Archive for the ‘City in Pictures’ Category

History

Friday* evening is when the city comes alive with a vengeance. As if it were sleeping the rest of the time. But Fridays are a frenzy of partying and drinking and laughing too loud. In a frantic attempt to drown out the panic of life running out faster than we can make sense of it.

One such Friday, I stayed in late at work. Of course the work never ends. I suppose I could have left earlier. Met a friend for coffee. Or another for drinks. Or walked down the seaface. Or photographed flamingoes in flight. Or watched Aamir Khan’s debut performance as a director. Instead I took a walk.

Behind my office is an old building that used to be a factory. Now one half of it has been converted into a glossy glass-and-steel office complex. The other half is used as a parking lot. On a late Friday evening, there weren’t too many cars around. I strolled around in the semi-darkness. Not even a breeze…unusually warm, even for a Mumbai December.

In between the buildings is a long stretch of concrete road. No vehicles at that hour. No employees walking out of the building. Just the stars above on an unusually clear night, visible between asbestos sheets on one side and curved steel girders on the other.

I stepped into one of the open doorways. I wondered if this is what it felt to walk around in an old castle.

Broken mill window

Heavy cylindrical pipes overhead, solid pillars and rusted metal staircases at the corners. Hundreds of busy feet must have walked this floor thousands of times over the years. Machines being oiled, a worker showing another one how to pull a lever, a foreman looking at a sheaf of papers, sparks in another corner. Things were made here, lives were built here, dreams were dreamt and realised…or shattered here. Hundreds and thousands of them. Don’t they say ‘put your heart into your work’? Those milling masses must have put their very souls into their work. I still feel them.

Mumbai was built on industry, on factories, on the hard labour of workers. They made this the city of dreams, the commercial capital of the country. The grit and hard-headedness that is taught to us as a way of life now were the lessons that they handed down from lives of unrelenting labour. They were my true ancestors. I haven’t forgotten.

Incidently this post was written almost a year ago. The building in the photograph does not look that way anymore, since it has been converted into yet another gleaming office complex. The mills shut down long ago and now with their buildings being revamped, it feels like the tombs of Mumbai’s ancestry are being razed away.

* From a Friday long, long ago.

Boss Of The Road

Here’s something I spotted in traffic last week.

boss-license-plate

While I’m wholly appreciative of the cool creativity it took to come up with this, I’m just curious – is license plate customization legal?

I Style! – Work Victim

Good morning and welcome to the first Monday of 2009!! Are you disgusted by my over-exuberant cheeriness? If you’re a Mumbaiker, I’m sure as hell that you are. The 5th of January feels like the 2nd and that’s disastrous as far as the workaholic attitude of this city goes. Three whole days later!!! Trains to catch, backlog to clear, traffic to battle and *sigh* all those bloody phone calls and emails to answer!!!!

If all of the above rings true for you, take heart today and resolve if you can to be a little less of a workaholic. Be introduced to the concept of ‘work-life’ balance. And if you’re shaking your head and saying ‘IMPOSSIBLE!’ (which is more likely the case), let’s fall back on the failsafe Mumbai option – service with a smile.

Here’s a snapshot from a conversation I had last year with Pooja.

Me: How’s work?

Pooja: *Gesturing to tee-shirt*

work-victim

In this deadline-crazed city, humour, humour, humour is not just cool, it’s got I Style!

work-victim2

Stylebhai

Oh my stars! Help me someone, I’m still recovering from the split sides I have from excessive suppressed laughter. Who is the cause of my cheery mood, you ask?

Meet the man himself – Mr.Mannequin!

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He doesn’t believe in needles or anything permanant scarring his peaches n’ cream complexion. But the gods of fashion dictate that tattoos are in a la Jolie (or considering the neighborhood, Rakhi Sawant). So Mr.Mannequin sports a tatoo painted on a …what do you call it? A body-suit with only the sleeve? Tattoo on, tattoo off…now you see it, now you don’t. Actually you see it all. Including where the sleeve ends and his not-so-pink white arm starts.

Oh but wait! It gets better. Blonde we are, as blonde as the Hilton girl, as gold as Goldilocks. Let’s add a tie to the tee-shirt. And oh, snorkelling might be fun, you think?

tattoo-tie-snorkerler.jpg

And just in case you lovestruck ladies are wondering where you can get to meet this delectable creature, trot over to Lokhandwala market. He’s the style icon for that peculiar breed we call Lok-hunk-wala.

