesus and the Catholics from morning till late afternoon documenting their pain and way of Life.

But now in my 60s I must reiterate all these years not a single Christian priest ever tried to convert me , never , never denigrated my religion ,and thanks to all of them today I am a good human being and perhaps a good Muslim .. only God knows about that ..

So some pictures make you talk , make you open up and serves as catharsis to loneliness you can be lonely in a crowd or in a family too.

Ps There was a failed encounter with the Jehovah Witness too in my childhood during the worst days of our family ,, I was staying with Keith Kanga and his grandma a Jehovah fanatic made me read the Bible every day hell bent obn saving mu infidel soul she took me to Cuffe Parade to baptize me in the sea and as Keith and his grandma took me in the sea it began to rain.. and I am happy after that good days returned and my I was re united with the rest of my family that had got separated to bad fate. And I never could understand  the hate the venom the evangelism of the Jehovah  Witness folks ,,
I miss Keith Kanga Atomic Forest ,, he died tragically , his grand ma had died predeceased him..

Mother You Beg Here And Another Beggar With Child Begs Out There

standing round
the lucky hotel corner
mother and child here
mother and child there
god is this fair ,, why
as followers of your
faith as untouchables
reduced to beggars
our fate ensnared
the older child his
pain with my camera
shares i read his
body language
his inner angst
piercing my soul
into my eyes he
stares ,,he accuses
me as Muslim to a
Muslim he curses
he swears , why this
divide one born
with poetic dreams
other hand to mouth
nightmares ,,he glares
while his mother hijab
clad tells him to be
patient to bear .. things
will get better beta
acche din ayenge
mujhe yakin hai
allah khair ...sabr kar
thoda  thair ,, pani
samajh kar pee le
yeh zindagi ka zehr

As a photographer as a poet i shot several frames i  was barefeet looked like a fakir on Idd day .. in Bandra near the Lucky Signal..i spotted them...their broken karmic wheel of pain i could not repair ..neither here nor there .. much as i wanted to tweak this as a BW ..i let the magic its original form and flair ,,,we should surely not be judged by
the clothes we wear..

Jesus Watches

Jesus watches from
a corner in shame
much did he try to
 raise womanhood
on a pedestal
the lot of the
suffering woman
remains the same
woman in a mans
world is game
robbed of her
treasury of
a fallen woman
 she became
they her own
of her loins
disown her
adding her
 to ill fame
remember her
as  fleeting thought
on woman's day
 as a Mothers Day
all in name
throw her in the
of an old
woman's home
when she becomes
 an old dame
the mound  of
 her memories
ashes to ashes
 dust to dust
the worms
 her flesh
 her soul
will reclaim
wife sister
a beast of
to proclaim

Go Away Black Boy

I shot this picture by sheer accident and I shot several frames , I shot it as an Indian as a colored soul too like the beggar boy asking alms from the foreigners , and as a country having a long colonial past we still are awed by the fair rosy skins of our  foreign guests .Whether she gave him something or not is her prerogative but to be honest our beggars harass foreigners no end deliberately touching them pawing them.. and maybe the foreigner can be more miserly than the Indian,

There is a syndicate of beggars that gang up against the foreign tourist while one begs the others steal his belongings and they do it successfully ,, it has happened so many times at Gateway Of India .

But these beggar boys girls an entire family worked at Turner Road Traffic Signal , the mother father relatives played cards as in gambling while the kids slogged their ass chasing vehicles that stopped when the red light turned in.. they pressed their dirty mugs against the car windows dramatically with gestures trying to get the car owners attention,, and this is a prestigious up market traffic signal they always got something .. generously.

Surrounding this signal were jewelry shops and two restaurants a Chinese Stomach and an Indian cuisine Zaika both have now become fashion stores .There was a Cake shop too.  But those days when I shot it the kids got left over food cold drinks and were always happiest lot of beggars .

