Saturday, September 30, 2006

Durga Devi - 2

The only other Durga Devi mandal that I've seen in my immediate neighborhood. Its definitely not "the" festival in Mumbai. Kolkata I hear is the place to see it, but we have Ganpati! Two more days and then all of the Devi's will be sent to sea.
They are so violent looking... I will have to look up the story behind it all. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 29, 2006

peace haven

In Bandra there are all sorts of old Bungalows scattered around. I love these old buildings and wish that they would fix them up more rather than tear them down for high rises, but such is life. I have no idea what goes on at the "peace haven" but i always get the feeling its some sort of meditation centre or place for AA meetings! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Durga Devi

Finally got a photo of one of the Durga Devi Mandals. There aren't very many in my neighborhood.. and unfortunately I don't think this is the best, so I will try to find another one before they go off to sea! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


View from Khar Danda fishing village. I love being so close to the sea, even though it doesn't always smell so nice! It still is nice to sit by, listening to the waves and to feel the breeze. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bandra - Worli Sealink

Ever since I came to Mumbai I have heard of this bridge. I used to live on the Worli side and heard all the grumblings about it, and how it was going to ruin people's views of the sea, increase in traffic, etc. But now I live on the Bandra side and hear mostly positive remarks about how it will reduce traffic on the main thoroughfares through Bandra, etc. We shall see... But I was happy to see that something has been done on this long awaited and talked about bridge. Someday I will show you the finished product! Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bandra Fort

For the last few days, we have been having wonderful "indian summer" weather. It is getting hot again, but we've had blue skies with big white fluffy clouds (one of the things foreigners miss most living in polluted Mumbai!) Bandra Fort was the perfect place to take in the changing weather and enjoy the skies. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 24, 2006

bagels in bandra

Recently a wonderful new cafe opened in Bandra called the Bagel Shop. And the bagels are actually good!! I frequent this shop often, but its especially perfect for a sunday morning. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 23, 2006

another bicycle man

I'm not sure what it is with my and taking photos of bicycles! always have, and guess I always will. They use them here for so many things that i'm always amazed at how much they can transport. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 22, 2006

i'll pull, you push!

Luckily there aren't too many hills in Mumbai, otherwise these guy's job would be even more difficult! Between these guys and a bus coming the other direction I was stuck in traffic for ages - oh but such is life in this wild city!! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Kafee walla

The area I live is the best place in the city to get a cup of South Indian filter coffee. It's made with one-part milk to one-part water and is generally sticky sweet. The combination of the sugar and caffeine, plus the frothy milk, refreshes like none other. The kafee walla noticed my camera as I had a cup and asked to have his photo taken. I'm glad he asked.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

lone beauty

Mumbai doesn't get a lot of props for its architecture. Its colonial grandure is architecturally eclectic to say the least and its post-independence buildings are generally functionalist, modern and drab. But every now and again I pass a really attractive building. This pre-indendence apartment building is on the west side of Mahim and there's something about it that catches my fancy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Green on the outside

Most of our photos show the dense, vibrant urban spaces of Mumbai, but we haven't really shown you what lies just outside. From within the city, it seems hard to believe that emerald green hills lie just to the east and are really only an hour's drive away. This weekend, I managed to make a trip into the Sayadhri Mountains (aka Western Ghats). The area is thick and lush at the moment (as the monsoons are winding down) but in a few months, the landscape will become brown, dry and baren.

Monday, September 18, 2006


All of the sudden these signs have started popping up near my house. The lane that the signs are on is a nice tree lined road, but full of traffic. Some of these signs show a person drowning, others show cars under water. I have no idea what these are for, if it is really GreenPeace and I have no idea what they are trying to say! This lane tends to get terribly flooded in the monsoons, so maybe thats what they are trying to raise awareness about, i don't know. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 17, 2006


These guys sit on the side of the road near Khar subway everyday making their chatai (woven mats, blinds, baskets, etc). You can buy the mats in nicer home furnishing stores or you can go straight to the source and have it made exactly as you want! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 16, 2006

nazar utarna

Many parents put this black dot somewhere on the child's face to keep away the evil eye or jealousy. Some people who don't want to be so obvious about believing in this suspicion will hide the black dot somewhere, perhaps behind the ear! You will also often see newborn babies with kajal (black eye liner) all over their eyes - this is also to keep away the evil spirits. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 15, 2006

where's that umbrella?

Everytime I leave the house without my umbrella it starts pouring - seems like it's been happening to lots of people the last few days! I was told today by an Indian woman that this is the end of the rain, we'll see if her predictions are correct! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 14, 2006

caught by surprise!

You know how in many parts of the world you have no idea what the weather is going to be like so you watch the morning or evening news to see the days weather? Well here there is really no need, except at the beginning and end of monsoon! Unfortunately I don't think I've ever even seen a weather section on the news here - unless its a major story - because our weather is so predictable most of the year. Except today - it hasn't really rained much recently so many people have started to feel that monsoon is over - except its not!! Many people including this delivery man and myself of course, got caught unaware and got soaked! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

sari'ed women

Today I was travelling from one meeting to the next so I didn't see anything except from out of the rikshaw window! I just loved how colourful these women were and luckily I was able to snap fast enough to catch them! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

free phone?

