In the wake of Shantarama - one day in the slums of Bombay
Hello! I Gleb Kuznetsov, I'm 26 years old, today I want to tell you about one of his day, held in the Indian city of Mumbai, which is however known to the whole world under its former name Bombay, thanks to the remarkable book "Shantaram." We visited the very slums of Bombay, where the action is "Shantarama" and about.
The other day in the evening I arrived by train from the mountain resort of Pune, known thanks to Osho Ashram, and had no time to reflect on this phenomenon - Bombay. Therefore, the surface of the window of awakening, and a shiver runs down my back.
Seeing this, a person can not remain indifferent, and photographers - to sit idly by. At half-past five hours, quickly dawns, I'm committing the specified exercise, make a souvenir photo and run into the city.
People are sleeping everywhere, they sleep families huddled together, deep sleep, women, children and the elderly. It is obvious that they are not tramps and beggars, as a number of packages with spare clothes, some belongings. I understand that walk among those for whom reading is still in children's books about India, among the untouchables occupied the most dirty and low-paid work and never had housing. I make hundreds of pictures, but shoot people sleeping on the streets of Bombay, is the same as clerks, running through the streets of New York - they are countless.
The night is very warm and people do not even have blankets and bedding and enough cardboard. But I notice that the men one by one, as a rule, door stalls sleep among the homeless. Later, my suspicions are confirmed - it is their employees or owners, who chose the way home to the suburbs, to spend the night in the workplace. But the room is stuffy - and the street as a dormitory.
By half past six in the city wakes up. On the streets there are employees and taxi drivers, and sleeping on the sidewalks begin morning toilet. I see that they are not a tramp in our understanding, and after half an hour, I would not tell them apart from the majority of Indians. People with sidewalks combed and clean and brush their teeth, drawing water from special drums, and prepare here at the stake center.
They all have developed unquestioning obedience - they allow themselves to be photographed in this unfavorable light, do not interfere with shooting the sleeping family members. They just smile timidly and often grateful for the frame, but not even asked to show it.
In the meantime, at the height of the morning, but I had gone too far in the direction of "main railway terminal," running from one group to another sleeping as Masha ran from mushroom to mushroom until it got to the den. Thus, the idea to have breakfast at a table with a fork in his hand fails, because in this area not find any safe places. But there is a chance to sample the street food.
Unlike much of the taverns for local street food in India and tasty and safe (at least, I'm driving this country from Trivandrum in the south to Varanasi in the north and trying all the local pies and cakes, never problems had). Well, a few potato pie in puff pastry with red pepper and a glass of sweet tea with milk for $ 2, and I'm ready to hit the road. Oh, I forgot to tell you that in a minute in Borivali area should arrive with a night bus Goa and in it my friends - a married couple Chistozvonova. Sasha and Ira were vacationing on the beach and for the thrill decided to donate two nights on the bus, but to walk with me on the Bombay slums. In this today and is our mission, and to her relief in the evening I made arrangements with the taxi driver about Fazil tour of the slums and brothels and transgender communities, hizhdr.
In Borivali I get on the local train faster than expected, and while my friends are still approaching the city, I go to the vending me a concrete high-rises near the entrance station. In such houses in Bombay lives a wealthy middle class, and they, as far as I could see, all the built up suburbs, while the city center is occupied by slums and scrap "World Trade Center" with the local "Latin Quarter".
The entrance is blocking me crazy person Faisal. It prohibits taking pictures of themselves, as the fear of death from the camera. But Faisal was not a coward - it protects your house from evil. On his bare chest amulet, and the ghost will not be able to pass him. I still made the way and not wanting to frighten and offend the crazy man focused on photographs of the situation in the stairwell.
But that's San Sanych! And I without delay, and dip it in the world of real-il Bombay!
Explorer Fazil meets us in Borivali. However, he fears hit the front pages of the world media as the person involved in the exposure of Bombay "dark kingdom" so evades a group photo. To persuade him to caught on tape we manage much later, when all the tests have left behind. In the meantime, he takes us into the slum area on your forties "Fiat", which is in the photo below is parked at the curb.
The center of the city, called "World Trade Center", virtually nothing is separated from the slums. There is not a stone wall or walls of submachine - these two completely different worlds exist side by side and, in contrast to large cities in Latin America, does not show hostility.
Bombay slums represent a closed area surrounded by wide streets. Inside the incredible confusion of narrow alleys. Basically, a slum divided into Hindu and Muslim, as well as in the slums, where there is a house, even a sheet of iron, and those where only the plastic awnings. Fazil Muslim and a member of the middle class, so leading us in those slums that are close to him in spirit. We did not mind because the Muslim slums, where he lives Bombay middle class - this is what is called Classics genre.
The outer perimeter of the slum occupied by shops and workshops in nearby barracks for them always warehouses, and already deep - residential "neighborhoods".
After going round the outer perimeter Fazil asks us: "Maybe by" India Gate, but we stubbornly demand the very depths, and he fears for my camera and our mental health leads to the slums "?".
