Saturday, April 21, 2018

My Name Is Arjun My Mother is a Leper





posted at Facebook

I first met Arjun and his mother Sharda on a wheel barrow being driven by a leper and I was returning from my the tennis court at Bandra Bazar Road December 16 2015 ,,
I dont know why Arjun seemed to be drawn by me and these were new beggars in my area I walked a few steps ahead and came back to them I gave them money and asked them from where they had come ,, they were from Karnataka mother and son and the man pushing their cart she said was her brother he looked street smart and there was something about him that mystically told me he was not her brother but was using them for his own misadventures .
But she Sharda the leper mother was not the pioneer of my leper story my biggest story was of Maria the beggar lady which I will talk abou in my next post .
As time passed I saw Arjun and his mother Sharda begging at the next lane of the bazar and in real bad shape I gave her a cotton saree and some clothes for Arjun,,
She told me that her brother had abandoned them and so with a friend called Nur a friend on Facebook I began helping her ,,
Arjun became my friend buddy he would light up each time I saw him I gave him biscuits sweets cake .
Arjuns story is scattered on Flickr on my street photography photo album..so it is not that I only shoot Muslim beggars .
Arjun and his mother Sharda also begged outside St Peter Church Bandra .
Months passed and quite recently I was shocked to see Arjuns mother Sharda begging alone I inquired about Arjun she told me that she had given Arjun to an ashram in Mangalore ,
But she said she would visit him.. and so very week I gave some ration to Arjuns mother till on day she disappeared forever ,,
Cut into my meeting with Maria my ongoing leper story Maria too had disappeared for many years her daughter Mary used to give me her news Mary begs at Bandra Bazar Road and both mother and daughter had converted to Christianity from Hinduism.. but their bad days did not go the Church could not perform the miracles of Jesus Christ in their lives .
Mary began wearing a head scarf outside a Sunni Jamatkhana and was hoping to become a Muslim soon but this is not the crux of my story but it has a connection with Arjuns mother ,,
The leper man Kadappa who used to draw Arjuns mother Shardas cart and had abandoned her was now taking Maria all over Bandra in a cart that has cost Rs 5000 .
I asked Kadappa what had happened to Arjuns mother Sharda ..Maria told me that a man had fallen in love with Sharda he had got her a job and was getting her treated for leprosy ..but a part of me did no believe it as Sharda was an upright women.
As I write this I shot videos of Maria a month back and now both Kadappa and Maria have disappeared too,
The will resurface and here is the catch you can run away from begging but begging won't run away from you ,
So when I am abused by people for shooting beggars and showing our country in bad light ,,I keep silent I dont hit back with the case of Asifa or Unnao or the Surat case .
I am human I shoot humanity ,,I did not give Gambhir Singh from Kumbong village a second chance I was an alcoholic for the large part of my life God pulled me out I was Prometheus bound to a devil in the booze bottle I broke the shackles ,.
It is the prayers of Gambhir Singhs family that touched God and using me as an instrument of his divine Mercy he saved Gambhir and bought cheer on the faces of all Manipuris.
He performed a miracle it took 40 years and put Manipur on a world map as a harbinger of hope love and peace.
This was the best story in such painful hard times of Kathua Unnao and Surat.
It gave hope Gambhir Singh has become a global hero every political party would want to endorse him as their winning candidate
I am not a mystic but mark my words.
I gave up drinking 20 years back I dont have the urge to drink..
But Gambhir Singh and the people of Manipur changed me with their love for an old man living in Bandra and I am shocked as I am not a Saint what I did even you would have done if you were in my place ,,
As a photographer who shoots people I put my camera to good use I dont have the money to go shoot Kashmir or nature trails I save every pnny to buy an air ticket to Khamakhya yes I am a Muslim but also a disciple of Goddess Khamakhya she calls me and I go to shoot the Ambubachi fair the Naga Sadhus Hijra Shaman and Aghoris ... I might take Diksha as an Aghori I dont know ,,,without changing my basic inner ethos .
I will do it to shoot the Aghoris I am documenting for last two years .
First year at Khamkhaya I did not enter her Shrine being a diabetic I cannot stand in the line for 36 hours ,,
But in 2017 she connected me to Niku Sarma scion of a Panda family they gave me a room to stay food and took care of me without taking a single dime from me through Niku and his brother Abhijeet she called me into the Shrine .the moment I entered in I went into a trance and fainted ..Nikus friend bodily lifted me out of the Shrine ,,, now you can interpret this they way you want for me Khamakhya is not my religion but my cultural inheritance and so I hardly add Muslims to my timeline as they would never understand this feature of my life ,,,I dont want to shock them as most Muslims dont come to terms with my head cutting during Moharam or my whirling emotions as a Sufi Malang.
Perhaps I dont know this part of my Sufism might hurt the sentiments of conservative Shias I am after all a Shia born Muslim .
But it is the love of Manipur people I opened the floodgates of my Facebook personal space ,,
If you feel shocked by my views if it antagonizes you feel free to leave ..once the Gambhir story dies down you will not find any meaning in your attachment to me.
Come 2019 I will leave to live among my Naga Sadhu friends on the banks of the Ganges Ardh Kumbh Allahabad .
Come Moharam I will be bleeding on the streets of Hyderabad to the chant of Ya Hussain Ya Hussain.
I am Nothing ..you your love people of Imphal Manipur added something to my Nothingness ..with your holitic love I was blessed ...a Sufi man in a Lamas dress .
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. Rumi

Lalbaugh Chya Raja Mukut Darshan 2019

I am perhaps the only Muslim shooting Lalbaugh Chya Raja for over 20 years or more ,,thanks to Mr Sudhir Salvi head honcho of the Mandal.....