This story is about the people we come across every day on the streets, on the way home, but never have the time or interest to listen to their story. These are the people who wander off the streets hopelessly, yet wishing for a miracle to happen. The reason I call them the Lost humans is because they are quite lost in life yet not able to do anything about it. These people have a story with them, for that fact everyone one of us does. By story, I mean their past happenings and what was the reason that made them what they are today. For those of you who didn't realize it already, this is a part of Street photography.
Street photography is a method for strolling through space while being continually mindful of constant changes in light. It is a genre of photography dealing with how one can organize and outline various compositional components ahead of time of a yet-to-be-seen succession of occasions that might possibly occur. It is about being available to various possibilities which may end up making an intriguing photograph, like a pedestrian walking down the street, or a couple romancing on the street, or even the sunlight creating beautiful shadows.
In a country like India, more people become homeless and live on the streets day by day. There will always be a number of reasons like violence, betrayal, addiction, etc. Legend has it that in order to know fully about India, one needs to explore the streets and the people who live and work on the streets. In spite of the fact that the nation is diverse in every area and state, there is a repeating theme that prevails through every Indian heart. Each city in India has the roads clamoring with vitality and hues. There will never be a dull place. It seems like a frantic fete where everybody is moving towards something. I realize that the disarray and the commotion can drive people mad. In any case, the streets in India have a life of their own. Here I present the Lost Humans, the ones no one has time to listen to. I have categorized on the basis of various elements.
Work and earn
No matter what the situation is, and what made them live on the streets, there are some people who don't resort to begging and pleading. These souls work their heart out in order to make a living. They do the same job again and again but never call it a day. They don't work to prove to anyone, but themselves. They just don't quit.
1.1 Here we have a Sugar cane juice shop. The shop is the machine and the man, on the street. This peculiar eyed man had this machine and was standing outside of an established shop. The way he was positioned told that he was there for years doing the same. Something about him wanted me to go talk to him. His bright green eyes had something to say. I went up to him and asked if I could click a picture. He was quite reluctant but eventually gave in. As I was clicking and enquiring, he told me that he was from the north and has come here for a living. He was always looking for customers, with his bright green eyes enough to gather attention. He sure was not giving up, as he wanted to earn every dime and not beg for it.
1.2 This woman was sitting outside a temple. A usual scenario for any Indian will be to witness a number of beggars aligning the temple entrance. But this woman was different. She was reluctant not to beg for alms. She wanted to earn for a living, and thus she did. She made some local drink for the people visiting the temple, in that large utensil with having several tumblers to drink. She had a spot reserved for her under a tree, and that is all. The temple, the tree, and the utensils were all she had. But the biggest of it all was the hope she had. The hope for a better living, the hope for a miracle.
1.3 This woman is one of the many workers that work in the flower market. There are people who own some space for their flower business, and then there are these people who own just a basket or two, like this lady. Flowers were her product and the street her shop. On questioning, I came to know that she opens her shop twice a day, morning and evening. That is when most of the people visit the market and buy flowers. She had flowers for all occasions, from the temple flowers to the ones you use for some function. She always had a water bottle to keep them flowers wet for more sale. I captured this picture when she was probably wondering about life and waiting for some miracle that God will shower upon her business.
2. Wait for a miracle
There are some people who despite working on their own shop or other's one, will always keep wondering what kind of miracle may happen to them. They may sometimes stop believing in themselves and the work they put in. All they wait for is their questions to be answered by the god.
2.1 This man owns a shop right outside the temple street. As the location suggests, he owns statues and small figures representing the gods inside the temple. Not sure whether he just sells them or he is the one who makes the statues right from scratch. One thing for sure is that he doesn't seem contended, and he has hopes for a bright future, which he believes will be brought by the god he worships and sells.
2.2 Similar to the first guy, this lady here also waits and hopes for some miracle to happen. She happened to sit outside a building's staircase. Obviously, she didn't seems contended. She had no business to do on the road, yet there she was wondering and waiting for something impossible. She, unlike the previous ones, has not been working and believing but has got all her belief on the god and none on herself. She badly wanted something to happen that would change the way life was then. This made me compose the shot as I have done, with god covering half of the frame.
2.3 This man, unlike the previous ones, calls himself an ardent devotee of God, turning himself into saffron colored clothing. Every single day, he gets up from the temple, washes in the temple pond and then sits in his spot outside the temple. He doesn't seem to beg for alms. One can witness that he spends most of his time meditating and looking up to the god, wishing that a certain dream will happen. He was seen to be fond of the people he sees and give advice to people of all kind. Here is a picture of him with a smeared forehead and in his element, looking up to the god. Another picture shows that the bag is all he got, and he brings that wherever he goes or migrates. That bag pretty much summarizes his entire house.
