When I was a little child growing up at Wodehouse Road ..my Hindu house maid Aiee would take us to the Cuffe Parade narrow stretch of a beach,,, and this place would be crowded as a Naga Sadhu standing on one leg ,, on a swing had dug holes in the sand and had turned salt water into sweet water miraculously ,, this was my earliest encounter with Naga Sadhus and my fascination for Hindu mysticism asceticism ,
I never forgot him and than in 2004 I set out alone to shoot the Nasik Kumbh at Ramkundh I made several trips shoot the Shahi Snan .... But it was Trimbakeshwar that had me hooked forever in the same year ,, it was here I met a simple Naga Sadhu Shri Vijay Giri Maharaj 13 Madi Juna Akhara ..I shot the Trimbakeshwar Shahi Snan ..we stayed in touch as he lived in his Ashram near Film City Goregaon.
Thanks to him I began documenting the Maha Kumbh Allahabad 2013 .. I shot extensively ,and it was here during the Basant Panchami Shahi Snan I shot His Holiness Swami Avdesh Anandji.. I met a lot of Godmen including Chandraswamiji. and others ,, I met the Godman of Photography Mr Raghu Rai here at the Maha Kumbh ,, he shot me I shot him.
I shot the Maha Kumbh and returned to Mumbai and was than invited in 2015 to the Nasikh Kumbh Trimbakeshwar by my Naga Guru,, here too during the Shahi Snan I shot Swami Avdesh Anandji who was surprised that dressed in saffron that I was a Muslim monk.. he gave me his card with his picture that I hung around my neck to shoot the Ujjain Kumbh 22 April Shahi Snan .. and this time I took a dip in the River Shipra after my Naga Guru..I took his permission to stay back at the Ramghat and was lucky to shoot Swami Avdesh Anandji taking the Holy Dip along with his horde of followers .
We spoke for a short while and he said keep up the good work.
I was invited for the Ardh Kumbh Hardwar but I could not make it ,, I could not run away from my work or my responsibilities ,,and this love of photography serves as sweet nectar of a hobby,, nothing more nothing less .. no money no fame no gain ..
But it is my way of promoting Hindu Muslim amity ,, Oneness in India as my mothercountry ,,
Without my Naga Guru it would have not been possible living in the same tent with the Naga Sadhus ,, and sadly all Naga Sadhus are not educated understanding as my Guru ,, I met some bigoted Naga Sadhus too ,, but despite their overt aggression they did not intimidate me at all .
My Guru left for the second Shahi Snan 9 May ,, he knew I could not make it ,,he hoped I come for the last one . I shot over 5000 images 60 videos so it hardly matters if I dont get a chance to go.. but I have one wish to shoot Maha Shivratri with my Naga Guru at Junagadh ,,,
I dont know if I will live long for the next Maha Kumbh ,, but I enjoyed every moment till it lasted ,,, and my Sadhu imagery has nothing to do with photography ,, it is my way of telling the story of the greatest event in the Hindu world ,,
And forgive me I still think neither Mr Akhilesh Yadav Or Mr Azam Khan ..The Maharashtra CM or the Madhya Pradesh CM can really hold the Kumbh Mela it needs a professional event management unit and a very strong international disaster management team.
The Make in India at our Kumbh Melas never works ,, for more reasons than one ,, I also feel sorry for the foreign tourists photographers that are shabbily treated by the authorities and others cheated robbed ,, it hurts ,,
Devo Atithi Bhava is merely cosmetic during the Kumbh Mela even we Indian photographers sometimes are treated like a piece of shit ,,,only media gets away laughing all the way to the bank.