Sunday, December 31, 2006

om, shanti, om

A littly blurry, but peaceful wish for the New Years. Happy New Year's Eve!
(OM is said "oohhmm", often chanted during meditation and is a symbol seen all over India from necklace ornaments, tshirts, and of course on religious buildings) Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Book seller

All along the streets of Mumbai you will find young boys selling pirate copies of the latest books. Its usually a pretty good deal too if you can bargin them down. Since I told this boy that I already had most of his books, he asked for a photo instead of a sale! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 29, 2006

arrival at Chaatrapati Shivaji International

It's always a little scary to arrive in Mumbai, especially if you are coming from abroad as most of the flights arrive from 11 pm to 3 am! This is a pretty mellow scene compared to some nights! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 28, 2006

star sighting

As part of my "work" I was able to go with a group of girls who live in a group home for a movie outing. During the afternoon the girls spotted a famous singer/actress who was very happy to spend some time with the girls. I'm not sure if her name is Rageshwari or if that is the name of her new cd.... but here she is surrounded by the girls! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

mumbai traffic

I always wonder how I can get a photo of the traffic situation in Mumbai and today I was riding in a big bus that gave me a bird's eye view of it all. This is a common site. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

the cost of growth

There is currently a major push in Mumbai to repair roads, widen roads, put in new water lines, etc - and as part of that some buildings are coming under fire by the BMC (bombay Municipal corporation). This church on Hill Road is currently protesting against a plan to widen the road, taking over half of their cemetary. BMC will probably win though... Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 25, 2006


I completely forgot about MDP today, so this is from yesterday! Another wish for Merry Christmas! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Another manger - with full on lights and an Indian touch! Everyone keeps calling them "cribs" whereas I am used to them being called nativity scenes. Perhaps due to the difference in the type of Christianity I've been exposed to?
Very pretty and created by children at the orphanage Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas (from HSBC)

Today while I was out doing last minute Christmas shopping I came across a huge group of santa hats floating down the street. I stopped to take a photo of a few of them with "Santa". They said they were from HSBC, but since I had a rickshaw waiting I couldn't figure out what they were doing on the roadside! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 22, 2006

nativity scene

I liked this little nativity scene outside of Jude's "one stop shop" (selling garden supplies, liquor and fresh cut meats!). At first glance it looked a bit odd to me, but after further inspection I guess it is proper!
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Our Christmas tree

Since I am stuck in the Bangalore airport due to a 3 hour flight delay, I figured I better post something before the day is finished! Here is a photo of our christmas tree before the cats destroyed it! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Frantic Hill Road

Like I mentioned before Hill Road is the place in the northern suburbs for Christmas decoration shopping, but its also "the" place for shopping for everyday items. With the current construction taking up half of the road it has become very hectic. This is the view from Elco Arcade (the best Pani puri on this side of town!) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

santa and his reindeer

Another 5 star's Christmas decorations. This one is at the Oberoi. I thought it was hilarous that they went the full 9 yards with snow and everything. This is not what Mumbaikers think of Christmas I'm sure - as it is not a reality for them. I think it would have been better to have a beach scene or maybe santa with a shawl! Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 18, 2006

wedding lights!

Its wedding season and you would be hard pressed to find any neighborhood in Mumbai not celebrating one right now. Yesterday there was a wedding celebration in this building, or on the roof with lots of dancing, bollywood music and fireworks. I like to think the lights are for Christmas, but its an all Muslim building, so I think it is only for the wedding and will be taken down soon. But we can pretend can't we?! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas at the JW Marriott

All of the western hotels are now fully decorated for Christmas. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 16, 2006

absolute chaos

I don't think it really comes through in this photo, but one of the unique things in Mumbai is the absolute chaos on the roads! My favorite traffic snarl is the jigsaw puzzle as I call it. Basically it was this - every single vehicle squeezes in every single space, no matter which direction the other cars are going. And then we are left with chaos... people honking their horns like mad, everyone packed in with nowhere to go and me sitting in the rikshaw laughing b/c only this can happen in India! No one is patient enough to let another person go in front of them, so then no one gets to go! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 15, 2006

view from my height

If I am lucky this is the view I get on the packed train compartments. Most often all I see are armpits though! But sometimes I just can't get to the women's compartment fast enough so I jump on with the men. Women can ride in any car and sometimes being foreign in the 1st class men's compartment isn't so bad! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Waiting at Mumbai Central train station for my fixed computer. Just liked the reflection of McDonalds on all the sleepy people who are waiting for their long distance trains. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

good earth

This photo is from a lovely (but terribly expensive) store in Lower Parel called Good earth. they have all the great "Indian" home accessories one could ask for, but at London prices! I just like to go in and browse - I know eventually I'll find the actual artisans of the items I love and I will get it for much cheaper.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

sick of street food??

