Portraits From The Street – Bhubaneswar: Benudhara Sahu: The MJ of Cops!
A hot, sultry afternoon and I’m returning home after errands, and I see one of the most interesting characters on the streets of Bhubaneswar, going about his business as usual.
Six months after his story became front page news across all leading dailies, Benudhara Sahu, ‘the cop with the dancing shoes on’ is still the same humble man he’s always been.
As I flag him down for a chat, his cheerful and down-to-earth personality immediately comes to the fore, visible in his smile even as we sweat buckets due to the humidity.
“I’m inspired by the fleet of vehicles and the pace of everyday life. Quick reflexes are required when you manage one of the busiest intersections on the city”, he says, when asked about his dance movements and his motivation for them.
On the topic of dance becoming more of a permanent fixture in his life he presents an amused countenance, reminding me of his age. We chuckle together. His strong work ethic and his passion for his work is capable of inspiring many. The man loves his job, dutifully discharging them and his quirky nature bringing a smile on the harried faces of commuters who pass by him every day.
He surprises me as he reveals his dab at artistic pursuits. Paintings of Lord Jagannath, Maa Laxmi and more adorn the walls of his house, lovingly painted by him. His shy expression as we speak about his new found celebrity status and him being a hot topic in Bhubaneswar speaks volumes about the kind person he is.
As we part ways, I ask him for one last quote. A piece of advice, if you will. In his answer, he impresses upon me – and by extension the lakhs of commuters who ply upon the roads – the importance of maintaining alertness in alacrity.
“There’s loved ones waiting for you out there. Think of them as you drive.”
About the Initiative – Portraits from the Street
When we started documenting Odisha for it’s remarkable stories – we looked for the obvious – places to eat, monuments, places to shop etc. Over time, we felt compelled to document and share real stories that make a city what it is – its people and create an exhaustive catalogue of smaller towns and people living there.
Portraits from the street is an attempt to get you unheard of stories from people’s lives and give a sneak-peek behind the endless tales etched on faces. It’s an effort to document real people, real struggle, real wins and some incomprehensible losses. Who knows what might end up inspiring us or even better, changing us altogether.
[Photo & Story Courtesy: Subhojit Hazra]