Monday, November 28, 2005

News Flash!

I am sorry to interupt the relay from Bangalore but matters of extreme championship (much to my chagrin) and "Bombay-ness" (much to my pride) must be reported.

Thursday morning I was running so terribly late that unmindful of the cost, I took a rickshaw straight to work because I was to meet a friend for lunch and en route, I was also due to lend my pride and joy, my F75, to another friend. Since the day looked a little relaxed, I also grabbed my entire folder of negatives, scans, contact sheets - the works! I thought I'd put up my feet, post some pictures, do stuff I want to do - I am sure you know the rest of that song.

The camera duly dropped off with the friend in question and I proceeded to work, dying a million deaths about being late for lunch. About twenty minutes later, the rickshaw screeched to a halt and I jumped out, desperate to pay the driver and be on my way. I jammed money in his hand, ran up to the office, signed in, made a pretence of checking my mail, grabbed my wallet and ran down again.

We didn't linger much over lunch because he was due to take a train in a few hours and after we had said our au revoirs, I came back to work, settled down at my seat, and was ready to start posting photos. And that's when it hit me.

My folder was riding in the back of a rickshaw somewhere in North Bombay.

That folder contained everything I've ever shot with my F75... everything. I do not think the enormity of my utter and complete stupidity made any sort of impact at all. All it did was compound the nagging feeling that I should give up all aspirations to photography and give my camera away to someone who actually deserves it. Perhaps it was foolish, but what kept me sane through the rest of the day was the hope that the rickshaw driver would return the folder because he knew where I lived - as it were.

Office day over, I returned home by about 21:30 still in quite the daze. On my way in, I stopped by the security guard's cabin to check if my miracle has happened. I could not finish my question because my folder was lying there on the guard's table.

Sweet Christ, I couldn't react but forty-eight hours later, gratitude and a sense of Bombay-ness are my overwhelming emotions. I know that my folder was a very small thing but whether the rickshaw driver lived close by or away from my home, he most certainly took a good deal of trouble through the entire day for an arbitrary woman who may never take his rickshaw again. I do not think this would have happened anywhere in India except Bombay.

Perhaps I am being unfair in my generalization but my irrational heart tells me otherwise. For all of Bombay's faults - and fear not, I am not being swept away by the romanticism of this seemingly random act of kindness - she's a city with a soul and a heart as big as the world. There is, I believe, sometimes no choice - but to fall in love with her.

This one is not a good shot as far as focus is concerned but I think it makes for a good frame and I love the colours. And to me, it sings Bombay.

Marine Drive, a Bombayite, and the Sunset

Surely I am allowed a "bad" favourite! :-)

Addendum: I mean no insult to any other place in India, really I don't. Please do not take it as such. :-)


Anil said...

thank god for small miracles! lets hope this spurs you on to greater things in the world of photography! and yeah except for the focus I love the shot, very nicely framed with the boy walking out of the frame and not the usual other way round!

incognito said...

"All it did was compound the nagging feeling that I should give up all aspirations to photography and give my camera away to someone who actually deserves it."

Let us know how you feel about giving up photography when you develop your next roll.

Also if you hadn't mentioned I would have thought that the silhouette is purposely blurred to show the anonymity of the person.

Arjun said...

Am I glad you got the stuff back. Otherwise , somewhere deep inside, i'd feel a little guilty about the whole episode.

Casablanca said...

Glad you got the folder. I am sure Bombay is a kind city... but I do think you being a tad unkind to say its the 'only' kind city in India :)

Extempore said...

@Anil: Thanks sweetie, am really glad you liked it. I have a feeling that the focus has gone off because I shot this through a tinted car window. But I loved the frame and the colours through the tint. :-)

@Incognito: Alright enough already - making fun of me! :-) Am glad you like it.

@Arjun: Oh no, not at all! May have been running to keep our lunch meeting but that was sheer carelessness on my behalf!

@Casa: Oh my dear, I am sorry if I upset or offended you. That was not my intention at all! Just that I am/was feeling a great surge of Bombay pride. :-) I hope you aren't upset.

Casablanca said...

Hehe... no apologies. Didnt upset me actually... just pointing out the other side, thats all.

I think people from delhi or bombay or chennai have this 'my-city-is-the-best' complex sometimes, which I dont think I really understand :)

Words Worth said...

I'm very sceptical of the 'this can happen only in Bombay' stance. I've lived in Bombay all my life and I love the city. But i know that it's as easy to be on the receiving end of callousness as it is of kindness in this city. I think it's the individual person that counts, and 'kind' people are really found everywhere.

