By Promod Puri
Chandra Bodalia is a living legend in the South Asian community of B.C. The man who has captured “a million smiles” in the last over 25 years thru his zest for clicks, has also captured the hearts of the community.
Chandra-Bhai, as I affectionately call him, is an icon who is almost a permanent fixture in most of the community’s private or public social, political, and religious events. Cameras and equipment in his hands or hanging from both of his shoulders are part of his personality along with his cool and smiling nature.
He is a man of limited words but an unlimited heart. Photography has been his love but never a business.
My first acquaintance with Chandra-Bhai was back in the late ’70s when as publisher and editor of The Link I was impressed with his awesome artwork of designing the cover of Vishwa Hindu Parishad Diwali souvenir books. I also noticed his talents in photography. After this initial introduction, he had been an “official photographer” for The Link.
Over the years, Chandra-Bhai must had taken hundreds of pictures for The Link. And when he used to come to The Link office with his bag full of photos of a single event, I used to tell him why he took so many of them when we just needed one or two for an event. His reply was his smile, indicating that it was his passion, not a job.
But in those days, digital cameras were not yet invented or might be too expensive to buy. And Chandra-Bhai always bought rolls of film and spending his own money to develop them. He never billed for his expenses. Whatever was offered was accepted with generous “thanks”, as that has been part of his big heart temperament.
A man of liberal and friendly nature Chandra-Bhai is adored, respected and loved by all. He is indeed a pride of the community for his immense and selfless services.