2.4 This lady is one of the typical people one can witness on the streets. She is one of those people who begs and pleads for alms from the people passing by. It is every day that she loses the hopes for a better living and every day that she gains a hope that something new is to happen. This picture was taken as the lady was sitting along the narrow road, and was pleading for alms. After a point of time, she gave up on pleading, and just sat there wondering what God has in the basket for her. She can be seen as worried and waiting for the miracle to happen.
2.5 I found this lady outside the street temple. She wasn't begging or pleading for alms. She was lying down on the pavement as I crossed, but eventually got up and sat wondering about something. She was wishing for something good to happen and was praying to the god beneath her. So, I composed this shot with her being a part of the frame, and the god inside the temple being another part of the frame, with the lady looking up to him.
3. Never lose hope
Hope is the one and the only thing that makes a man move towards his goals, no matter how worse the current situation is. There are people, and then there are warriors who stand the test of time. They never give up on their dreams. Despite the not so well situated, they tend to smile and laugh and spread positivity. They never lose hope.
3.1 I found this man in a fish market. He was selling different types of fish, also with crabs and other sea items for people to consume. As it was a Sunday morning, his business was all good, with people flocking towards his shop just like other shops. He was keen doing business, that is when I went near him and asked about his whereabouts. He said that the fish business was started by his father and has been carried upon by him since. He also added that this was the only source of income. I didn't want to disturb his business any further. So, I moved away and clicked this candid shot of his in his element.
3.2 I came across this little boy in a carnival. He was with the shop that sold that bubble thing, which needs us to blow air to the soap liquid in order to form bubbles. He did not deserve to be there, by the side, with the shop. He should be like the other kids, inside the amusement, on the merry-go-round and other rides. I went to the shop, which was managed by one of his elders. I began talking to him, but there was no response. Then I came to know he did not understand my language. I waved and signaled whether I could click a picture of his. He looked up to his elder and then smiled. With the not fully grown teeth, one can never find a smile so pure and contagious.
3.3 This guy is a rickshaw man outside a temple. It was all usual when he was sitting inside the rickshaw and resting. It was when he stepped down because of a passenger, I noticed he had struggle walking. The customer probably did not agree on the fare, so he left the scene. As he went back into his rickshaw, I went closer and asked if I could take a picture. He nodded happily saying no one cares about a rickshaw fellow. He also added that this was the only source of income and despite the leg, he has to do it for a living. In spite of the situation not being in his favor, he smiles happily for the picture, conveying never to lose hope.
3.4 As I was wandering in the flower market, this guy caught my attention, not just mine, everyone's attention, because of him shouting in his voice to sell the flowers and garlands. He specifically made garlands for the temple nearby. Ones who entered the temple were his potential customers. I asked for a picture, but he was initially reluctant. After some time, he asked what was the purpose. After briefing about the project, he agreed on a picture, with him smiling. He immediately returned to his business and I left.
4. Harsh world
4.1 This man here is a victim of poverty and homelessness. That can be pretty evident from his physical stature. But his mental condition cannot be put into words. He lives and works in a temple, which he sometimes calls as home. He was too weak to walk steadily and sat around for most of the time. People went inside the temple and gave all the offerings to the god, but turn a blind eye for people like this who are in dire need of their help. I composed this shot in a way it shows the god being a small part of the frame.
4.2 I came across this elderly man sitting on the pavement near a cycle parking space. It looked like he had a broken hand because it was tied to his neck, and he was staring right into empty space. He was not disturbed by the chaos the road was. I slowly approached him so that I could click a picture of his. He narrated his story of why he sat there like that. It looks like he went to Kasi and other northern cities on a pilgrimage, and had his hand broken on the way back. He further added that may be the broken hand was also a part of God's will. After having a dose of philosophy, I clicked this picture with a cycle beneath, showing how life rides like a cycle.
4.3 It is often a bag or two, which serves as the entire belongings for the homeless. Similarly, I came across this man sitting on the street smoking cigarette. All he had with himself was a bag, and by looking at his physical appearance, anyone can tell that he has been on the streets for long. He had not maintained his hair and physical health. As I went near him, he questioned using his hands without uttering a single word. I raised the camera, and he nodded. He sat upright, and I composed the shot showing his entire home, himself and the bag.
4.4 This man here is a fighter. He had a terrible injury on his left leg, and yet he was not sitting at a corner. Instead, he was working as an assistant for those who park their vehicles. On talking with him, he said everything happens for a reason, and maybe this phase is also a part of God's will. He had several chains around his neck in the name of god. I composed this shot to show his strength along with a picture of God in it.
