10 Feb 2010

Dr Dadabhai Naoroji Road




Work Space Mumbai Series: Thick Skin

Every job has its tools, methods and dress code. This man goes from shop to shop with his whip and inflicts pain on his bare back hoping that people will pay for his effort.

He's dressed like a woman because he's supposed to be possessed by a Devi. He uses the whip to crack open the skin and let the blood seep out, symbolising that the Devi's spirit has been freed.


Also see this interesting link called Itinerants of Mumbai (Thanks Ajay Patil aka Weekend Brushstrokes for the link)


10 comments:

Abhijit said...

Nice cultural shot! This man is called as KADAK-LAXMI in our locla lang :-)

SloganMurugan said...

Thank you Abhijit. what a wonderful name!
I just added a few more lines about the same _ 'Kadak laxmi'. I wonder what they are called in other languages. They were common in the South too.

magiceye said...

things people have to do for a living...
amazing

Iniyaal said...

Thank god.. you did not take a picture of him in action. I have seen folks like him in Chennai. It is bad that people have to inflict pain to earn a living.

siddarth said...

ouch :(

Ajay Patil said...

nice shot. there must be his wife with him playing dholki (drum) with stick and this guy whips himself to that tune

SloganMurugan said...

This fellow was a lone ranger, i guess. His wife wasn't around.

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Actually when I was young, I would be scared to death when I heard the sound of the dholki that Ajay mentioned. In Hyderabad, there would even be a baby - who looked extremely malnourished - being carried around. I think I was so afraid that the baby would get whipped. Years later I figured out that it's a skill - the guy doesn't even touch himself! And the 'blood' has been painted on from before!

Sid said...

One of the most lasting images on Bombay that I have. When these folks used to make rounds in our locality, I used to be so enamored by how they manage to do it. My granddad had told me that they don't actually hit themselves but I have yet to catch a close glimpse of how they actually manage it. Too scared to get close!
Very nice picture, brings back lots of memories. Didn't know he was called kadak laxmi.

SloganMurugan said...

Corinne: Yes. I'm sure that they also use paint. :)

Sid: They rely on the noise of the whiplash for effect. That can be scary. And Kadak laxmi is an interesting name.

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