Archive for January, 2006

Flamingos in Pink

Day before yesterday I posted something about Flamingos [Read Flamingos Anybody] and how they made Mumbai their home every winter. I also told you guys that I was planning to pay them a visit and well I did. I also took some pictures.

Let me admit it, I am not a much of a wildlife photographer. I am used to my prey standing patiently in front of me,hypnotised by the camera lens as I do my thing. However,in this case my “targets” were totally oblivious of me, eating smallcrustaceans and sea weeds. Well, that is the Lesser Flamingo for you.

The Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) is a species in the flamingo family of birds which occurs in Africa (principally in the Great Rift Valley), across to northwest India. It is the smallest and most numerous flamingo, probably numbering up to a million individual birds.Like all flamingos it lays a single chalky white egg on a mud mound. Most of the plumage is pinkish white.

Here are some of the spoils.

Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor)

If you want to read more about the flamingos I’ve put it all down here.

Open Piracy

Pakistan’s biggest film piracy company, Sadaf Video, is desperate for a clear print of Rang De Basanti and is willing to pay up to Rs 1 crore for it. It is allegedly associated with don Chhota Shakeel as well as D Company.

“Bhai ne bola hai kisi bhi haal mein top ki print laa ke do aur crore rupiya le ke jao,” said Rashid Latif, a dealer based in Pakistan, who works for Sadaf Video.

Hard times for pirates

But its not easy for Sadaf Video to get a copy of the pirated print as the anti-piracy cells in India, especially in Mumbai, are being watchful.

According to a highly-placed source from the piracy world in Pakistan, the price they are willing to pay for the film was announced on the Saturday morning after all attempts to acquire the pirated print of the film failed.

Agent caught

Sadaf Video suffered a huge setback on January 28 morning when the airport pand anti-piracy cell nabbed Nasir Mohammed Aga Khan (29), a piracy thekedar (contract holder) at the domestic airport after he arrived by the 1.48 am Jet Airways flight from New Delhi.

He was caught with the pirated VCD master of Rang de Basanti, which was to be delivered to one Bhurra Aapaa, a trader from Lahore, who comes to Mumbai every fortnight from Pakistan. Bhurra stays in Bhendi Bazaar when she is in the city.

“I was going to deliver the pirated VCD to Bhindi Bazaar, from where it is sent to Pakistan and Bangladesh. I sold the print for Rs 4 lakh,” said Khan.

Contests for writers at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Zigzackly reminds us that there is lots to do for ‘wordsmiths’ at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festivals.

SMS Poetry, Flash Fiction & a host of other interesting events.
Not to mention some yummy prizes

Zigzackly irons out all the details.

Flamingos Anybody ?

Super-built, densely crowded, greatly polluted, the Mumbai region is an assault on the senses. Yet, amid and immediately around all this crowds and industry and logjam exist over a quarter of the country’s avifauna (bird life) !
Winter brings with it some much welcome seasonal visitors to the city – flamingos.

If you are in the city and want to meet with our pink feathered friends, “Ashbirder” – an avid bird watcher tells us how.

By train:
Get off at Sewree station (E), which is on the harbour line. Cross the main road (Mahul Road), take the Sewri Koliwada Road opposite. Continue along this road and take the first left. This will take you to a crossroad (where this road meets the Sewri Fort Road) Take a right from here and continue until you reach the jetty. This is a place surrounded by ships/barges and is a good look out point for the birds. It’s about 15 min walking distance from the station.

Ashbirder has more infomation here.

I’m actually planning to do this tommorrow – should be fun.

Just how big is the tanker economy?

Just came across a very interesting write-up on water tanker industry in Mumbai. Do go thru it, will surely be an eye opener in many aspects.

Mumbai is a city that never sleeps. Even then, the night time traffic is less weary and the roads are quieter after midnight, save for night shift BPO workers, or intrepid late night vada-paav chasers. Into this relatively tranquil scene, after the last BEST bus has gone to sleep in its depot, comes to life a creature of Mumbai’s nights. This is a vehicular specie that prowls the streets mostly at nights, and slips silently in and out of housing societies and buildings, or narrow lanes in slum clusters.

When it makes its periodic stops, a huge rubbery tentacle comes out from its belly and feeds into a typically concrete box, or a large plastic or PVC container. This nocturnal wanderer is called the water tanker. (Maybe in the northwest suburban areas of Mira Road and Bhayander it can be spotted in broad daylight too.)

The water tanker is a big beast and typically carries 12000 litres of water, refilling thirsty receptacles in its nightly rounds. Maharshtra has a vision of becoming a tanker-free state. Tankers are supposed to be only an emergency response to deliver drinking water during droughts. But even in water rich Mumbai city, and as early as January (not the parched month of May), tankers roam freely. Mumbai’s relatively abundant water supply piped in from reservoirs and dams 100 kilometres away, has rendered many distant villages totally dry. This includes the regions around the upper Vaitarna basin or Bhatsa. And yet we cannot do without the tankers. So what is the economics of the water tanker business?


