Hello! I am back ? this time with no teachings or tips but an experience. An experience from one of my assignment: A Fishy fishy morning at the Sassoon Dock, Mumbai. It is the best fish market in Mumbai. Why did I choose to write this? Because, this assignment will help you understand what kind of circumstances as a photographer you bump in, what should be your idea to tackle them and still keep your mind calm and stay up with creativity.
A morning at the Sassoon Dock, Mumbai
It was back in January 2016 when I happened to be in Mumbai for few of my assignments and one of those were documenting the life at Sassoon Dock, Mumbai. A place most talked about because of the range at which the trade is done by a community, a heaven for the photographer to capture stories and life of the same.
It was a Sunday morning and as I entered the Sassoon Dock, Mumbai I started absorbing the environment which was completely new to me. It was my first encounter with such a huge fish market. And, trust me it wasn’t a piece of cake to just go there, shoot and come back. I was filled with mixed emotions when I saw fishes all over the place, fish blood on the roads and the typical smell of fisheries. Fishy fishy morning it was, as I was feeling really pathetic on how we humans can just trade of a living being for our good. Initially, I felt really inhuman seeing how people were treating the fishes. Some were dead lying in a basket, some which they caught recently perplexed for life and so on. All of this just left me numb and I stood in one corner and started to observe the activities around.
As I started seeing things with another perspective of life and life-cycle, I could see ongoing food chain which is maintaining the balance of nature and justifying with the laws of nature. The fisherman from the big boats, who were living away from home for on an average of 13-14 days serving the livelihood of the family back home. Working in scorching heat transferring the fishes from boat to cold storage and then back for sale. It showed me the hard work, sacrifice, and commitment for life which are way bigger values. Apart from the fishermen, the Sassoon Dock, Mumbai was offering a place for living for many hawkers selling tea, vada pavs, snacks etc. When I started seeing the bigger picture through my heart and eyes all of it did make sense to me. I then got pumped up about documenting all these values and the life happening at the Sassoon Dock.
Learning a little bit of Marathi when I was in Pune for my graduation helped me interact with the people at the Sassoon Dock. I started talking them about when did they leave to sail, what were they going to do next once fishes are brought at one place, and asked aunties about the kind of fishes they were selling. I was sitting and listening to their stories and how they feel coming to the Sassoon Dock every day; some of them have been there for the past 30 years. It felt so good to be there and getting to know the other side of their lives too.
I then went towards the side where they make fishnets. It felt like there is one whole huge department allotted just to make nets. They will have this huge array of ropes tied from one end of the lane to the other and the way they manage to not mess with the ropes was spectacular. I was thinking how I could hardly keep my earphones untangled and these people were peacefully making humungous nets!
After all this hard work, you could still see the people at the dock happy and how they take out time for their recreational activities. I could see a group of men playing carrom, and another group laughing and playing cards; a group of women singing while some chit-chatting in their small groups. I then thought how important it is for all of us to take some time out from our daily routine or whatever work we do to keep up the zeal. Why is it so hard for us to pick some ME TIME? I think it is the need of every human, so just try giving yourself some ME TIME and you will notice the difference.
The two-hour walk in the Sassoon Dock was a walk that showed me different frames and perceptions of life. I understood that it’s very important to be mentally calm when you end up in situations like these. It helps you realize and see things in a better way. This is the only advice I would love to give you. Keep calm and shoot ?