Really happy you got back your folder though. :-)

Anonymous said...

Good shot - the composition is pretty good. When did you get into photography? For that matter, when did you start blogging, old girl?

I was a kid who was transferred around a lot and I've lived in many cities and towns in India. Even as I agree that the kindness would not have happened in any other city in India, small-town India is also a kind lot of folks. Remember Pilani, sweet one? ;-)


Ash said...

miracles do happen

i am amazed at the coincidence....

the first blog i read had stuff on "alchemist" which revels in miracles and then went to another where theories of miracles were related in detail and now a post on an actual miracle....

miracle isn't it for me too ....

be careful the next time .....

the cowlick said...

oh good for you! my heart sank when i read the before-the-miracle bit.. I wonder if something like this would have happened in Delhi.. doubt it. But nice people don't all live in one place, I'm sure.

. : A : . said...

Wow! Wonderful when such miracles occur.

SaidBack said...

You get good honest folks everywhere. Someplaces just have a few more.

And in very few places do you find them plying rickshaws. A week of commuting by ricks here in Bangalore, or the ricks/cabs in delhi would bring any sceptic around. I don't know about the other cities.

Glad you got em back! Keep shooting. :)

I like the photograph. Out of focus yes, but in this case, looks quite nice.

lakesidey said...

You warm the cockles of my heart, dear :)

"All it did was compound the nagging feeling that I should give up all aspirations to photography and give my camera away to someone who actually deserves it...."

Me!! Me!!!


Viewer said...

thanks God u got ur stuff back.

And yeah i do agree with u there no place like bombay

Extempore said...

@Casa: Am glad to hear it! :-)

@Subrajit: There is a reason, old friend, that I haven't told you - and just wait till I catch the person who did! Took a look at your latest photos and nearly died - I want all them to be mine! :-)

@Ash: Yes, I promise I will be! Welcome aboard!

@The Cowlick: Thanks, sweetie. You have no idea of the million deaths I died. :-)

@.:A:. Yes, it is, isn't it? :-)

@Pepper: I will, Majesty. Thanks - that's what I thought about the photo as well!

@Lakesidey: Where's your sympathy, you mean man! :P

@Viewer: :-)!

Geetanjali said...

:-) My bro got his cellphone back after he left it in a rick - the guy called up home and said that our family member left the phone in his rick....
Yes Bombay has it's Dil despite all that crazy money-chasing it's famous for!

And for chrissake, why would you want to give up photography? Silly silly!

Parth said...

It happens only in Bombay! You named it perfectly: "Bombay-pride". I love this city. I am glad you got your folder back. If you are a Nora Ephron fan, take it as a "sign" :-)

Eleventy Seven said...

Well I would agree to the fact that people in Bombay are way more helpful than anywhere else I have been though their warmth could be contested to the teeth by numerous small towns all over the country.

As much as I would agree and feel happy I too am a part of this bustle called Bombay and be proud of it, I would have to see the other side of the coin too.

An aquantiance of mine was robbed, stabbed and thrown off a moving local train a few days back. His watch was snapped off and when he treid defending himself he was chucked off. Lucky for him he landed just before a platform and survives, albeit in a sordid state, to tell the tale.

This too happens only in Bombay.

More ...

>>Cop rapes a minor girl
>>A madman stabs a college girl in broad daylight at Gateway of India.
>>A scorned lover chokes a woman to death using her chain in front of her husband.
>>A woman is raped in bright afternoon in a moving local train. The crowd stood gaping in horror.

Yeh hai Mumbai meri jaan!

Extempore said...

@Wordsworth: Dear God, I just realised I forgot to reply! Pls, pls forgive me. I agree, my love, with what you are saying but I'm an emotional fool for this city. I don't see it as some city of angels but what can I say, I am biased!

@Geets: :-)! I *so* know what that feels like. And about giving up photography - well, see my last roll and you'll know why! ;)

@Parth: I am trying to take it as a sign... my roll is forcing some other reality checks... am persisting though. Rock Beach is next, you two!

@Saurabh: I agree that the warmth could be contested - and many small towns are much warmer and helpful than Bby can ever hope to be - but I am sure you see how rare it is for a city famed for allowing you anonymity to have a heart so warm?

And I do not fail to see the ugliness, the sleaze of this city - I face a portion of it everyday merely on my way to work. But what can I do... I am biased. :-)

i-me-moi said...

f***ing beautiful!!! If you know what i mean?