Sunday, September 6, 2015

Shooting Portraits At The Kumbh Mela Nasikh Trimbakeshwar

If you are a face shooter like me , you will enjoy the Sadhugram , most of the Naga Sadhus dont mind ,, if you speak nicely to them  .. but mind you there are hot headed ones too ,,so be careful of your person and your camera ,,,

I did not have any problem only one Naga Sadhu at the Kund blasted me he was naked and I only shot his face  . but I take it in my stride .. I dont get upset I dont argue I am on their turf and they are the ones calling the shots here but when I am with my Guru even the naked Naga Sadhu will hardly open his mouth lol ..

All in all if you have not shot the Kumbh do it ,, here at Nasikh a few hours drive from Mumbai it is a great opportunity ,, dont miss it ,,

Nasikh Kumbh Mela 2015 Ramkund And Tapovan

As I had nothing to do on the day before the Shahi Snan at Trimbakeshwar I decided to come to Ramkund and shoot Tapovan the Sadhugram a few kilometers away Ramkund at Panchvati..

This is my new set series at Flickr ,,shot on Canon 7D

The End of My Nasikh Kumbh Mela Trimbakeshwar 2015 Trip

In a short while I will upload the pictures of my short trip of a few hours at Ramkundh and it was nostalgic for I began shooting the first Kumbh of my life at Panchvati and I am still connected with a photo journalist Neerah Bhanje from Aurangabad  till date ,, He guarded my camera bag while I dozed off at the banks of the Godavari we shot the Shahi Snan together 12 years back and we have never met after that simply connected on phone and Facebook.

I dont know if the Kumbh touches anyone as insanely as it has touched the poetry of my effervescent soul..but after 12 years I realized that Ramkund Tapovan dont have that mysterious hold on me like Trimbakeshwar simply because if I was born a Hindu I am dead certain I would have been a Shiva Bhakt ,,there was no escaping that cosmic circle of my far fetched dreams as a poet as a mystic.

My first call from Trimbakeshwar the moment I reached there was to Mrs Punam Sinha a staunch Shiva Bhakt she has been to all the 12 Jyotilings and I call her Devi I am connected to Mr Shatrughan Sinhas family since early 80s ,, and another powerful Shiva bhakt is one of my ex bosses now estranged ..

So back to Ramkund and Tapovan.. I took a auto from Ramkund to Tapovan I met the adventurous bubbly high spirited travel blogger Rutavi Mehta my Facebook Twitter friend she was shocked to see me dressed as a Sadhu barefeet ,,and it was the first time I missed my beggars bowl that I ate food in and begged with the Naga Sadhus I had given to a bigger crippled beggar than me .

I met two photographers young lads from Thane we shot together till I lost them in the crowds when I took a dip in the Tapovan...

I shot the Sadhu on a platform.. he does not touch the ground ,, he will come down when his penance gets over this Diwali ,,

But as it was getting late I took a bus from Nasikh Bus depot back to my beloved Trimbakeshwar..

I shot this series on my Canon 7 D that lies idle I find it too bulky with the vertical grip but it helps my damaged right hand ..

And after this series gets over I have my backlog of Kurla street pictures that I kept on hold when I left to shoot the Nasikh Kumbh Mela .

After I returned from the Kumbh I shot the Novena of Our Lady of Velankani at Bandra Bazar Road ..