Are you sick of seeing photos of street food? Its so good and cheap, that I can never resist eating it when I pass by (or taking photos of the stalls!)

Monday, December 11, 2006

India's Electronic Superstore - Chroma

Again, a photo of the "new" India. One stop shopping is coming into Mumbai strong. There have been numerous stores opening that carry everything from groceries to electronics, and there are rumors of our first Wal-Mart. (not sure how I feel about that though!) This shop is similar to a Best Buy in America. Opponents of globalization might not like to see these types of stores, but for expats its sort of nice knowing exactly where to go to get what you need. When I first moved here, it took weeks to find a shop selling hangers!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

fisheye photo

A special treat for you today - a photo from a fisheye camera! This is what the big "goods carrier" trucks must look like to little animals on the road!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

christmas time

Its difficult to remember that it is December when its still over 30 degrees Celcius. Only today as I was driving down Hill Road in Bandra seeing the shops decorated for Christmas did it really hit me that it is time to buy Christmas gifts! Last year I was terribly amused by all the Indian boys walking around with santa hats. I just kept wondering, how do parents explain to their kids Santa's winter outfit?!

Friday, December 08, 2006

45,000 Rupees

Along the back roads of the industrial part of Dharavi, you'll see some amazing things. For example, people collect scraps of all kinds, from discarded inkpens to old broken computer keyboards to spare mechanical parts. The workers there dump these scraps into incredibly loud machines that tear them apart, melt them down, chew them up, and spit them out in their most basic forms -- sheets and pellets of plastic, metal, and other materials.

When I came upon these bags of what must be hundreds and hundreds of meters of used audio tape in a back alley outside a machine shop, this man leaned out of his doorway, pointed to them, and said, "You see this? 45,000 rupees." I wasn't sure if he was making an offer, trying to sell the scrapped tape to me, or just making sure I understood the hidden value of what other people might consider trash. Either way, I just said "thanks," and moved on.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Airing Popads

Sounds kinda like "Mary Poppins," right?

These are the delightfully unhygienic conditions under which popads, the crispy snack crackers that come with my daily tiffin dabba (lunch box delivery service) are dried in the sun after they are fried. This straw drying mat was on the street in front of a primary school in Sion.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dr. Ambedkar

Today is the 50th anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar's death. He is known for his life long struggle for the rights of the untouchables (Dalit community, the lowest class in the Indian caste system) and is said to have been instrumental in the rejuvenation of Buddhism in India. Last week one of his statue's were defaced, setting off riots throughout Mumbai and Maharastra. Today there is tight security all over the city and warnings to stay close to home. So far nothing has erupted, but it is still early. this photo is from last night where an all night vigil was beginning and will go through tonight.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sleeping Tiger

Note the carving on the back of this "shrine" -- Shiva riding a tiger into battle.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Rajasthani handicrafts

Today's photo is brought to you by a fellow reader of MDP, Lori. Thanks Lori!

Rajasthani handicraft stalls can be found in several places in Mumbai. Handicraft items are beginning to make a comeback in India as well as abroad, which is great news to the locals who produce these items and rely almost completely on the income generated. Rajasthan has been in a drought for many years which has almost completely wiped out farming options for many. Stores such as FabIndia who have made hand made items popular again are well thought of in the handicraft sectors!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

bombay chaat

chaat is 'fast food'. this stall at juhu beach, has puris hanging in bags and sev is piled on plates with the tomato for decoration.
I am always amazed how the street side guys,I am assuming without their marketing degree or MBA, utilize concepts such as presentation. fruit vendors use an attractive if not artistic presentation of their goods. guess it is inherent.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


juhu beach is new and improved. cleaned up, a great improvement. but some of the old remains, you can find the same fortune telling robots, Rs 5 only. hindi only.

Friday, December 01, 2006

today is world AIDS day

there was a poster contest at the university I am associated with...Somaiya's Vidya Vihar campus in eastern mumbai.

today was full of street plays and fairs. on the raido I heard several radio broadcasts about HIV/AIDS some I could understand. Since my hindi is limited. Lot's of signs up with prevention messages.

This poster in hindi says, keep the promise, fight aids. then the pics below talk about before marriage take precautions and after marriage be faithful. this was chosen as best overall, nice art, good/accurate messages. visually pleasing.

these were students in training to be teachers.