Friday, July 3, 2015
These marble engraved reminders give you a glimpse of the History of Bandra Bazar Town Market , totally neglected , humiliated , no respect for the past or the heritage of Bandra ,.
Its really sad in front of these two marble reminders are vegetable stalls gunny sacks dirt and filth ,, nobody really cares , the residents old new are not bothered ,,
I hope Advocate Ashish Shelar takes note , for the Congress Corporator .. he hardly comes this end of Bandra ,
This is perhaps the dirtiest place in Bandra Bazar Road , and the fish market is held on pillars and will soon fall on those who come here to buy fish.. total neglect apathy ,, thanks to the Bandra Municipality , the ineptitude , and lack of vision and foresight .
I mean the local representatives barring one have lived here yet they too seem to be helpless , they are busy adding beauty to where their vote banks exist , the roads were repaired but in such a shoddy manner that it is an eyesore .
The residents really dont care , if there was some will within them this situation would have never been there in the first place ..the youth of this area .. they are listless most were lackeys of the decimated Congress Party ,,,and none of the political parties not even the erstwhile BJP that gave a death blow in both the elections really care. ..
But I know the day Prime Ministe Modiji comes to visit BJP Mumbai President Advocate Ashish Shelar this place will transform into another chapter from Swach Bharat ..I can say this with moral conviction..or I will eat my words , the BJP Bhakts , volunteers even the residents will leave no stone un turned to welcome our dynamic Prime Minister .
In the meantime we suffer , with the open drains garbage dumps and chicken trucks ,that have no mercy for the residents living here ..
No ladies toilets and sadly this area was a total Congress fortress and the Congress party did nothing 15 years they vilified the ethos of this beautiful East Indian Gaothan.
Sadly those who are elected from this area hardly love this part of Bandra ,,,I came to Bandra Bazar 25 years back but I love Bandra it has given me peace hope humanity ,, so when I see Bazar Road going to the dogs it hit me hard ,, as a photographer as a poet and as senior citizen..
He sells coriander leaves , hara dhaniya at the Bandra Bazar and hardly talks to anyone , he is a disheartened man a very lonely man..when it rains heavily he covers himself with his umbrella.
I have been observing him for several years without stalking him ,once he has sold all his stuff , he comes to De Monte Street and has his frugal meal and goes to sleep outside a shop with downed shutters ,, I have shot him in this position too.
I feel sad for him , thousands of miles away from his hometown in Uttar Pradesh he came to Bandra to chase his dreams ..he is not very friendly , hates making conversation so I have only few words relationship with him I buy the coriander from him for my Java sparrows ...
Does he miss his family or have the abandoned him ..and when I saw him sitting like this I could not resist taking this pensive shot ,, a shot that tells so much of his lifes struggle , his penury , he is not doing well in life but I think he has firmly decided he will not beg..
When Hon Akhilesh Yadav invites all the Bollywood Bigwigs for his glamour and glitzy show in Saifai .. will he ever have time to think of the people of his State enslaved in Mumbai.. doing menial jobs ,,jobs that the Marathi Manoos will never do.. the Marathi Manoos with due respect wants to be in the Police Income Tax Sale Tax ..so the void is being filled by the North Indian migrant , he is the wheels that moves Mumbai.
His contribution to the growth progress of Mumbai as a commercial hub cannot be ignored .. his services in every domestic field a necessity ..
Many of these Migrants colloquially sometimes even derogatorily are called Bhaiyyas ,, they are spread out as laudry men , washing clothes , ironing clothes , vegetable sellers , bhangarwalas ,you will find a lot of them in MTNL once they were linesmen now they dabble with Internet wires ..at street corners ..
They sell fish that they buy from Bhaucha Dhakka , operate on a mobile phone , they sell newspapers , once Parsi Dairy farm had Bhaiyyas in their blue shirts working out from their office at Marine Lines ,,
Tailors , embroidery workers , carpenters , fruitsellers , are mostly from UP and the hordes of beggars that come from North India trying their luck out in the streets of Mumbai.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh has never done anything for the people of their State working as migrants in a heartless city like Mumbai ,, happy to have got rid of them..