By the way, the slums of Bombay recognized throughout the safest place in India. They are completely under the control of local communities, no outsider will not penetrate here, and if you penetrate, you will not be released in case of violation of local laws. For tourists access to the slums is completely free, but ... one of the basic rules in the slums, "Do not take pictures!" The Muslims are categorically against the camera. But how could I tell this story? All the way comes first bow models, politely asking how things were going, then timidly ask whether you can make a picture.
Men and children are always happy with this, completely dispelling established notions. Women, especially older ones, on the other hand, react intemperate: often without realizing that I only ask permission, they begin to call their husbands - they run out angry and takes a lot of time on explanations. In short, step by step deeper into the slum.
After confusion corners, which are flowing sewage, run the rat mixed and children, we get to the heart of this part of Bombay - patios. They are relatively clean and spacious and in spirit reminiscent of the kitchen in a communal apartment. Here, wash and dry clothes, play, tinkering with motorcycles, in short, all human life is centered on these pieces of "land" among the nightmare ocean. Here the air is similar to the air!
Fazil tells us that in Bombay outraged myth that if poor people live in slums. According to the conductor, men earn is up to 500 dollars a month, but the very house in a slum can cost tens of thousands of dollars, as it is close to the center and, so to speak, is in a comfortable and safe area. As for the general poverty, its main reason - a large number of children in families and unemployed women. And even if our Fazil doubled earnings Bombay slum people, we with Sasha and Ira at the same time came the conclusion that these people are not so hopelessly poor, how irrevocably become accustomed to the environmental nightmare situation and are unable to adequately assess it.
But okay, the photo on the memory, and gradually get out of the slums, because after a few hours brodyazhnichanya here in the throat from the stench worth nausea and want only one thing: to safely gain a deep breath!
So the main sports arena of the Bombay slums! No comment - we skipped rushing to the minibus Fazil!
and asks to fresh air. Slums have joined us!
But the beach is also not quite like and the beach, and a combination of fishing and dumping massive deposits of Indians. Sasha and Ira desperately asking Fazil take them at least for half an hour "in a quiet place", but he just laughs: "Where in Bombay space to find!"
But we stroll through the city center and find it quite civilized and nice: the university and administrative buildings English buildings, wide streets, wonderful little old "Fiats" ...
But caught his breath, would not be bad, and dinner. We go to the vegetarian restaurant. In the four dollar order a classic dish of rice and vegetables, and get such a palm leaf, with a mountain of delicious eatables. One question: "How is it there?"
What are we doing to our food that stumpy fingers - do not dare to show. And in no time, as Fazil already driving up to our area, "Congress Hall" - the red light district of Bombay Street. That's the first charmer shy attracts visitors on their porch.
Prostitutes in nalyapistyh dresses jostle along the street, but at the sight of the camera run up in the corners - are afraid, then glory. Fazil said that ladies come to Nepal and Bangladesh earnings, and work for half an hour asking for $ 3.
But caution! India is famous for the LGBT community, called hizhdrami. The danger is not so much to confuse such a representative of sexual minorities with a natural lady, and not to please her! Hizhdry - the oldest and most respected caste of Indian society. They have the privilege of cursing people and pay off this curse will cost you dearly! My dear Sasha was seriously frightened hizhdr and hid in the car, leaving me with them one on one, I, having communicated enough, delivered an opinion on them as cute creatures (do not get me wrong).
Price for half an hour with hizhdroy the same as that of a prostitute, and the money will go in the same pocket. Black has input in cheap brothels sit "Cats" - pimps local flood. In addition to strict protective function on them yet and supervision of children while mothers are busy customer service.
Brothels merge with slums, and in the end, never distinguish respectable Muslim from Bombay bigwigs bottom.
But few if for one day? Imperceptibly it is 6:00 pm, and time to go to Sasha and Ira to the bus station and back - in a hotel in Goa. They categorically rejected all my offers to stay for a day and ask only to escort them to the bus. We are paying the price with Fazil - a six-hour tour of the system "all inclusive" cost us 30 dollars.
But in Bombay do not need to try to discover the wonders - the station-the-art S-Bahn, we find ourselves in the midst of a gypsy camp. Give money in any case can not, as at the sight of these bills Roma fly into a rage and begin to tear you to pieces (I have had such an experience in the south of India, Madurai).
By the way, here's the next Bollywood influence. These posters plastered, re-stick the whole city, and whosoever European can play in a crowd and get a $ 10. But Sasha and Ira did not want to star in the crowd, they want the hotel!
In the first class train cozy and cool. 40 minutes to travel to us, and we with Sasha defiantly drank a bottle of Indian rum, so to speak, to disinfect.
The bus station is generally welcoming the crowd!
Remarkable Roma are sitting in the bus, but it is, though, and looks the part scary, does not carry any aggression - so go in the midst of this bedlam and, of course, do not feel comfortable, but also a great stress it causes.
And sleeps in Indian bus is still not for the Russian people. But okay, I spent Ira and Sasha, and back - to Bombay in the same way.
On the beach sunset and a crowd of Indians after work eat and drink, but are afraid to swim because they do not know how to swim, and believe that in the ocean of evil miracle Yudo lives. I did not go swimming, since then naked back to the hotel did not want to.
So the end of this extraordinary day at the computer. Photos should be selected as soon as possible, because tomorrow added new ones. During this occupation, and I go to sleep, that not noticing.