For the next adventurous #LifeInSurat blog post we decided to follow Drashtikon (Surat Photography Artisans) on their photowalk to the famous - "Shanivari Market" (Saturday Market).
Place – Shanivari Market
Explorers – Rahul Kedia & Puja Kedia with Drashtikon Surat
Photographs By - Puja Kedia
Must Visit for – Bargain Shoppers, Culture Enthusiasts, Street Photographers.
Avoid If – Agoraphobic (fear or crowds), Cleanliness Freaks, Brand Conscious.
Facebook Link – Click Here
Drashtikon (Surat Photography Artisans) is an online community of photography enthusiasts from Surat. Famous for their weekend photowalks, the group now has around 1800 followers on Facebook. A community to learn, share & explore photography.
So, the plan was made. The call time for the photowalk was 6.30 in the morning. We made it to the venue on time in spite of a little wondering around... We were greeted by the ever smiling Chittranjan and Neha at the venue. This absolutely lovely couple is the best company one can ask for on such excursions. Chittranjan with his hilarious one lines and Neha with her warm and loving smile proved to be an absolutely fabulous company for the first half of the morning. This is what the entrance to the Shanivari Market looked like when we reached -
The place where the market happens is not a street, it is not a square and it is not within a building... it is just an open space between two bridges across the river (Tapti water front between Makkai Bridge and the new Hope Bridge).
After waiting for around half an hour or so for other Drashtikonians to turn up we finally got started with our Photowalk. This is a sign board just at the entarnce of the market -
As you enter the market the first thing you should be very aware of is that walking in this market is like playing french cricket !!! Anything can get you from any direction.... Your eyes must continuously be scouting for things coming your way and legs must be continuously engaged in dodging them... Things of all sizes just wooooooh pass you as if they have an inbuilt ferrari engine !!!
When i finally got used to the 'quick-one-step-here-and-quick-second-step-there' situation 5 minutes later, i found these two guys selecting a nail paint of color matching with their t-shirts....
The visual experience of this market totally depends on who you are, why you are here and what you are here for... Just as your eyes search for a special buy, your ears listen intently to the prices being shouted by the vendors as they deftly move their hands and raise their voices to attract customers. There is something for everyone... you just need to find the needle in this haystack.
It was a lot of fun listening to the one liners from Chittu Bhai (as he is fondly called) from time to time and watching Neha in action. Chittu bhai has a way of making people around him super comfortable with his legendary sense of humor and warm persona. And the dedication with which he and Neha are there for every photowalk by Drashtikon is really commendable. This is Neha in action -
Also i adore these two guys so much that i absolutely had to do a portrait of them... so i made them pose for me :)
Shanivari Market in the mean while was also showing me its vast expanses... And i was asking myself questions like - are these registered traders ??? How many households would this market be directly or indirectly serving ??? For how long in the history has this market been sustaining itself ??? And more importantly... what is the foreseeable future of this bazaar ???
I did not get answers to any of these questions i had... But i did put these questions up, in front of Manoj. Manoj who is also an active member of Drashtikon is an authority on Surat City (Check his photo blog on Surat here. He has been an inspiration for us). We had been meaning to meet him for very long and were finally excited to discuss this #LifeInSurat Project with him at length during this photowalk. He gave us really valuable insights and we look forward to associating with him for the future posts. This is a portrait of him i clicked during the photowalk... this portrait sort of symbolises him... i am sure he will understand what i mean :)
These are a few colorful pictures i shot at the Shanivari Bazaar... pictures which try to catch the essence of what this market is all about... pictures which maybe, represent what this market stands for -
This is the final group photo that happened with Drashtikon when we returned to the starting point after wandering in the market for around two hours or so...
It was then the time to disperse... but i had a really good time with Drashtikonians at the photowalk and look forward to more of such opportunities in the near future. It is really great to be amongst such an enthusiastic and energetic group of people. Thank You Drashtikon and Thank You Chittu Bhai, Neha and Manoj for an absolutely amazing time at the Bazaar. Adios.