Than I say a silent prayer for my Dad Mohomed Shakir who ran away from Lucknow at the age of 15 .. living in the slums of Kurla he gave us a Hope .. he made sure we would never have to return to Lucknow ,, He made us Pucca Mumbaikars and he so loved Mumbai that he is buried besides my mother in the beloved soil of Mumbai ..at Rehmatabad Shia cemetery Mazgaon.
''गर्व आहे मला, मी मराठी असल्याचा''.. yes this soil this air we breathe made us Mee Marathi too.
Once this was their home,today it has changed , they have become marginalized by time and space ,,fragmented exiled race ..their heritage ancestry erased ..their spiritual heirlooms demolished defaced ..for those whom they trusted voted to power year after year..betrayed taken for a ride by those whom they welcomed into their gaothans embraced ,,the bunglows gone , the paddy fields gone..nothing left tattered memories of yore ..just hope in Our Father and Hail Mary full of Grace .
The Church distanced itself .. from the earthly pitfalls the hardships sufferings they faced ..still standing tall the East Indian pride ..bound to humility within and on the surface ..a peace loving community full of praise ,,dreams that they chase ..says Jesus holding up his arms .. Trust In Me Always from here I will take you to my Fathers mansions with lots of rooms better place ,,
Everyone needs a coach. It doesn't matter whether you're a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player.
While I was taking my rounds at the MET Grounds Bandra Reclamation , the weather absolutely endearing , Mr Surendra Pawar invited me to the tennis court for a round of Tennis and so a racket in hand I began to learn the fine art and nuances of the game I had never played as a child or later as an adult ,,
While I was playing this 83 year old senior citizen Mr Dhome was watching us from behind the fence , he too was fascinated seeing me play , so to ease his curiosity Mr Pawar invited him in , made him get over his surprise and fear handed him the racket and I shot these few frames ,, Mr Dhome 83 is a retired bureaucrat who was a champion in other sports but had never played tennis in his life ,, so Mr Pawar our coach has decided to teach us both .. I was drenched to the bone playing tennis , but after the game I continued my rounds and headed home after 4 km.
So Mr Surendra Pawar is giving us- senior citizens a chance to become young .. and get back into the greater game of life with fresh zeal and vigor ,,
Perhaps she was a Hindu ,, why she converted or changed her religion I dont know , neither did I ask her ,.I dont believe in conversions if it does not change the quality of life morally socially and spiritually , and the other two Hindus Maria and another beggar lady I shot at Bandra Reclamation are in dire need of help.. and I think more than help they require counselling..Sadly there are no Jesus in modern times .. you will hardly find a priest healing people like Gulab on the road , trying to exorcise her inner demons ,, hunger thirst ,,a better life. And it is the same in Muslim society too the Mullah will pass a beggar outside the Mosque a thousand times but will he bend down touch the beggar find out why he is miserable with life ,, Never .
As a documentarist it saddens me , the government hardly cares , the only way they know to remove poverty is to remove beggars from the city ,, there is no solution other than this.
Outside ever mosque during Ramzan there are hordes of beggars , those who are not beggars become beggars during Ramzan the only time when a Muslim heart allows compassion to seep in.. after Ramzan it will be back to giving coins and stinginess .
Every religious place has beggars outside ,, keeping God as the witness they beg invoke plead from his followers.
I interviewed Gulab but she is incoherent , inaudible, and she lives in a shanty at Lal Mitti .. and if you see the shanties that have recently sprouted outside Rang Sharda Bandra Reclamation you will be shocked , it is a slum dwelling of ragpickers, with mounds of sacks filled with garbage I did not have the heart to shoot them and see them uprooted in the rains ,, it is the job of those who are in charge of seeing law and order , but than cops allegedly go where there is honey in the pot ,, Bandra is no different ,,
Walk up the skywalk at Bandra , drugaddicts homeless are living comfortably and Mumbai is a city that gives shelter to all .
Outside the Bandra Station , you will find beggars who are drugaddicts , the cops look the other way.. nobody cares .. Indian Railways is the most laidback institution without futuristic vision.. only serving lolipops .. and asking kids to clean the Ville Parle Station is derliction of duty ,, sponsoring a station by a college and beautifying it is fine ,, but making kids do another persons job .. is criminal.
