There is something about a genuine smile…it touches your heart…touches your soul and some-how makes you feel incredibly good ! Nothing can touch your heart more than witnessing a pure smile...n even more so if it’s meant for you...!
I have shot a lot on the streets...candid shots...n over a period of time a few images just stayed back with me...in my heart n mind for various reasons n became my favorite photos!
Each of these photos always tells me-”Life is beautiful…”
I am putting below three of my favorite shots and the small stories behind them…!
The woman at the crossing...
There are certain bonds which are inexplicable…! Relationships that are meant for, and restricted to a certain time n place…Like, of this old woman at the crossing n mine! I never thought of her once I passed that crossing, but once there I always looked for her! As if this bond was meant to last for that five minutes of waiting at that crossing every evening.
She often found her way to the rickshaw I would be traveling in, wearing a torn sari n a beautiful smile, extending her hand for money…she never asked for it, there was something very warm about her, I never could ever think of her as a beggar; it was always as if I owed her something from another lifetime…When I put that one rupee coin in her hand, she would place her hand over my head …blessing me from her heart. She would smile n I smiled along with her…
We never talked but she always seemed to be able to read my moods even in my silence n accordingly her hand stayed on my head, just a wee bit longer when I was distressed by something!Mumbai is an expensive city n certainly very difficult to afford when it comes to genuine emotions…but in her I found a way of purchasing genuine blessings everyday for as less as just One Rupee…! I might sound selfish, but am no more the man I was in my little town, n like many others started believing in "value for money"...…But then somehow I feel she would bless me even if I didn’t give her that coin-she seemed like a good soul...but I didn’t want to test that…!
One day she saw me holding my camera and asked me to shoot a pic of hers…I was mildly surprised but asked her to give a nice smile…she asked me what’s a nice smile ? I couldn’t answer. She laughed …I shot it …and it did make a great picture!
I eventually bought a car and changed my traveling route. It’s a strange truth that the people we meet depend on the route we take in our lives!
I never met her after that.
But still whenever I look at this pic I smile-The photograph of a simple woman at the crossing…with a gorgeous smile...n a beautiful heart!
Laughter is contagious...
I had gone to shoot Mumbai Marathon-one of the greatest events Mumbai has every year in the month of January. This boy stared at the camera in my hand from behind the grills. I tried to initiate a conversation but he just wouldn’t talk n rather continued to give me those dead hard expressions…very unusual for a boy his age.
I am sure he was quite intrigued by the size of the lens I was carrying.
I asked him if he wanted me to shoot a picture for him. No response. I told him he was a great looking young man and would look even better if he smiled more. He stared at me for a second n burst out laughing saying his amma (mother) said the same to him! He told me I was funny. Imagine that!
What followed next was a photo-session which makes me smile even today…! He just wouldn’t stop laughing n I couldn’t stop laughing with him and soon everyone around us was laughing too, for no reason!
Laughter is contagious …n beautiful….!
Since then this pic has been reproduced in various publications n even today continues to remain one of my favorites!
The joy of laughter is supreme....it makes u believe that life is indeed beautiful....
Life is about sharing happiness...
They told me she is a mad woman...I agreed! Only a mad person could be so happy in today's world...!I stared at her peaceful face n the purity of her laughter. I was envious of her.I wish I was mad...cos i have almost forgotten how to laugh like that.
It had been a tough day for me in the jungle, trying to get some good tiger shots n I had got none! I looked at her yet again from the small tea stall I had been killing time at. As I observed her I realized she was a very beautiful n graceful woman who had surely seen better days in her life. I found out her story … (I wouldn’t want to put that here!)
I decided to take some pics of her. She seemed to be enjoying the attention.
I have noticed people on the road actually take pleasure in being photographed; they never get these pics but the whole idea that someone finds them interesting enough to shoot them, excites them a lot! They pose much more naturally, devoid of inhibitions n make lovely pictures.
She beckoned me to come to her and show the picture. I obliged n sat next to her. She was clean n didn’t smell awful as I would have expected her to. How much we assume for no reasons? She was happy and I was happy, sitting next to her showing her the pics and smoking cigarettes together. It was not such a bad day after all.
She made me happy or I made her happy, I am not sure, but we did share happiness for a while!