Cameraman based in Edinburgh, employed by ITN, working for ITV's Good Morning Britain covering stories all over the UK and the world. War Zones, World Cups, Royal Tours and many other less exciting assignments, like interviewing current and ex Prime Ministers have kept me busy over the years working in Breakfast Television since GMTV came on the scene back in '93 and regional TV before that. In 2009 I began to record what it is like to work, the often strange and long hours needed to bring the hard news, human interest and fluffy fun to the UK's TV screens in the morning, mostly broadcasting live.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Homeless in downtown Delhi

Wednesday 25th

Stepping out of the air conditioned hotel through the heavily steamed up glass doors out into the grey sticky morning was like entering a big sauna room.

The humidity struck us like being hit by a big hot sponge dipped in glue.

My first thought was for the camera and the dreaded humid warning.

There was a long enough journey to one of the building sites near the Jawahar Lal Nehru Commonwealth Games main stadium in the car without the air conditioning on to allow the camera to get used to the climate.

We did a little interview about the conditions that the building workers were having to endure to get the venues and accommodation finished before the start of the games.

I then did a couple of shots inside one of the makeshift shacks some of the men were living in.

It was absolutely unbelievable. They are living in things built out of sheets of metal for fencing and similar bits of rusty metal on piles of old bricks were their beds.

The "beds" were covered, or rather part covered with some cheap rough blankets.

Then I did some shots of the workers on the site next to the stadium.

They included a small group of men women and children. All of them were in normal clothes. The kids in bare feet were running around as the men scraped earth into shallow bowls that the women put on their heads, carried them a few meters and tipped out onto a small pile in the road.

The people at work.

Shooting the workers.

In one of Delhi's back streets we met the women that spend their day creating colourful and fragrant flower garlands.

The ladies in there colourful saris to complement the pretty flowers were sitting around piles of rubble that had been their somewhat humble homes for the past twenty years.

The flattened area is what is left of her home.

They had been built on to the back wall of a row of proper houses and took up part of the road.

The small brick structures had been demolished because they were regarded as being eyesores.

Even though these long term squats had been turned into a pile of scruffy bricks the families are still living there.

They have nowhere else to go.

Grainne did an interview with two of the ladies about their plight.

They told a moving story with resignation and understated anger.

I then filmed the ladies beside the slowly diminishing piles of red roses as they made their garlands.

One of the ladies shows Grainne how to make a garland.

Glenn the sound recordist was having a nightmare time. Delhi is not the best sound environment to record sensitive interviews.

There was a constant sound track of blaring horns, revving engines and car alarms for him to deal with.

I on the other hand was in cameraman heaven.

Everywhere I turned there was another colourful, exciting and interesting image, often heart rending.

Our next stop was at a railway crossing at the other side of the stadium to do a piece to camera with Grainne.

It was a mad scene when a train was about to approach and the level crossing barrier came down.

All it did was to slow down the throng crossing the track.

Those on foot just ducked under the rusty barrier and sauntered over the railroad.

Those with push bikes, scooters and motor bikes were slowed down a little bit more.

They had to stop, get off their bikes, tip them to the side and push them under the single pole with the big stop sign on it.

Those with four or three wheels in the form of rickshaws or little "tuk tuk" vehicles had to stop. They patienty waited for the long freight train to pass.

Waiting as the train passes.

As often happens when doing a piece to camera with anyone but is a guarantee when a beautiful woman is involved, we attracted a bit of a crowd.

Contrary to most expectations the kids, teenagers and adults in the small gathering were not in the least a nuisance, just curious.

There's always one!

Sometimes there are two!

Going up to the crossing.

It had been a busy morning at last lunchtime had arrived.

Rohit took us to the Indian Press club for a fantastic lunch of curried delicacies.

The Press Club entrance.


The smallest menu I've ever seen.

Glenn and Ian get stuck in.

Grainne and Rohit break to have a talk.

Our emotions were given another hard tug at the next stop.

Rohit drove us to the bustling poorer part of the city where we were going to meet a pair of ladies that had been thrown into a beggars "jail".

The road outside the homeless building.

They had been stuck in there allegedly to clean the place up before the games.

They had managed to get out and were now living in a homeless shelter in the Baharganj area of the city.

The homeless shelter.

Ian chats to Grainne as Glenn mics her up before we go into the shelter.

Up the filthy dark stairs populated by a fine mist of mosquitos we went into a large echoing room with large windows on three sides, some of them were not broken.

A man was busy sweeping up. The only furnishings were some what looked like painted oil drums and a few dark blankets.

Oh, and just one other thing, there was a old TV sitting on the top of one of the oil drums.

Homeless in Delhi is not fun.

The two women, a mother and daughter were again wearing colourful saris.

They told a harrowing story of degradation, corruption and sexual harassment whilst they were in the resettlement hostel.

The faces of the ladies tells the story.

After the interview, which had stunned us all I needed to get some shots of the people in the room.

I did not quite have as much time as I would have liked.

"The mosquitos are starting to bite now", said Rohit, adding, "and they could have dengue or malaria."

Once he said that and advised a hasty departure I knocked off a couple of quick shots and followed the other guys who were already making for the street.

In the short but intense time we had seen and experience the most truly incredible sights.

One in particular that will live in my memory for a long time was outside this homeless shelter just before we went in.

A small girl around perhaps three years old came out carrying a piece of dirty purple cloth.

Like almost all the Delhi poor kids we had seen she was barefooted, but also she was totally naked.

After the heavy rains there were lots of filthy muddy puddles. She skip-splashed through a couple of them out on to the street where she playfully flicked her large rag at a white cow peacefully resting on the dusty broken up pavement. She then walked to the edge of the road and squatted down to pee.

When she was finished up she got and skipped back into the building.

The last part of the days job was at a roadside workers camp.

Near the city centre cows are happy in the road.

We arrived as the sun went down. The workers were still out at their various Commonwealth Games related building sites around the city.

There were women and lots of kids around.

We then did an interview with a woman who was unable to work after getting sick, another story of misery.

Ian, Grainne and Rohit chat about the plight of the people in the camp.

Kids pose outside their tarpaulin tent homes.

Kids everywhere pick their noses. It's no different in Delhi.

What future for this beautiful girl?

We left the camp as night drew on feeling in slight awe of what the people we had seen were putting up with yet still managing to have a large degree of personal dignity and pride.

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