Bombay Matinee

Sterling, Regal, Eros and Metro where once Bombay’s shining beacons of filmdom, Bombay’s a-list cinemas. Most people who know Bombay might remember the countless film-loving denizens of the city lining up outside the ticket counters, while the closet black-ticketeers desperately peddled their prized commodity in the parking lots.

And On any given Friday these four cinemas turned into Bombay’s Colliseums where the faith of films was ultimately decided, a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

They became as much of a part of Bombay as Victoria Terminus or The Gateway of India or Colaba Causeway or Bandra’s Bandstand.

Things Change, People Change…
In the modern age of large multiplex cinema, these single screen wonders are but forgotten.
The Maharashtra state goverment has granted Multiplex a three year tax break to promote such ventures. Multiplex give people more choice and therefore their profit depends very little on the films they show and it’s possible for them to cycle the films more and the end result being that that films can be shown to larger audience in a shorter time span.

Single screens on the other hand depend very much on the film they show and all thier profits and margins depend on the same.Therefore many of them find it hard to compete with the larger more organised, snazzy multiplexes.

Already The Metro is being turned into a Mulitplex.

Vintage postcard view of the palatial Metro Cinema in Bombay

Mumbai, Gridskipper & Fortune Telling Robots

I like Gridskipper, as Urban travel blogs go they are chic, large and pretty much read. Adding to that they have pretty ok selection on Mumbai.

Suprisingly I woke up this morning to find one of my pictures on gridskipper (Gridskipper Photo Contest:
Week 5
), Hurrah !!
Connections .. Connections.

Here’s the picture.
Fortune Telling Robot.
[Well these are hand built fortune telling robots, to learn more read about them on BoingBoing]

If you do get the sudden urge to vote for it here is the address, did I mention I’m behind.

Oye Taxi !!!

In New York they are yellow, in London they are Black and in Mumbai they’re both yellow and black. What am I talking about ? – well taxis and more specifically the Mumbai Taxi. Though mostly old and rusty these little devils come in a variety of psychedelic lights (mostly fluorescent blue) and in an array of sticker art.

Here take a look.
Taxi Cabs

Like most cities, the people of Mumbai share a love/hate relationship with their cabbies or taxiwallahs in Mumbai speak. The Mumbai blogosphere reflects this due adoration with a variety of posts. Let us take a look shall we ?

Rashmi tells us, “And although the taxi itself may be old and decrepit, the driver is usually warm and friendly. Just like India, as a country. “. While, ‘The Man from Matunga’ looks at, “The Top Ten Rules that Mumbai Taxi-Drivers Follow for Passenger Comfort and Satisfaction

Fares in Bombay like elsewhere in the world are usually calculated according to a combination of distance and waiting time, and are measured by a taximeter. Unlike the digital taximeters you find abroad the Indian taximeters are mechanical and go clickety click very 10 seconds or so.

[image courtesy public domain, copyright with taker]

Bali aur Shambhu

Another awesome play comes to town. aRanya, the group behind famous syage plays such as “Shakkar ke Paanch daane” and “Peele Scooterwala Aadmi”, present their third production “Bali aur Shambhu”.


Bali aur Shambhu is an expression of two characters and their unique spirit towards life.Bali believes in taking life as it comes where as Shambhu lives in the glories of his past. With their respective ideologies and after a series of intricate collisions, eventually the two become one.

Cast and Credits

Kumud Mishra as Bali:

Kumud is a senior theatre personality who is from a small town in Madhya Pradesh, came to Mumbai in 1993, since worked with most of the theatre personalities like Pt. Satyadev Dubey, Sunil Shanbaug, Ramu Ramanathan .This National school drama student has also worked in various TV serials and Feature films.

Sudhir Pandey as Shambhu:
Sudhir Pandey is again a senior theatre veteran who is in this industry for more than 20 years. Sudhir Pandey has being associated with the reputed thatre company called IPTA. He has worked in various TV serials and Feature films where is work has being appreciated everytime. He still goes very strong…..

Mumbai Meetup, January 31st

In conjunction with Scott Rafer, WINKsite , Metroblogging and Bloggers everywhere, I’m announcing a meetup on Tuesday, 31st of January at 6 p.m. at the Carter Road – Cafe Coffee Day (Bandra West). So if you live/work in or around Mumbai or you intend to be in Mumbai on the 31st please do drop by.

Here is the full address.

Shop No. 14/15,
Gagangiri Premises Building,
Ground Floor,
Carter Road

If you have any questions, or would like to confirm your attendance, leave us a comment or fire off an email to akshaym [at] gmail[dot] com. Also, feel free to get in touch with me at 9833230562, as long as you’re not trying to sell me something that is.

For directions use the Mumbai Navigator stating caterroad(pali) as your desitination

Please do spread the word.

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