And there is another issue during Ganesh and Durga Visarjan all the pandal immerse their gods and go away and schoolkids have to clean the beaches , with so much money that come from donations to the Pandal why dont they ear mark a certain amount fir the cleanliness of the beaches beats me ..We all love Lord Ganesha and Goddess Durga but we love our city too and she deserves a better deal......why dont the Bhakts from various Pandal come and clean the beach next day after immersion .. why school kids and college kids .
Well I am saying what is left unsaid inside me ,, and I know if there was a a Jesus Gulab would not be begging on the streets of Bandra .
And this is not an easy shot on the Canon 60 D ..with a telly lens , but Nerjis soon to be 4 knows the camera like her ABC textbook. she is overconfident with my camera and than she tells me to see if the picture is OK on the monitor ,, and she goes for the next shot .
I was cooped up all day at home I decided to take both Nerjis and Zinnia to the MET Tennis Courts Bandra Reclamation,, and they were excited like hell .. Marziya was fasting her 3 rd fast so she stayed at home ,,
They played some tennis than I bought them home ,,
I could never get her name right but I have been shooting her feeding the stray cats in the alleys and back lanes of rustic Bandra ..moving about with her cart of fish .. and I have seen her in the Bandra fish market haggling with the koli women ..she does not pickup leftovers but buys fresh fish for the stray cats...
She is a Goan married to an East Indian.
The stray cats can smell her from a mile .. and come rushing towards her the Christian spirit of Compassion fills the air and the hungry cats consider this lady their Savior .
I spoke to her and she was grumbling that the few who gave her money to feed the cats have now become stingy..and yet there are kind folks who help her give her money..and she manages to feed them every day ,, every season.
These are people that are the humility and pride of our cherished Bandra .. talking care of others ..
Than there is a Gujrati lady too who feeds the cats ,,
Bandra has some people that media needs to talk about add humanity to their stories instead of running after Bollywood celebrities and nowadays even the waiters at Bandra restaurants consider Roast a bad word .. it has been deleted from most of the menus..
There are all kinds of Muslims in Mumbai,good bad ugly , but by and large the senior Muslims , although old , still work.. and I have seen many working as hawkers , taxi drivers and selling tea , but they are happy and content ,, You will hardly find them complaining ,,and till their hands legs are in working condition , they are not willing to retire .
They lead by their humility , their simplicity ,for them work is Worship and they stay away politics or religious discourse ,,they have cordial relationships with everyone , you wont ever hear them shout abuse or hurt someone ,, instead being poor they help those who are poorer than them.
I dont know his name but he allows me to shoot him ..I have never chatted with him.. but yet it seems I know him very well..he comes to my building to pick up school kids , but is very endearing and cordial with everyone ,,
Mr Shelar is soft spoken man, over the years I have known him he maintains a very low profile , a great devotee of Shri Saibaba he has inherited his humility humanity from this great Saint .
Mr Shelar helps the poor the needy , despite his son holding a high position in the BJP hierarchy , it has not affected senior Mr Shelar , he will commute by bus , and walk when necessary, I have immense respect for both senior Shelar Sab and his wife I treat them both as my own parents .
Mrs Shelar mother of Advocate Ashish Shelar has a humble disposition like her husband , when she sees me she will inquire about my health my diabetes , and my grandchildren..
In my entire life I have never seen such humility ,on feasts days she will send sweets to our house and ..they touch everyone holistically ,, and I think it is these being human qualities that thy have bequeathed to their son..Advocate Ashish Shelar , today the distressed Muslims who once ran to Ms Priya Duts office can be found near Shlelar Sabs office and they know he will help them in their need ..
I am not a political person I am a peoples photographer I shoot faces and faces are textbooks of life ,the struggles the hardships , and honesty integrity endurance that I saw etched on senior Shelar Sabs face when I took this shot almost taking him by surprise ,, as Senior Shelar and his humble wife stay away from the limelight completely.
This is my tribute to a noble man a great Marathi Manoos .
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