Happy Janmashtami And Remembering Prof BW Jatkar

Every morning I would get two calls one from Mr KG Maheshwari and the other from Prof BW Jatkar both no more part of this crazy world .. they talked photography ,, and now both their phones have gone dead forever .
On Gokul Ashtami day Prof BW Jatkar would call me home , give me breakfast made by his wife than we both took a cab to Tilak Bridge ,, I had to bring a guy from my shop to carry Mr Jatkars camera bag , and he would wear one of his Peak Caps most of the Caps I gave him as I had a large collection to be used in films ,,
We headed to Ranade Road near Ideal shot the ladies Govindas , and Prof Jatkat took me to a house facing the Govinda ,, almost everyone knew this doyen of Photography at Dadar and a Pucca Marathi Manoos ,,he had many disciples students but we had a cosmic relationship I was his staunch supporter he was a kindered soul and a great teacher , he taught me to shoot seagulls , he taught me a lot taking me to various color labs , he introduced me to Mahindar Patil ,, he liked my BW that were hand printed by Satyendra Dalvi,, he introduced me to Swastik Color Lab Bhai Hune ,I met a lot of photographers from FIP AIIPC due to him he made me a life member of both the Institutions spoke about me to Mr Benu Sen ,, through him I met Bhupesh C Little and through Bhupesh I met his dad the dynamic PC Little , I met Anil Risal Singh and than he made me contribute my BW prints to the various Salons , so all three of us Kg Maheshwariji Jatkar Sab and me talked Salon till I opted out being hit by a viral bug called the Blog,. The Blog pulled me out of a bottle of camera crabs and I distanced myself from the Print World and The Salon.
But as long as he lived Prof BW Jatkar was my mentor my guide , I understood his inner pain , and it was humongous , this multi talented man.. without him and Maheshwariji I would have not touched the soul of photographic humility ,, and lest I forget the person who introduced me to my club PSI and to all these veterans doyens was my other guru Shreekant Malushte
Mr Malushte too took me to Dadar Shivaji Park to shoot the various Dahi Handis ,,and than in 2008 I accidentally landed with the Talwadi Govinda Mandal and shot the world record braking 9 tier Dahi Handi of Mr Pratap Sarnaik and met the dashing dynamic Purvesh Pratap Sarnaik a youth icon and as humble go getter like his dad ,, we became great friends he introduced me to Shree Aditya Thackeray sab.. one of the greatest young politicians and a lover of art and photography ,Purvesh came home to meet Marziya who was a about 2 and shot him and his friends ..Purvesh was kind enough to come to my sons wedding ,, thank you Rockstar ,,
So Gokul Ashtami has some great memories .. memories that come back in full force ,,now with the injury to my leg it is tough going to Thane but Purvesh never forgets to invite me and his friend Govinda Shridhar Naik who takes care of me ..
Pratap Sarnaik Sab would proudly introduce me to the crowd praising me as a Muslim Man who promotes Hindutva as a Message of Universal Peace Thank you Pratap Sir Bhabiji and Vihang.. for your love to this beggar poet from Bandra ,,
Jathaha Kamsavadarthaya Bhoobharotharanayacha|
Kouravanam Vinashaya Dhaityanam Nidhanaya Cha ||
Pandavanam Hitharthaya Dharamasamsthapanaya Cha|
GruhanaArghyam Maya Dhatham Devakya Sahitho Hare ||

Without Him I Could Have Not Shot The Kumbh

Perhaps I would have shot it like any other photographer , but my Naga Guru let me re live the Kumbh made me feel experience the Kumbh like a Hindu ,,and I am proud of my cultural inheritance it gives strength my to my own religious beliefs and spirituality ,respecting my countryman's religion and promoting it as a message of peace .. for all.

I would never shoot anything that hurt the sensibilities of a religion I shot or the purpose my photography would have been doomed,, I shot the world of the Naga Sadhus I tried to merge my inner angst with those who surrounded me , gave me shelter , food to eat and took care of me ,,if I wanted black tea I was given without hesitation , one of the deaf mute disciple of my Guru cleaned my leg wound and massaged my tired legs ,,they went out of their way to serve me , they touched my feet with reverence and I would tell them to only touch the Gurus feet and at my Gurus perfumed garden there were simple guys and well read Acharyas Holy people that would come to see him , engineers politicians ,he never asked for money ,, once I remember a very big philanthropist my Gurus disciple gave my Guru a blank cheque during the 2003 Nasikh Kumbh.. my Guru politely refused but the philanthropist would not budge , he said give a figure , finally my guru took money for a sack of sugar as tea was served constantly as guests arrived ,

So I met this simple teacher now a Naga Sadhu by chance in 2003 and we never meet unless I have some work at Film City I would drop in at his Ashram.. and he would like it chat with me ,,blessing me ..and than I wonder the world the media the politicians that uses Hindus the Muslims as a punching bag..for their own evil agenda ,,,and there were many in my own community that mistook me some called me a Hindu Shia derogatorily and I felt proud of my Hindu culture and my birth as a Shia Muslim..

My Guru is a man who taught me nothing about religion ,. I hardly know anything about Hindu scriptures but he taught me to be attached to the soil that made me , he taught me to be human and I document his faith his religiosity as passionately as my own..

.Guroraadi Anaadischa
Guruh Parama Daivatam
Guroh Parataram Naasti
Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.

Meaning: The Guru Has Neither Beginning Nor End; The Guru Is The Ultimate God (In The Visible Form). There Is Nothing Beyond This Guru Principle, And I Salute Such A Guru.

.Na Guror Adhikam Tatwam
Na Guror Adhikam Tapaha
Tatwa Gnyaanaat Param Naasti
Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.

Meaning: There No Greater Principle Than The Guru; There Is No Greater Penance Than The Guru; There Is No Greater Knowledge Than Meditation On Such A Guru. I Salute Such A Guru.