And using the new Flickr Camera Roll Beta .. I select an old image bring it forward , I wish it had an attached link, but you can edit the description and privacy , etc..I can see all my images at one go date wise when I shot it or when I posted it.

So 2007 was the time I shot a lot of beggar kids at this signal ..this was the traffic signal between work and home ..and the kids worked from 8 am  till late evening ..festival time they would be there till midnight ,

And the worst the people that did shoot them will come out with Coffee Table Books with shots of this lot ,, but no hope no rehabilitation ,and there was a possibility that these could be foster kids kidnapped but who cares too think on these lines checking DNA etc is a big headache for our cops they need juicy cases with lots of money involved .. nobody really thinks about beggar kids and drug addicts ,,Bandra has a rich culture of junkies not afraid of the cops .. sometimes I think its the cops who stay away from them.

And once these beggar kids come in contact with the junkies than the kids get into the habit ,, and drug peddlers use beggars as conduit ,they are the least suspected near schools colleges .. but than I am just being humanly hypothetical with a image , letting in to the figment of my creative but real imagination.

At first I thought I would write a poem here but a poem would have been playing to the gallery and very cliche I began this post as a journal..text and photojournalism.

The Art Of Begging On The Streets Of Mumbai

The worst criminals in this case are the parents who manufacture kids from a wobbly womb only to make them beggars .

What is wrong with the parents of these beggar kids ,I assume they came from the village as contract laborers , the job got over , but their desire to go back to their village had disappeared .. they stayed back may have tried to get work, it did not work out , they were homeless and when they worked for the government contractor he built them huts on the road ,, they  did the same they built homes close to a mound near my house facing Rang Sharda Hotel..and this was some years back, seeing their dirtiness depravity , drinking open in your eye fornicating they were thrown out from here .. but they had learnt the most important lesson survival.

Than they tried their hand at begging with their kids , they realized the public did not give them much , but gave their naked kids much more than them.. the good folks gave them clothes for the kids , imported tshirts frocks jeans ,,but they sold it in the slums to families that could easily afford it , as slums is now a misnomer even the poor middle class live in the slums ,, be it Bandra West or Bandra East.

They now decided to retire from begging they had learnt a lucrative trade , no investment no loss ad no taxes perhaps greasing the hands of our incorrigible greedy cops .. but as they go other families from the village , it became a commune , they did not bank the money , it was not safe in their shanties , they gave the money to a local don presumably , he would return it with interest .. the Don realized the beggars were making a lot of money , he decided to be part of their social welfare , he decided to protect them and keep them at bay from the cops who were i his accounts book system known as hafta or protection money , he paid a percentage allegedly .. we all know it but as we are Indians we look the other way.. we the Indians promote corruption our system is all about bribes .. here I will digress you pay a bribe to get your childs birth certificate , you pay a bribe openly to register your house or stamp duty , they say some paper is missing and the tout says it can be done you pay Rs 2500 we did.

To get a ration card , passport , or another card not the credit card you pay a bribe , if a cop stops you for breaking a signal you give him something he claps both his hand and shoves the tobacco under his lips .. this is our national story..and even a hundred Anna Hazares can never get rid of it . It has entered our DNA our bloodstream.. we the living are perpetrators of corruption.

Back to my beggar story each family chooses a traffic signal it is better than begging from door to door getting your balls chewed up by Bruno the Bulldog belonging to the most miserly man in the housing society.

Some places you give part of your earnings as a beggar to the watchman and sadly the watchmen be it from Nepal Uttar Pradesh Bihar are badly outsourced .. and a few dont spare the beggar kids sexual molestation in the watchmans room is pretty common.. the beggar kid is not going to file an FIR,

And I can go on but typing with this single finger can be a pain in the butt ..all in all kids are the worst victims , pushed into drugs hooked become peddlers, beggar girls incestuously raped  and with no fear as the kid that will be born is the gold mine .. drugged placed on the shoulders of a scantily clad child will bring in the loot .

