Upon returning to the site in the last two days, I have been discovering a number of new shops which I had not seen open before. I found that a number of these people were away for the kavad yatra and have just returned to reopen their shops. There is a photo studio, phone recharge shop, metal workshop, and other shops on the site. I struck up a casual conversation with the photo studio guy, Sachin today. When I was talking to him, a number of people from the surrounding shops kept dropping by as they are all compatriots and hang out with each other all day long, the concept of private space is a bit more fluid. Sachin come from Bihar close to the city of Manger. He said his village is close to the border with Jharkhand where the hilly terrain of Bihar begins. His shop has two cells, a shopfront bustling with photos and a backspace that is a studio room where he makes his photos. He told me that he has been in the community since the last 8 years and the rent then used to be a mere 600 Rs, which is now more than 4000. He was really attracted by cameras since he was a kid and he would get a spark in his eye whenever he would spot one. He picked up his first point and shoot camera about 10 years ago, a black Kodak film camera which he said he bought for 150 Rs and used to take pictures of his sister's wedding.
He felt really nice when he did that. He says that although this camera is of no use anymore he still stores it in his shop. He tells me that he is strictly into digital photography. There are pictures on the wall of famous people and celebrities. I ask him jokingly if he took them, to which he tells me that he bought them at Red Fort (a camera market in Chandni Chowk close by). His walls are full of these photos. There are many others of people, or also photos of photos which he photoshops on all kinds of backgrounds. He says whenever people do not come to pick up their pictures for a long while he puts them up on the wall as show items. Then there are some pictures of him, one prominent one from the recent Kavad Yatra. At this point Sumedha arrives, and he tells me and Sumedha about the Kavad Yatra. He says he took a train to Haridwar took water from there and walked up to a shrine in Rishikesh to offer it. Then he returned to Delhi walking. He says however he is not sure how many days it took him and which route he took, as he was perpetually high. So was everyone else he adds. Curiously, there is a beautiful urdu wall mural just above it. When we ask him about it, he shrugs and tells us that he is not a muslim, he doesn't know what it means. There is a very jerky response to our naive question, reflecting the polarisation that is playing out on the national political stage perhaps.
We peep inside and the walls are covered with wallpapers of beautiful houses with rows of flowers in front of them. We admire it and ask if he got it painted, he tells us that one can buy these for a thousand rupees at that shop close to Red Fort. He changes the backdrop every Diwali and he tries to buy ones with flowers as people from Kapashera don't see flowers otherwise. Just above him is a picture of a woman posing in front of the backdrop in a Kashmiri gown and with roses in front of her.
He tells us that he clicks photos, photoshops them and then once a day some one from Karol Bagh comes to collect them from him. He then gets the photos delivered back to him. He either then puts them in a frame, or in an album and gives it to his clients. He shows us a photo series that he had done on the birthday of a kid from 'Pappu's colony', happy kids and happy parents celebrating with a cake that sachin won't eat as it has egg in it.