Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Once many years back I saw Fr Jaun he had come to Kamla Bai sadan where we stayed he had come to bless the House of Trevor Feuz.. I had met the good father through my dear long lost friend Darryl Luke Loyola so Father was surprised to see me ..he had finished his spiritual work and was on his way out at De Monte Street .
I asked Fr Jaun whether he blessed only Christian homes and not Muslim homes , Father gave me a smile came to my humble abode blessed it with his presence and had a nice hot cup of tea made by my wife ,,
And thus we have been cosmically connected this fluent Marathi speaking Spanish priest ,once two backpackers from Croatia happened to be in Mumbai homeless I called him he gave them shelter in the Church.
He loves both my granddaughters Marziya and Nerjis and every Easter Sunday one of them comes with me to greet him..foreign photographers who come to meet me I bring them to St Peter Church and introduce them to this kind priest ..
I have shot Fr Jaun on his birthdays I have been treated to lunch by him at his room in the Church.. and he never forgets to wish me on Eid ,,If Darryl ever gave me a present it was this friendship of Fr Jaun..
And when he was going to Spain after many years I tailored a Nehru suit ,, he looked stunning ,, almost like a filmstar ,,
All he said Firoze you are spoiling me ,,such is his humility and humanity.
In my life I had the love of some of the best Catholic priests and they influenced me in the most positive manner , I was crazy hotheaded Miya but Fr Jaun taught me to control my temper and I owe a lot to him and all my Christian blogs are a tribute to all my Christian friends and these lovable Christian priests ,,
And in Ramzan I am making sure the spirit of Jesus Christ prevails ,,and we live in harmony and love for everyone ,,
Yes Fr Jaun and even Darryl love my wifes chicken biryani.. lol on Eid
not just loaves and fish
they have vegetables
fresh fruits to eat
rice lentils wheat
with his tears he
peat .from the fields
to heal the sick
cure the leper
he is back on
jesus the healer
in the rains ,,you will
meet ..in silence with
a gratifying smile he
will greet ,,touching
your inner being
holistically i repeat
Once she sat at Bandra Broan Road , begging for alms , with her socketless eyes , her begging tin tied to the stump of her leg as drug addicts would snatch it and run away ,,within the tin is another tin to hide the notes from people who pretend to put in a few coins and deftly remove the notes ,,, even beggars are not safe from Bandra crooks .
I have been documenting Maria a Catholic convert , for many years now .she had left for her hometown last rains .. but she returned for Easter Christmas sitting outside the wall of St Peter Church than she left again before the onset of the Rains .
The rains cause her a lot of grief her leprous body part start falling ,,thats what her daughter Mary told me now Mary sits at Boran Road wear a headscarf and tries to appease the Muslims of Bandra , she sits outside the wall of a Madrsa ,, and I always felt that the Church of Bandra hd let them down terribly ,, I never once saw Sister Cristobal ever enter this lane , I never saw a priest or even a nun try to counsel them they were untouchables and as a photographer I have shot a lot of poor.. the poorest of poor among Christians most of them are converts to Christianity living on the streets of Bandra ,, I shot their video too,.
So it is not only the Muslim beggars I documented , Muslim beggars are in a larger denomination in Bandra and predominantly migrants ..but other communities ,, and imagine begging in the rains ,,with a broken umbrella ,,broken hope its really crazy.. but beg they must to survive and in these isolated cases it is not the Beggar Mafia using but sheer necessity of living.
Mary has two kids they are in boarding , the daughter will become a nun , unless Mary decides to change her religion to Islam and if she does it will only be to move from one faith to the next .. but might still remain a beggar for all you know,, as I am only a photographer I have no reason to think or politicize her pain.because of neglected misplaced religiosity.
