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visualwhiplash Family Portraits| Mumbai - Raji is twenty-three, homeless, and has lived on the street the entirety of his existence. He is now raising two kids of his own, on the same street where he grew up, adjacent to the Gateway of India. He says that he has no life; it is only about making money and food. We sleep on the street, the police come at night and beat us, throw away our belongings. No reasons – this area belongs to the government. But I get up every day, try to make money, and bring my family food.

As we talk longer, I ask him, if he was able to do anything he wanted, what would he do? He clearly is confused by the question, and lists a number of things he tries to make money at. I attempt to ask this several different ways – and finally he understands, saying simply – I don’t dream like that, I simply would do anything to take care of my family.
Raji has a very accepting and calm manner about him. In fact, when I crushed an ant that had been on my hand, he chastised me for doing so, saying that even a small life is a life – it must be treated with respect. Without doubt, I felt both stupid and humbled. Oct 2012

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