Why I got together with a few friends to celebrate Diwali and Shashiq’s birth
Get together shashikas shayarikas, Diwala shashiqi bachh, shashibai shashiyya, shashiabhai shashiya, mongali shashika, diwali shashiqi, shakti chachh.
Diwal, a popular street name in Bhopal, was once the epicenter of a huge community of the wealthy and the well-connected.
In this photo taken by Suman Das, a man who was once part of this community of people from Bhopals neighbourhood, he sits on the floor.
Suman Das with his daughter, who he met during his stint as a taxi driver in Bhujpur.
He has a heart of gold, and he has been known to make special requests for people to meet him at his house, where he has a private room.
A family member of Suman’s, who had a similar experience with his father, says he is very much inspired by the community he came to know.
“My father has been a part of the community.
My mother is also a part and has always been there,” the man said.
“We would go for our daily japa to our home and have our meals there.
We would have a nice time and relax, and we would have this big party where everyone is there to celebrate.”
When I came to Bhopali for the first time, my first question was how do I meet people from different backgrounds?
How do I find common ground?
The question I wanted to ask was, ‘How do I make friends with people from my background?’
I asked myself these questions in every meeting I ever had.
My father’s story, his upbringing, his background in Bhojpuri culture, and his work in the taxi industry have been very important to me, I thought.
I am not a political person and I do not take political views very seriously, but I have always respected the rights of other communities.
I was never an activist, I had no political views, but my family’s background and my own political activism gave me a perspective.
I have a strong connection to people like my father and to people of other backgrounds.
Every time I go to Bhuvanes, I always ask the people of Bhopala, how can I make my voice heard?
How can I be a voice for them?
I do ask people, how do you feel about the politics of this country?
How does the situation on the ground change if the political leaders keep on talking about the people’s issues and not really doing anything?
People like my mother are part of that, my father too.
We have a lot of common ground.
We are very close and we share a lot in common.
My dad has a big heart and is very patriotic.
He never wanted me to become an activist.
He always had a vision and always wanted me as an advocate for people from other backgrounds, too.
I always had his support.
I was always there for him.
The fact that I came here in my mid-20s to be part of a large community has given me a lot more power than I thought I would get.
I feel very lucky to be here.
I think I am a role model for a lot other people in Bhatta.
This is my first time meeting people from a different background.
This is my chance to meet people who have the same aspirations and dreams.
I want to show them that I am ready to change their lives, too, so that we can all live better lives together.