I know hardcore evangelist Muslims more from the Wahabi Salafi Tabliki sect that make the Muslim beggar , wear a skull cap , and tell him about the Faith but he still remains a beggar , they can change his way of thinking but will not rehabilitate him , fuck will they take his daughter and get her married to their son.. now that is something that would sound seriously a misplaced thought.. I hate conversions ...you can hate me for thinking like that ,, and this blog is about the beggars of Bandra living in penury,,,
And I miss Maria as I spoke to her gave her money and though she is blind she would recognize me from my footsteps ,, Mary did not like me in the beginning as she thought I made money selling her mothers pictures ,but than she met my wife my granddaughters and realized I was not what she thought .
I meet her even now ,,I never asked about her husband or what made her beg.. and that was with respect to her privacy but I have video shot Muslim beggar couples in Bandra and Ghatkopar .. all my beggar interviews are on You Tube .
Ramzan is the only gracious pious month for Beggars God sees they do not go hungry at all.. after Ramzan I am sorry to say with a million pardons apologies the graciousness and the piety goes away in hibernation till next Ramzan.
Being a Muslim I know how the Muslim cycle of life works ,, and as a street photographer I shoot the cycle of life of Muslim Beggars and a few like Mary and Maria.
My grandchildren Marziya and Nerjis have shot Maria .. and this picture was shot in April 2012 ,, I just added text to a blank post...and copy pasted it on the soul of my inner angst.
Chimbai ... Tears On The Soul Of The East Indian Gaothan
Sometimes I wonder I am a friend of the Christians my pictures are testimony of my Faith ..but if the Voice of the Christian Church was strong .. if the padres and clergy had changed with the times and stood up against the political satraps strongly I think the wheels would move faster .. I shot the protest for the Demolition of the Cross the clergy came forward and the Mobai Goathan leaders , Catholic Sabha and people from diverse faith including me the only Muslim photographer documenting a event ,,and this is what is required not only when the Lord is threatened but when the common Christian is threatened too.. there should be a unified call. I was witness to how a powerful lobby of builders that had encroached Ranwar tried to bully my landlady and without support from her neighbor , without support from the Church she fought a battle , this valiant lady did not get scared , this East Indian braveheart had Jesus as her Might and I watched her and her sons Basil Brian Bosco young lads were her godly protective shield ,,Yes Mrs Agnes Pereira my family's Godmother who gave us shelter during the 93 riots.
I got a bit of her strength I added it to my photography ,, I dont shoot pictures for money or two seconds fame in a local newspaper ,,I shot pictures without any agenda I felt I owe a lot to the Christian Church, to my school Holy Name High School Colaba they taught me stay on the Path of Righteousness ..I am not a saint ,,what is Saintliness .. Saintliness is the Halo of Humanity and Humility .. when you lose it you lose it all.
Media will never write about the East Indian struggle , their fight to live in dignity and watch with tears in their eyes as their neighborhood became a Ghetto.. and early morning as you entered an East Indian lane you could hear Uncle Joe playing the Sax,,lingering lyrical notes of a world which was their ancestry the rug forcibly pulled away from under their feet..
These are old pictures but fresh oven baked blogs ,,,and friends like Merck Basil Clarence Gomes and all of you ,, made me tell you the East Indian story from the eyes of a Beggar Poet also a part of your Christian Ethos.
Photo shot by my French Friend Jean Marc Gargantiel at Chimbai..
I stay at Bandra and this is the ugliest part of a fishing waterfront called Chimbai that it connects at one end to Salman Khans house and the other end to Joggers Park hardly matters to my pedestrian tale posturing as a blog.
And as an update Salman Khan has a spacious house on the Chimbai waterfront too mired in controversy...
Many years back when we were searching for an independent home we were shown a place over 900 sq feet , cheap and within our budget 25 years back actually , but there was a hitch, it was a shed that had been demolished made into a building , and Advocate Saldhana our mentor advised us not to take it art all, and accidentally bought a place in another fishing village Danda...at Danpada ,, tha we had to leave because of the 93 riots we sold this pugree house for peanuts as Hindus Muslims were totally polarized bu this politically generated hate .. and sectarian divide.
I bought Jean Marc my French friend here as I really did not know where to take him , and from here I took him to Juhu , Mr Ashok Tyagi Oshos office and back to Bandra.