Curiouser and curiouser. ;-)

Auto Driver Philosophy

I don’t know what ‘Ramsha’ means but I was struck by the embedded Hindu reference in conjunction with a license plate that imaginatively draws out the ‘786’ in the its number. For those not in the know, this is supposed to be a holy/lucky number for Muslims.

And there’s the inevitable romance embedded in the decor of course. Except of course the ‘Love is Life’ philosophy etched right where a lot of people are apt to put up their feet. Unless this guy is following the common Indian ploy of putting up socially sacrosanct images (usually religious symbols) to prevent people from dirtying the place. Smart.

Mumbai Limps Back To Life

I traveled into town today, in the aftermath of the terror that Mumbai has lived in the past week. The reason was a Tweet-up/Peace walk/gathering at Colaba Causeway. Honestly? I stand in deep respect of the police force, the fire-fighters and the NSG who delivered us from the terror. And I’m going to wear white tomorrow to symbolize our mourning as well as a plea for peace. Yes, I will also light a candle and thank every police-person I see for the bravery of their comrades. But mostly I went out today for myself. To reassure myself that I still could. I needed to. If as a Mumbaiker, this city’s spirit resides in me, then I speak for the city when I say I’m battered, I’m crawling, I am gasping for breath.

Traffic was light as it has been since Wednesday night, even for a Sunday afternoon/evening. Even so, the journey took us a half and hour either way. We passed shops that were open, people out for a stroll with their families, cars driving down…but there was an air of barely concealed tension. I had my camera out for the better part of the journey and I know I drew some curious (and not necessarily friendly) glances from the other cars. In case you’re wondering what an atmosphere of terror looks like, come to Mumbai right now.

The photos I took today of Mumbai in post-terror trauma….

Here’s the media jumping onto the sympathy-brand visibility bandwagon, over the Western Express flyover. DNA asks…

Spirit of Mumbai
FOR HOW LONG?

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(more…)

A Tree Grows In Mumbai

a-tree-grows-in-the-city.JPG

That patch of yellow in the corner isn’t an indication of autumn (Do we get that in Mumbai?).

The minute the street-lamp is turned on in the early evening, and just for the short while that there’s evening light, the tree looks like it’s blushing yellow. Is that too poetic for a deserted side-road in a crowded Mumbai suburb? We make do with what we get. And inspiration lives on.

Boys In The Water

If you’ve been in Mumbai and not taken a ferry ride from the Gateway of India, you should…go jump into the (dirty) water!!!!! And there you might catch a glimpse of the humanness underneath the gritty mask this city wears.

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I saw these boys splashing about between the ferries parked (anchored?) near the steps leading down from the Gateway to the water. All the ferrywallas yelling did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm.

boys-in-the-water.jpg

Afloat on a makeshift raft of a discarded plastic bag stuffed with heavenaloneknows what (cork? discarded plastic refuse? thermacole?), they splashed about, three on one while the fourth lay afloat, peaceful in his solitary swim.

Our very own Mumbai Shutterbugs

Mumbai Shutterbugs

Mumbai Shutterbugs


Photo courtesy SIDKING

Looking at the serious shutterbug activities in Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi I was beginning to get a complex. Presenting our very own city shutterbugs. These are a buch of photo enthusiats, who meet periodically at a common place to capture some amazing pictures and share some cool tips. I had attended one of their outdoor shoots at the Dadar Flower Market. Its still in its infant stages, by which I mean there is a lot of stream lining to be done and loads of scope for improvement that is if they want to do serious photography with loads of fun. Nevertheless I am glad that these bunch of people have taken the initiative to come together. My take on the entire group is that most of them are pretty new to photography but there are quiet a few who has an eye for details. I also feel that such group get together is a great opportunity to learn/share new photography tricks/tips. So cheers to the team and hoping to see a lot of activities from these shutterbugs.
To dig more about this group’s activity check this link here.

Dadar Flower Market Photowalk

Last Sunday 14 (I am not so sure about the number) shutterbugs joined together at the Dadar Flower Market and took some amazing photographs. Unlike other cities, in Mumbai where life is always in the fast lane, this was pretty much a change of course for people to turn up on a weekend this early and still ahve fun. Hope to have more such meets in the future.

Here are a few pictures taken by yours truly :)

Each line has a story of its own

Dadar Flower Mkt Photowalk

Dadar Flower Mkt Photowalk

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