The day began with all of us arriving on our chosen locations in the early hours of the morning. Everyone wanted to catch the happiest people at the happiest hour of Sunday. Twilight in so many ways is the golden hour of photography, I wonder as I write this post. The excellent morning warm glow of the sun, cheerful jovial people to meet , a truly wonderful day was unfolding before my eyes. I was to cover Mandai area of Pune city, India. It is one of the oldest habitats of the city. I love the old architecture and its blending with the modern structures cropping up around them. The light was very softly shearing over the buildings and giving the whole place a dreamy feel. The flower sellers were the first to setup their wares. The bright lots of flowers scattered all over the place made a very interesting view, bustling with photographic opportunities. Add to that some aroma of the ‘chai ’ and new friends that I already made in the first few minutes, we were all geared up for the day.
In no time the place, (Mandai, Pune, India) was infiltrated with many lens-men warming up to the day. A camera in someone’s hand an eye contact lasting slightly longer than a second was all the introduction needed to make friends. At one point of time, I actually wished to be on the other side of the lens than behind it. Majority of the people love to be photographed if approached in a bright casual way with a warm smile. This is when the fun begins. Everyone wants the best shots and start looking for subjects. The trick not to get the same shots as the photographer standing next to you and still not irritate the subject with a lens pushed into his face. Some photographers chat with them, some try to get candid snaps by catching them unawares, some ask straight fort, some bribe..and sometimes also get shooed off.!! Its interesting how people react to their few seconds of fame.
Meet the Pro.
We happen to bump into this extremely simple person riding a scooter and beaming brightly towards us. He actually started laughing when I pointed my lens to him. I was glad as the day was turning out to good for photography. He approached me and introduced himself as Mr. Milind Wadekar who is the organizer of this whole event. It was our turn to get surprised. A little chat and a few tips later, we were back to work with loads of luck and wishes from him.
End of day’s play.
It was a long day. Everyone was exhausted, weary and dead beat. Or were they ? No not a chance. To me everyone looked like they knocked a few years off their age in a day. Our meet was full of experiences and stories, incidents and jokes. From stubborn cops that wouldn’t laugh come what may to little kids who couldn’t stop smiling. From flat ‘NO’s to surprised ‘Aahs’. From chuckles, to rollicking guffaws to shy smiles, naughty grins..we had seen many faces of pune today.
It was finally Diwali and our exhibition was ready to roll. It was organized by ‘sakal’ the newspaper. It was held at Ganesh Kala Mandir in Pune on 5th, 6th and 7th of November. For me it was a great experience to my work being appreciated by a huge audience. It was the first public exhibition of my photos ever. We met a lot of people who were actually featured in those photographs. Also it was great way to catch-up with fellow photographers and friends and celebrate the festival of lights. I could see a myriad of expressions on people’s faces ranging between happy happier and happiest as they would walk through the hall. It was a good way to give back to the city some positive vibes, and a really brilliant way to do it, this whole 1000 smiles project.
My fav entries from other photographers, bravo Photographers @ pune…!!.
The last day of the exhibition was followed by a fire works show planned over the Z-Bridge bridge in the heart of Pune city. We were initially planning to celebrate our achievements over the past few days and make merry until we decided to cover the fireworks performance too. And it was nothing short of a visual treat..!!
Though the exhibition and fireworks were not related to each other, the show sounded like an apt ending to the actions of the past few days. It was this very moment that I retrospect the days gone by and the experiences that I simply have to share with the world. It was truly an adventure packed with a 1001 tales..!!