Dispatches: Zaveri Bazaar

“I thought about you too because that’s exactly where we were that evening with the photographer and your friend.”

That what the email read, in response to the one that I sent to my friend and colleague, Anil, in Mumbai, after the bomb blasts tore through Zaveri bazaar last week.

Another week, another area of the world that I’ve visited that has seen needless and senseless killing, natural or premeditated.

That evening was in October 2009, the first time I was in India. Me and the photo team had been in India for a few days. We started in Mumbai for a few days, flew out to Chandigarh for a few more, then came back to Mumbai to finish up the trip.

The photographer I was working with, Elizabeth, and the art director, my friend Stephen Doyle, wanted to go to Zaveri Bazaar to hunt for some jewelry pieces. Zaveri Bazaar is home to largest jewelry and gold trade in the city. It’s dingy, crowded, tight, and visited by over a million people a day. Close-circuit video cameras dot the 70 year old buildings but to no avail. The market has been hit by terrorists before, in 1993 and 2003.

That’s my friends in the above photo, the ones with the bag straps across their backs.

That evening, it was bustling, crowded. People carrying huge packages shared the streets with cars and motorbikes which shared the street with large oxen pulling cart, some empty now after a day of work.

It was early evening, and it was crowded. Women in colorful sari’s chattered away to each other, walking quickly, home, maybe.

It was a little more than a year earlier, in 2008, that there were 10 coordinated shootings and bombings across Mumbai, including one at the Taj Mahal Hotel, the hotel we were staying at on this trip. With so many people around, and so much opportunity to create havoc, you can see why terrorists groups would like to target this city.

Anil and I trailed behind Elizabeth and Stephen. Neither of us were interested in shopping for jewelry. He was being the good colleague, playing tour guide to the team from the United States. I just wanted to keep walking around, taking it all in, and shoot.

The “13/7 blasts” – as last week’s bombings are now being called – killed at least 21 people. A manhunt is on to catch the terrorists that planted the bombs.

Hopefully, for my friend Anil and the rest of Mumbai, life returns to it’s wonderful, chaotic, normal soon.

Here’s a short clip I shot of walking through Zaveri Bazaar.

© Mark V. Krajnak 2011 | JerseyStyle Photography | All rights Reserved
Unless otherwise noted, images captured with a Canon 50D, SanDisk digital film, finished with PS4 or PSE6 and Nik Software.

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