So Fuck can someone tell me how they will remove beggars from Mumbai ,Mumbai might get half empty too.. Begging in India or Mumbai is a money generating cottage industry .. perhaps legalizing beggars , prostitution and corruption too.. the Justice  department may have less cases , and less under trials and the saddest eye sore is that even the Law Ministry has not been able to give dignity to a lawyers profession as he solicits customers near Bandra Court it is an insult to see a parents money spent on making the son a lawyer gone to seed.

And I am blogger , a poet and read this epistle as the fucked poetry of life..and all this rant you could have not translated from a picture of a beggar child shot in 2007..

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! "

So to get more alms parents disfigure their kids , burn them with hot tongs ,break their hands legs , burn their tongue , face , make them bald , strip the girl child , and keep them hungry if they dont bring more alms .

I know a beggar who burns his childs hand and carries a prescription and begs I once got of my ricksha and tried to catch him but he gave me the slip.. he usually begs at Pali Road Signal near Sahiban.

And Indians can be bad too , you wont be surprised if kids are blinded and forced to beg the powerful beggar Mafia is capable of anything ,,and where do you think kids that are kidnapped go, beggary or child prostitution.. and we are gunning for the laughing ass of Humorists ..we go after a woman who confesses that she made a mistake but the cops dont spare her or even the vendors that sold the paper and than we have Paki influenced gent of Muslim origin who want the Blasphemy law saw they can send anyone to the gallows agreed some of our laws are so archaic like Article 377 but India is a secular country and does not need  Paki laws..

Our laws keep us safe .. only if the cops could do a much better job and I know Mr Rakesh Maria is trying his best .

The Beggar Kids Of Bandra I Shot In 2007

My storyboard on this series of urchins beggar kids is known as Turner Road Traffic Signal kids but as I shot other kids at various traffic signal I bunched them up in this set ,,most of the Signals I shot besides Turner Road were St Michael Mahim Church signal main road end at times the Mori Road end.

Than Pamposh Linking Road Signal the same tribe like the kids in this picture and the Khar Telephone Exchange Signal here the adults , teenager from the same community , women beg as eunuchs I shot them too.

I shot the Turner Road Traffic Signals for a longer time , as my  old workplace was off Waterfield Road and than after I left this place it was Bandra Bazar and Hill road that I shot .

But in 2011 for a few months I took up a corporate strait jacket job as a GM of a Fashion House and I was back again at Waterfield Road but by then the beggars had moved away including the eunuchs ..

And as I have to pass Waterfield Road to go to Juhu I do meet these old faces grown older at other traffic signals and they remember me ,, I was good to them , gave them  money and did as much as I could .

And most of these kids just disappeared , they used to stay at a mound near Rang Sharda but they were thrown out from there because of drinking fights I mean the adults , defecating on the pavements ,, and all this was close to my house .

This community has two branches one sells flowers flags atc on our feast days and the other predominantly begs ,,and there is a beggar mafia it has to exist as the beggar kids are protected if caught they are bailed out by paying a fine of Rs 1200 .

Beggary will never leave Mumbai this is not like the garbage you remove , and again spills on the road as garbage is generated by the residents .. but beggars are human , if they dont rob steal they have to beg to make two ends meet ,, nobody will hire a beggar ..nobody not even the Muslim community will ever try to rehabilitate their members begging on the streets .

There are guys or even the parents who push the kids into child prostitution  as money rules and there is no parental love love of money comes first .. and I have over the years seen young girls with children.

I still shoot beggars .. but the eunuchs that begged along with the kids at Turner Road have now moved to Pali Road near Sahiban Restaurant .

And I know the beggars like a dossier in my head the old faces the new faces ..

I would rather shoot beggars than shoot celebrity.. guess that is why my friends began calling me beggar poet , the poem came much later after shooting beggars .