Reminiscing The Soul Of My Shortcomings Ashura Hyderabad ''

my new post ,, at Facebook

While I was dabbling in photography I had blinkers on my eyes,, I started my photgraphy with the Film era mostly shooting my stuff on Ilford Delta ASA 100 I had bought the entire stock from Vibgyor Raju Bhai and some of the stock from Standard Photo Store .. for color I used Velvia 50 or Provia , I would take old expired films from Richard Kelep he was kind enough to give them free at Kodak and with the help of maestro BW Jatkar I would experiment and all the labs knew me I shot trigger happily ,, but I shot ,,I knew Mazda Color Art Vishal Bhende ,,Fuji Foto Art ,Huzefer Rassiwala, Mahindra Patil.. and many more places including Bhai Humne who did my printing ,, but sometimes got my rolls developed through friends .
So keeping this traditionalist form of photography I did not succumb or get seduced by the video at all I just did not want to learn to shoot video.. 7 years I would ask people to shoot my granddaughter Marziyas videos ,, I wanted to keep her growing up as a memory but I did not know how to shoot videos at there is just one video of Marziya at my You Tube Channel when she was 3 month old ,, learning to say Dada Dada Dada .meaning Grandpa.
I was inspired to shoot videos and I say this with gratitude watching Fo Paris my friend Francois who had joined me and Boaz Rottem to shoot Ashura Moharam in Hyderabad 2014 ,,, I would watch him taking videos but I was helpless I just shot stills or I would ask someone to take a video on my mobile phone ,,
But once I returned from Hyderabad I decided I will learn shooting video on my mobile and I made mistakes , I did not know the basics I shoot as is where is without ever editing ,, and I shot videos of the Marriammen Feast , but what got me hooked was shooting the Bandra Talao earcleaners , my most viewed videos on You Tube ,, than I earnestly began shooting Garbage and the hapless Municipal Conservancy staff foot soldiers of Modijis Swach Bharat without gloves masks or safety shoes ,, I gradually began shooting stories the flavor of beggary I shot videos at Ajmer Urus .. and today I have over 375 videos over 200000 views ,
I wish I had shot the hijras I documented ,, I wish I had shot the videos of the Bomb blasts that I shot , I wish I had shot my Guru KG Maheshwariji on video.. and so many unfulfilled wishes and I wish I had shot videos of Mr Rajesh Khanna at home , when he played like a grandfather with Marziya and Nerjis ,, he could not do without them .. Bala would call me please bring Marziya ..and both my grandkids have not forgotten Uncle Rajesh Khanna,,I did not take his video when I made his last tuxedo for Balkis Havel fan ad .. I shot his stills when he was trying out his clothes ,, I did not shoot a video of Lal Bagh Chya Raja I shot for years ,, and his march towards the seas ..
I wish I had shot videos of the various possession Hazris , exorcism by the Malangs I visited I wish I had asked someone to shoot my initiation into the Malang fold in 2011 with my Belgian friend ,,
And I am blogging this impromptu at Facebook I will copy and paste to Flickr ,, Now every morning I shoot a garbage video.. I will shoot it till I die standing on my feet ,, near the garbage dump at Bandra Bazar Road I would not mind being buried there near the site of the ladies toilet .. the Bhumi Pujan was done 3 months back by Advocate Ashish Shelar my friendly MLA .. but than it wont be possible as I have decided to gift all the spares in my body to the beggars I shoot I want some beggar kid to see with my eyes , feel the pain of Hussain with my heart .. my brain its fragmented splintered genius ,, lol ..I wish most of all if I could give him my tears ,, the only precious liquid in my armory of this flesh.'
And this is nothing but a tribute to both my friends Boaz who shot the slums , the dhobhi ghat , Moharam in Mumbai .. and we got along pretty well and to Francois I could not accompany him to shoot the Bibi Ka Alm a thought that kills me a million times with guilt ,,
Yes I am shooting amateur videos you can feel what I feel.. and partly see what I could not see..
In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that light becomes this art. ~Rumi,

Documenting The Nasikh Kumbh Trimbakeshwar 2015

After I has completed the 29 August Shahi Snan I walked about 4 km like the rest to reach Sadhugram where I stayed with my Naga Guru Shree Vijay Giri Maharaj Triveni Juna Akhara , I tried very hard to get a lift from the passing official vehicles as the road was closed to traffic from both ends ,, the bus depot was shifted 6 km out of Trimbakeshwar ,you could take a bus from there to go back to Nasik outskirts ,, I think all vehicles were stopped from entering or leaving Nasikh city ,,
When I reached Sadhugram I was in no mood to have lunch.. and I had two batata wadas all morning ,,
One of the disciples of my Guru ,,a politician from BJP Vindobhai was leaving for Mumbai I decided to leave with him he had a Scorpio car ..on my return from Trimbakeshwar kund I shot the Nagas living a Sadhugram and once I upload it my Trimbakeshwar documentary of the 2015 Kumbh Mela ends .
To reach Mumbai it took us over 11 hours by car I reached home at midnight after taking a rickshah from Jogeshwari..Netaji Vinodbhai was kind enough to drop me till there ,,
My train ticket return was for 30 August and it could not be cancelled it was bought on Tatkal.. but I saved a day ,,,
I had shot over 2800 images in this segment ,,after this I will upload my pictures of Ramkund and Tapovan..
I am still nursing a deep injury on my leg it was aggravated by the long walks at the Kumbh barefeet ,,