Actually I go blank trying to write a poem on Jean Marcs pictures they are better as pictures than the poems I will add on a rainy day sitting at home ,,
Words is the only God given wealth I have , simple words , no bombast , no pompous words in the dictionary of my mind, I shoot pictures with my eyes shut , I can poetize pictures with my eyes shut too.
I walk barefeet but in and around Bandra and dangerous places like Chimbai also Behrampada I wear slippers , as you dont know what lurks here in this mound of despair, and I am a diabetic with a diminishing eyesight I close my eyes shooting pictures to be able to shoot darkness when my time arrives.
Jean Marc has in a way shot my despair and the sadness of my life , and positively I think all the shit lying on the beach , could be the state of my mind littered with words..I dont need to search for them , they are wanting to get out of my fragmented skewer like genius of a brain.. perhaps as pedestrian as the flesh on my feet.
my tired feet
lies the pain
in an un
birth to a
my head bleeds
a positive spam
my face book feeds
a picture is a
poem a poem
is a picture
not as a
but as a poet you
learn to read than
the imagery captive
in a picture
with your vision
you have freed
to jean marc gargantiel
my soul he heals
finally to pompous pedantic photographers their souls embedded in a camera club ..who keep on harping about having a vision to shoot pictures , a tip.. you need vision to see a picture too...after you have shot it.. ha ha
I am also happy that a lot of people delete me after adding me ,, I delete requests from young girls ..I dont know and dont wish to know , I delete requests from young kids I see their profile and they are on Facebook to promote their Religion as a cult I am not interested..I delete friends who unnecessarily tag me on their religious posts ..what are you trying to prove . that your tagging will make me as superfluously religious like you I am not interested ,,
I am added by people because I am a Shia , fine I add them back but than they get a bit heavy for me my Shiasm is not to attack anyone if someone does provoke or ridicules my customs beliefs I block him.
I am added by people as I promote the Peace Hope and Harmony of Sufism.. I am a Malang but those are my personal attributes ..My Sufism as a Malang is my path not my Destination .. I know my Destination..
So I am confused at times .. earlier the hijras transgender others added me as I was documenting the Hijra Ethos of India , but than I realized most of them were only adding me for the sexual aspect of the Hijras .. I began deleting those people and I have only the few serious ones I honor respect ,, I disabled my entire Hijra documentary of 20000 images from public view ,, Indians are not ready to understand the pain of this ethnicity .. shooting hijras is a fad .. I still shoot them only for myself ,,
I respect shoot all religion faith culture ,it fascinates me ,, so shooting Hinduism is my photo exercise but I would not be able to explain this to a Muslim from a hick town who added me because of me being a Muslim .
A Pakistani Shia will cerainly not understand why I shoot Hinduism it is part of the culture I live in.. so at times it is difficult to explain,, and than there are those who add me and when they see my Moharam pictures they report Abuse ,,So I am really surprised as a 62 year old senior citizen and a harmless one ,, why the fuck do you add me ,,,Why dont you read my profile ,, and I am not making my Facebook timeline into a only Shia site .. I am creating space for all segments ,,You want Shiasm go to Shia platforms dont use my timeline for creating an echo I dont need it ,,
Same with Sufis adherents ,,you do your stuff ,, do it on your timeline why tag me ,,I tag people because I shot their pictures at Ajmer and I cant post the same on Whats Up.. I hardly use Whats or even Instagram.. For me it is Flickr ,, than Ello.
So now you know why I delete certain friend requests ..and this is to simply not let your barbs injure my friends who are are from diverse caste and creed .
All my posts on cyberspace are for public but here on Facebook I mark it only for friends as there are more bigots racists on Facebook than anywhere on other social platforms.
I taught my grandchildren Photography made them shoot all religion , rituals culture Temples Churches ,,,so that what my parents, my photo gurus all Hindus gave me could percolate deep down into their inner angst too.
If I did hurt anyone unintentionally or even intentionally I am sorry..if I deleted or blocked you by mistake.