Gateway Photographers By The Taj Mahal Palace
Blog :Windy Skies
Date: 2/3/2012 6:12:00 PM
Watching crowds whiling away their evening at the Gateway Of India across the road from the legendary Taj Mahal Palace Hotel facing the Arabian Sea, I’m convinced that not all Mumbai local trains disgorge passengers on their way to work and back, some will send them on their way to Colaba for an evening by the sea, to be charmed by the historic monument and inspired by the survival of the majestic Taj Hotel in face of a relentless terrorist attack launched by Pakistani Islamists on 26/11.
And like a river down the bridge, time too has flown past even if in circles, the radius getting bigger with every circle completed, dampening the ripple the further it curves away from the epicentre but never quite deadening it.
And like a bubble, time grows bigger, and bigger, offering you a transitory view in the momentary cocoon each bubble builds before it breaks, leaving you with a memory of the fleeting moment.
It’s this fleeting moment many visitors to the seafront in Colaba seek to capture with their cameras. Those who cannot afford a camera or haven’t brought one along and wish to frame their day by the Taj and the Gateway will pose for a Gateway Photographer to have their picture taken for a fee.
For a time after the Islamist terrorist attacks on Mumbai the Gateway Photographers were nowhere to be seen. The police had shooed them away, against their wishes. Now they are back, their DSLRs, mostly Nikon, hanging from the neck and waving albums of pictures showing tourists posing by the Taj and the Gateway, pictures of pretty girls smiling into the camera, and beyond.
Every once in while a Gateway Photographer conscious of his looks will seek to make himself more presentable than the stiff breeze blowing in from the sea will allow him, using the camera preview screen for a mirror as he adjusts his hair and wipes his face clean of dust before walking back among milling crowds scouting for visitors looking to have their pictures taken.
He is their medium, the bridge between their moment and its memory.