5. Lost Hope
There are people who work on their lives monotonously without any kind of break. At a point of time, these people stop hoping for anything good to happen. They stop believing that something better is going to happen with their lives. They lose hope, yet continue to work for survival. They slowly accept the reality the life is. These humans are not particularly homeless. They can be anyone who has lost hope on the fact that something better is awaiting them in the life ahead. They tend to lose themselves on a course of time. It may be a result of unending and monotonous work they are into or the restlessness caused by personal conflicts.
5.1 I met this man near the banks of the river Cauvery. As I noticed from a distance, all he did was sitting idle and watching the river flow. I had no clue what he was thinking then. As I approached him, I thought he was crying, but later realized his eyes are always welled up like that. He is one of those people who has lost all faith and hope on humanity and humans. He did not ask for anything, plead for alms or anything of that sort. He just sat here watching the river, not caring about anything else around him.
5.2 I came across this elderly woman near a lake. It was early in the morning, and the road was deserted. I noticed this lady at quite a distance, and it was evident that she was finding it hard to breathe with walking over a long distance. She was carrying a container, probably for food on her head, and on the right hand was a basket. It was quite clear that she was a working woman. She had no smile on her face, and one could feel the monotonic behavior that she has been through.
5.3 This man was lying in front of a closed shop. As I was walking down the street, I noticed this man along with a bag of his. There were mosquitoes all around him, buzzing around, which he tried to battle with his hands. His beard and hair conveyed that he has been on the streets for long, and has got no proper physical maintenance. As I kneeled across the road to click his picture, he slowly helped himself up and slouched on the door behind. He stared right into the lens, and I was not even sure whether his eyes were open or not.
5.4 Some people after all the life experiences and trauma, turn themselves into a devotee or ardent follower of God. They adorn themselves with saffron-colored clothing and behave in a different way than they were before. This man here is a typical example of those people. They usually don't talk much and remain silent most of the time. This Sacred ash and vermilion smeared forehead immediately caught my attention, and I took a picture of him. He remained silent and then lifted his right hand in the form of a blessing. It's quite hard to remain silent among the chaos in the road.
5.5 It is a usual sight to witness a group of elderly people sitting along the roadside and talking among themselves. But it is quite unusual to witness such a man who sits all alone and stares right into the empty space, without any communication. As I noticed, he let go of his slippers, sat in a comfortable position, and looked around constantly for something. He certainly was seeing the things around him but was not paying any attention. He was in his own world of thoughts.
6. This man is a worker on the port. He was working tirelessly and did not even care about his surroundings. He probably went deep into his job that it has become so monotonic for him. I saw him working from a distance and began clicking his picture. After someone said that I was clicking pictures of him, he turned towards me and gave me this stare. I'm still not sure how to perceive this stare.
7. A typical person one can witness any day every day on the streets of India. It was seven in the morning and he already sat there ready with his belongings. He had a small jar for people to put money in. He had a bag, bottle and a pair of slippers, which were torn a bit. It is quite hard to understand what makes him wake up that early only to sit beside the road and beg for alms. I stood opposite him on the other side of the road and noticed his activities. He did not move an inch for most of the time, and sometimes observed the people walking on the road. The shutter beneath him helped me to compose this shot which depicts how isolated he was, only accompanied by his belongings.
7.1 I made another picture of the same man with the help of a cycle on the road. I believe this shows how life rolls up and down like a cycle, and we are just a part of it in the middle of all the drama.
8. One of my favorite shots I made on the street. This man was standing outside a temple, contradictory to how people usually sit outside a temple aligning the temple entrance pleading for alms. This man was accompanied by an elderly lady beside him. He did all the talking begging for alms. He was lost, quite literally because of the bustling road and all the chaos happening around him. He was pleading to everyone who left the temple from inside. Though it may seem similar to what the privileged did inside the temple to the god, they decide to turn a blind eye to this man. I composed this shot to show he was trapped and lost in the middle of all the chaos happening on the road.
Homelessness and absence of basic amenities are the root cause of all these individuals suffering and wandering on the road. Every day, the number of individuals who live on the street increases. Some may beg and plead for alms, where others may end up working tirelessly putting their own life at risk. Unemployment has also become a reason for homelessness, and none knows who to blame. On the course of years, these people tend to lose their hope and faith in humanity. This may not seem like a bigger issue but this is the root cause of several big problems that happen in the country.
The initial step to unraveling homelessness is recognizing that its unfortunate casualties are individuals. Ordinary individuals. Fathers. Moms. Entire families. People who fell on harsh occasions and lost their center establishment of being human – their homes. The government needs to take some steps to prevent more people from becoming homeless, and should take measures for counseling and related things to bring these people back to their full mental and physical health. Every single citizen of a country needs to thrive for a country to thrive as a whole.