And today I have blocked a very old friend from my life and from my timeline at Flickr Twitter Google Plus ,, a friendship that took place in 2007 too.. and I learnt racism will never ever go away it is a curse like begging..

From The Day She Was Born She Has Been Held In Captivity

first it was her
mothers scarred
womb born from
a drunkards seed
the night she was
born on the street
as the midwife pulled
her out from between
her mothers dirty feet
wrapped in a newspaper
not avadhnama her
birth was her first defeat
suckled on the dry drenched
out outlets her mothers teats
she cried she cried ..hearing
her mother cursing her another
mouth to feed here i have had
nothing to eat ..a part of life
incomplete ,, the next scene
drowsy drugged it was syrupy
benadryl as she hung on a
childs shoulders she was begging
on her beat , pinched made to cry
by that fiend of a step brother ..she
had wet herself in that stinking cloth
sheet that went around her throttling
her life  moments humidity heat ..when
he cleaned her almost banging her tiny
head on concrete ..she was a battered
 doll ugly piece of meat ..children of a
lesser god they said ..offered her sweets
knowing well that her gumless mouth
had no teeth..
than as she grew older she ran after cars
rickshas motor bikes on her fast feet
rubbing her nose against the glass of
the cars dark window ..trying to draw
the attention of the man holding his
madam tight on the back seat ,,
go away go away yelled the fucked
driver ,,honking away that bloody cheat
the car sped away leaving behind an
emptiness and the thought again no money
her parents would beat she turned away her
face from the eye of the camera ashamed
angry as to why he was shooting her the
bastard dressed in a fakirs attire turban rings
that mother fucker beggar shooter barefeet

My Tryst With Fate On Flickr My Flickr Story

[Official Thread] Call for stories about Flickr's history

ericsoco says:

Hi all. I'm giving a talk in the spring about the processes around the innovations that have come to define Flickr, to try to better understand how Flickr has become what it is (and has been).

While talking with people about this, I've come to realize/remember that a lot of the core features of Flickr were actually developed or fleshed out by the community, by all of you! For example: geotags and machine tags came from community use of the basic tags feature; Groups have evolved in many ways through the use of the initial, simple Groups feature.

Do you have any memories of how these things came to pass? I'm not looking for bragging or claims on invention, rather just for stories about the early days of any feature that's become a core part of how you use Flickr.


I added my story ,,

firoze shakir photographerno1 says:

I came to Flickr June 2007 from Buzznet and I have been here ever since .Flickr is a great community , interconnected as many Flickr photographers who wanted to shoot Mumbai , or Moharam would get in touch with me and I went out to help them without any profit or gain , thereby making friends for life ..Flickr is home within my home ..I have been part of Flickr change Think Flickr Think , Black Flickr and than I accepted change ..

Without bragging or blowing my trumpet I have uploaded 326,147 photos .

My genre is street photography , culture rituals occult , the only grouse I have with Flickr is they have yet not come out with a tool where are pictures can actually be protected from hackers and others ..because of this flaw I removed my Hijra Transgender Cross dresser sets from Public View Completely.

And I miss Flickr Gift Of Pro where friends would extend my shelf life on Flickr I needed the Pro only for the unlimited uploading option.

I promote Flickr via Twitter Tumblr Blogspot Google+ Ello a vibrant creative community , and Indiblogger .

I think Flickr has changed me I have a lot of friends followers and fans I also apologize to those I have blocked , I did not want their genre to be thrust on my timeline ..

I hope that Flickr work towards getting quality members , those with bogus IDS bogus fake profile should be eased out ,, as a few nameless profile less members spoil the vision of Flickr as a global village..

And I am a hardcore fan of Ms Marissa Mayer ,, unabashedly ,,
Thanks .
I type with one finger ,, and I owe a lot to Aviary editing tool I am a poet actor mystic and a humanbeing..

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firoze shakir photographerno1 e.