One of the most common site on any Indian street (and, I believe, many other countries in the world) is people reading newspapers. In this world overloaded with technology such as Twitter, Ipad, Blackberry, etc., newspapers still remain to be the best source of news as well as time-pass for most people (especially elders). While traveling in bus, or waiting outside a shop for someone, at a taxi stand with friends, or maybe the steps of a temple, or any other place imaginable, we often see these strangers with their heads dug into the headlines of the day. True, newspapers may not be as timely as other sources of news, but they still carry a value which no other medium of the kind can take from it for a long time in the future.
The Lotus Temple of Delhi is one of the many amazing architectural wonders that can be seen in India. It is basically a worship house for the followers of the Bahá’i religion. History says that Abdu’l Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion had stipulated that an essential character of a House of Worship is a nine-sided circular shape. Keeping this is mind, and gaining inspiration from the lotus flower, this beautiful monument, with all the beautiful curves and arches, was built of pure marble. And today, this House of Worship has also become one of the biggest tourist attractions of our country.
Loneliness always has a silent story behind it. But a story starts to get a voice when that one individual is joined by a second. This voice can be spoken or unspoken, but when two individuals get together, there is always a story between them. This meeting can be planned by man himself, or by fate, but the story that comes out of it is inevitable to the eye of an observer who is on the search for an essay for his art. And as we all know, life and living require interaction. Though we are all born alone and die alone, we all need company to go through the journey of life.
On a windy, cold, winter afternoon, I was out with two of my friends heading for KFC to have lunch together. And irrespective of my work or destination I try and carry my camera always with me. Initially it was just very cloudy (later it started to drizzle), and I managed to get a couple of shots of people passing by, some standing at tea stalls, and some actually making a bonfire on the sidewalk. Here are a few of those shots:
Anyways, after getting a few more of such shots, the weather started to turn really bad. So my friends suggested that it would be a good idea to hurry to KFC as neither did we have any plans of getting wet, nor obviously did I want to see my camera get drenched. So we all paced up and reached our destination before the showers started pouring down.
We ordered a very big meal, had more than plenty (I can literally become a swine when it comes to food), did some fooling around, and spent a good one-and-half to two hours there. Below I share a pic that I clicked there of my friends, and you can also see the amount of food on the table.
By the time we were done, the rain had stopped too. And so we decided to leave. But one of my friends said that she had to use the washroom before leaving. So I asked her to go ahead while I would wait for them outside.
I moved out and my hands almost automatically went inside my camera bag and I took out my “beloved” once again. The rain had settled and everyone was on the move again. I took a shot of a few rikshaws standing lined up outside the mall area.
My next shot was standing right below the steps of KFC and I tried taking the reflection on the tiles of the mall entrance, but that didn’t seem to work too well. But then, I noticed something that I have been missing out on all along. Take a look at the pic below and guess what it was.
Do you see it? Yes? No? Look carefully towards the bottom right of the frame, just outside the gate. Do you see a man sitting there?
Yes, he is the man I call as the “Unfortunate Dreamer Outside KFC”.
I immediately knew that I had to get a better shot of this. I approached him slowly (obviously I did not want to make him aware of my camera that was shortly about to be pointed towards him). And please don’t pounce on me with ethical issues now. I shoot streets and I shoot reality. No intentions of harassing anyone at all. But that is what I believe and that is how I shoot. But while taking the shot I had so many thoughts running in my mind. I had myself stuffed up to the limit of my digestive system just moments back. So have many other people who are passing by him. And here lies this man whom hardly anyone notices and he barely gets to have a meal a day. Sadly, this kind of a sight is very common in my country (India), but the biggest irony in this shot was that the man was sitting right outside KFC. It wouldn’t have had any impact on me and I probably wouldn’t even have bothered to take the shot if the man was somewhere else. Not that then the man’s suffering would have been any lesser. But probably because my ignorance would not make me perceive it in any better way. After getting the shot I kept standing there for a while. I noticed people continuously going in and coming out of KFC, stuffed up, and some even with packed food packets in their hand (I’m not saying that anything is wrong in that), but no body even observed this person who was as good as invisible to them.
My friends came out after about five to seven minutes. Even they did not notice this man. Before leaving I just took a last shot where I tried to show the entire scenario in one frame. It was a little difficult because the man was too small compared to the KFC building and getting both to be clearly visible on the frame seemed quite challenging. But anyways, here is the last shot that I took. And that is the best justice I could do with the moment that touched me for a lifetime.