I always see these guys with the phone box open, phone out chatting away. It never seems to be a short conversation which you would expect if he was just fixing a phone line... so I always wonder do they just choose someone's line and have a go?! Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 11, 2006

the magic bus

Today I got to ride the magic bus! Magic Bus is a local non profit organization that works with children in slum areas through recreation and sport. These kids were singing and having a blast on the bus on the way to the park. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 10, 2006

thirsty kya?

Today I spent the day at Madh-Marve Beach in the northern part of Mumbai. At this time in the day it was empty as its getting hot again. I really have no clue what these drinks are, but I just always like them and thought they looked nice in front of the Arabian Sea crashing only feet away. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Lunch Time

I'm not sure how I feel about this ubiquitous Mumbai scene. There are a lot of temples (mostly Jain and South Indian Hindu) in my neighborhood and each temple has at least one cow. While some are tied up in front to receive offerings from devotees, others wander the streets. They are generally left alone and are clearly well fed on the many overflowing trash bins. But it can't be good for them, eh?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Flower Market

I'm posting one more shot of yesterday's trip to the Matunga flower market. This is my favorite place in the entire city - the smell of jasmine is so intoxicating - I felt it deserved two posts.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Back to the Daily Grind

I passed this smiling man on my way through the Matunga flower market today and had to take his photo. The phule wallas (flower sellers) had a lot of work to do over the past ten days, making giant flower garlands and the like for the Ganpatis. I think he was happy to just pass his time arranging flowers without the added festival pressure.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Visarjan and then some...

I'm sure you're all officially sick of Ganesh Chaturthi. Well you're in luck then because tonight is the final night...the virsarjan, when the big ganpatis are taken out to sea in elaborate processionals and immersed in the water. Some of you have asked what happens to the Ganesh idols once they're immersed. Well, they're just left out there to dissolve and decompose. It's actually an environmental nightmare, to tell you the truth, though the situation is beginning to change. The paints and dyes on the idols are actually pretty toxic and damaging to the seas and lakes, prompting the Chennai High Court to even pass a temporary ban on immersions. But "eco-friendly" idols are catching on, although I'm not really sure who's certifying them or what the standards are.

But tonight, we don't take on such heady matters, we just enjoy the party. I had so many nice shots of tonight's revelry, but the colors in this one will make you want to dance in your computer chairs!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dada's Ganpati

Most Ganesh Mandals are sponsored by either organizations or individuals. Political leaders, housing societies, charitable institutions and youth groups get together and raise money to buy the Ganesh statue (which can cost hundred of thousands of rupees), and usually donate something to charity as well. This mandal, which has been in the neighborhood of Matunga for 54 years, was originally sponsored by Varadarajan Mudaliar, a.k.a. Vardhabhai. Vardhabhai was one of Mumbai's most notorious dadas (gangsters) and is the subject of several Hindi and Tamil "Godfather-like" films. Though he passed away fifteen years ago, his family carries on the tradition. He is memorialized in the photo, which sits almost as prominently as the Ganesh statue.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Ganesh in Every Corner

During Ganapati Mahotsav, Ganesh Mandals appear in unlikely places. I came upon this one just walking down one of the narrow bylanes of Dharavi (Mumbai's largest informal housing and industrial settlement). What I found sort of comical as I squeezed past this mandal is that Ganesh is the "remover of obstacles."

Today I got an email with the following statistics:
7,000 mandals that are registered
5,000 number of unregisetred mandals in city

75,000 - 1 lakh (100,000) estimated daily crowd at large manadals
35,000 to 45,000 estimated daily crowd at medium-sized mandals
5,000 estimated daily crowd at small madals

Sunday, September 03, 2006

View from the Water

While the eleventh day is reserved for immersing the big Ganeshes, immersion of the smaller ones has been going on all week (as shown in yesterday's photo of the procession). This shot was taken at Chowpatty Beach, one of the city's prime dunking areas. These boys looked very somber as they lead Ganesh out the sea. Most others dance, splash around, and build human pyramids (like on Janmashtami) while doing the job.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

a sneak peak on day 7

Its coming closer by the day... what? the final day of ganpati where the roads are basically filled with people taking their ganesh to the sea. Today is day 7 and there are more and more processions starting. (Basically people can choose how many days to "keep" ganpati 1 1/2, 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11) Here is the first procession I saw today in clips. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 01, 2006

planet ganesh

Every time you go to visit a Ganesh Mandal they give you a handful of sweets. I don't even know what some of the stuff is, but after seeing several mandals in a row you get full. Last year it seemed like they gave lots of banana's but this year all i seem to get is the sweets! Posted by Picasa