Thursday, September 17, 2015
I am always lucky as most of the volunteers know me by my face and my attire and they know I document their beloved Raja and I could not enter from any gate , the cops who are from outstation hick towns are totally clueless and over cautious for them it is all about bandobast ,,most of them very rough and rude and brash..
As I came near the last gate a volunteer told the cop who would not let me enter I showed him my Press Card too..to let me in.. and I began shooting pictures of the humongous crowds waiting in a huge serpentine line for Darshan..I entered the main hall a few feet away from the Deity and chose a corner that was away from the crowding folks I hung on to a bamboo scaffolding I shot all my images and video from here ,, there was no moving space at all. I did not carry my bag,, I just kept a 55-250 lens an extra battery extra cards in my waiscoat pocket ,, I never got to use the telly ,, and I did not want to shoot from the Press Enclosure at all.
These are some images I shot I hope you like them.. it was tough shooting Lalbagh Chya Raja ,,I let him compose my shots ,, Sometimes I shut my eyes and let him shoot himself too..I think we call it Selfie Mode ,,
Hee Shan Konachi ,.. Karokhar Lalbagh Chya Raja Chi
My Lalbagh Chya Raja Darshan travelogue begins with my visit to Hemant Sawants shop, a very humble simple man , a low profile but excellent photographer and I dont think anyone shoots the Raja as he does on Visarjan day , he is highly innovative ,last be bought a 40 feet ladder guys holding it while he shot the Raja passing by his shop, sometimes he would sit on the old bridge from wee hours of morning to shoot Raja exiting from his royal gates ,,
He was the first guy to start 3D prints give it to boys to sell it for him on commission , he is always helping the boys make some extra money during Ganesh Chaturthi,,
We have been friends from the day 15 years back when I began shooting Lalbagh Chya Raja ,a visit to his shop is must , once he sent me on his terrace to shoot the Raja , his teenager daughter is a bird photographer and helps him at the studio with his endearing wife ,,they will offer me tea or batatwada and I love this Marathi Manoos ..he has done great documentary work ages back with the Andaman tribes , but he does not boast or show off , his technical knowledge of photography printing processing is remarkable ,,he is busy when Raja hits town that is Lalbagh.
We only meet once a year ,,couple of times , I could not go to the Raja Mukh Darshan and Press Shoot because of my leg injury I missed it , but this morning I had decided injury or no injury I will go to shoot the Raja ,,come what may and I did ,,I am incorrigibly unstoppable when I shoot Lalbagh Chya Raja ,, I shoot him through the myriad moods of his loved ones ,,I try to read his mind as a Mystic and now even his volunteers who were once brash arrogant have tamed down I was lucky I met someone who helped me last Visarjan too ,,he gave me coconuts offered to Raja and the moment the Committee members saw me they all waved out to me for they know that there is one crazy Muslim man who walks barefeet with the Raja from Lalbagh till Do Tanki.. dressed in saffron...
This morning I decided to pay homage to the greatest icon of Mumbai Lalbagh Chya Raja Remover of Obstacles and the most crowded Ganesha Pandal in Mumbai.
People wait for hours to get a Darshan and offer floral tributes money gold and silver ..
I was dressed in saffron and with some difficulty managed to get entry ,,i caught a corner and stood there shooing stills as well as 3 videos ,, the Committee members saw me and waved out to me from the stage,but it was one of the most crowded days today,,they gave me a few coconuts and I moved out shot Ganesh Gully Chya Raja , finally Tejukaya Chya Raja and just returned home ,,
This is my new set at Flickr.All part of my Hope and Hindutva 66000 Hindu Blogs as a message of Universal Peace,,
Once upon a time they were much in demand as the loban smoke was one way of invoking Allah into homes shops and establishments , even Hindu shopkeepers allowed them to come in fumigate their shops with loban incense smoke.
They got a few coins in return, and they dressed like bawas , this was the only job they knew , than times changed ,, this was shot at Mount Mary Fair and the roller coaster guy and other game guys kept calling him,,, first no footfalls no business since morning and the other more important reason to get rid of the blood sucking over friendly mosquitoes ,, whether you are a Muslim Hindu or Christian they see no difference ,, what they want to tell under the skin within our blood we are one yet we fucking end up killing each other .. we kill each other more than nature or God kill us .
I hardly see the lobanwala anymore once they came out like bedbugs from the woodworks ,, now they have disappeared gone extinct here in Bandra ,, you might find a lot of these migrants in Muslim areas of Mumbai.
Next time I will shoot his video bring him home to you,,, without smoke without fire ,,
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