Archive for August, 2006

A place for the dead

There may be just a few thousands in number and is feared that they are heading towards extinction in India. But they have managed to keep a close knit community where the outsiders have not been welcomed so happily. I am talking about the small parsis community in mumbai. Usually known to keep themselves out of controvorsies, the photographs of naked, rotting bodies piling up and a recently-shot 15-minute video of the same at the Towers of Silence and has a created a huge furore in the Parsi community.

These pictures were taken by a 65-year-old parsis women who was apphaled to hear frm the khandiyas (traditional bier bearers who carry bodies to the towers and the only men who are allowed entry into the wells) that her mother who recently passed away will be rottening away for more than a year or so with no vultures to be found in the heart of the city. And inorder to provide justice to those have crossed over to the other world Ms Dhun risked the comunities wrath to spread awareness that the old practice of disposing of the dead wherein the deceased are left in the wells for the vultures to pick on has failed and that the community needs to also adopt other ways to give their dead a dignified burial.
Read more here

Bombay Slum Tours

The Economist writes about a new concept of tourism in Bombay

Touring Mumbai’s slums Around the corner from Leopold’s, a bar on Colaba Causeway popular among international travellers, lies Reality Tours and Travel. The agency, started by Chris Way, a young British transplant, sells tours of Mumbai’s slum neighbourhoods, promising a unique way to experience the “real” Mumbai.

One option is a budget, three-hour walking tour of Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum, in the central suburb of Mahim. There residents earn a living by making clay pots and soap or recycling the city’s waste. A longer car tour offers more: a visit to a children’s shelter; a stop to watch the city’s dhobis (washermen) at work; a drive past the vast textile mills that are being torn down and replaced with glitzy malls and office blocks; and then on to Dharavi.

These tours are great value-at about $7 for the walking tour and $13 for the one by car-and for a good cause: 80% of the fee goes to a local charity that helps slum dwellers.

Check out their site for the entire details.

The Great Cable Ban

Has anyone noticed that after the cable cut experience some channels have been banned?? And these channels, according to my Cable operator’s services, that have been banned are :
Etc. because I don’t have a list of all the channels shown in the first place. But these are the ones I noticed because of the huge sign displayed ‘ This channel cannot be displayed until the High Court order is Passed” or something to that effect.
The irony of the situation is that the channels that were opposed (ie: the ones having adult content broadcast) were untouched. Intact.
Zoom, Star World, Zee Trends, Channel F, B4U, MTV, Channel V, are some of the channels which had been mentioned explicitly in the newspapers along with their shows and the timings when naked, lewd, adult images are shown. And it has recently been announced that the female who raised this entire issue (ruckus??), a St. Xavier’s professor, has also said that Cartoon Channels show a lot of sex and violence which corrupts children.
Are cartoons next??

PS: I’m cribbing so much because I cant do without Star Movies, HBO and Star One. All are stellar channels. Does anyone have a way of getting around this too?? Speaking with reference to the advice I got for getting around the recent Blog Ban in its post


Odd that I should be joining Mumbai Metroblog more than a year after I arrived here. In many ways, this has been the most surreal year of my life. The type of time I like. I see Mumbai as the planet Tatooine from Star Wars. With all manner of diverse intelligent species living together, perhaps not as harmoniously as one would like them to, but together nonetheless.

I met every species I was warned against. The cabbies, the pushy people on the local trains, even the beggars on the traffic stops. I discovered they were no worse than I was. No better either. Everyone is capable of smiling. Everyone is pushed against the wall.

I understand there is not much by way of usefulness in this post. I will get better at this in time I hope.

In Pictures: More Ganesh

As promised, your friendly neighbourhood Metroblogger brings you some photos of Ganesh. These were taken mainly in Dadar-Matunga area but there might be more in future from other parts of Mumbai.

U know it is Ganesh Chathurthi when…

1) When u suddenly see that the roads are reduced to half its original size as its now the resting place for Ganpati Bappa.
2) When you are deprived of ur afternoon seista with the raunchy remixes blaring out of the sound boxes from the pandal below ur apartment.
3) When your usual way back home is jam packed with people and trucks and mini trucks and sumos and carts carrying gapati is slowly chugging behind men with saffron bands tied to their and women in nine yard sarees dancing to the beats of the dhols
4) When the boys of the mohalla come asking for ganpati pandal chanda, and is always pushing to pool in a extra buck as vargani.
5) When half the public in office is on a week long vacation and their work is piled on your head.

Ganeshas of Mumbai

Your friendly neighbourhood Metroblogger brings you a slide show from Rediff.

The Ganeshas of Mumbai

Next, some photos that I clicked on Sunday. Watch this space.

Bombaywallah & Mumbaikar Discuss (8): BEST Buses Are Not Romantic Anymore!

Two friends – Bombaywallah & Mumbaikar – discuss the modernization of BEST buses and the death of romance in Maximum City.

Mumbaikar: BEST is becoming modern. It has installed smart card systems in 200 of its buses and will install it in the rest of 3400 buses in three months. (link)

Bombaywallah: Really?

Mumbaikar: Not only that, it is also installing global positioning systems, PCO systems, CCTVs, and drop boxes by Hutchison Essar in its buses. They are especially excited about the CCTVs; they say that the CCTVs will help them counter the terrorist threat.

Bombaywallah: Are you sure their already falling apart buses will not collapse under the weight of all this gadgetry?

Mumbaikar: Come on! Stop being a townie all the time! I’m sure you haven’t ever been in a BEST bus!

Ganesh Comes Home

As your friendly neighbourhood Metblogger had promised, here are quick snapshots of the start of Ganesh Festival.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is the Ganesh Chaturthi. Chaturthi is the fourth day of the lunar calendar – fifteenth day being the full moon. The festival starts from this day although the statue is brought home the previous day. In some places, especially the offices and factories, the statue is brought on the previous working day which happened to be a Friday this year.

And here are the photos.

Shoe Polish

Shoe Polish Wallahs at Khar Station.

Khar and Mahim Stations in Mumbai were one of the worst hits station during the train serial blasts that hit the city last month and these guys were at ground zero when it happened but they still manage a smile for me. That’s spirit hats off to these fellows.

They told me how terrible it was and they described the utter chaos yet they ended by saying “Joh ho gaya ho goya, Abhi aage dekte hai” [what happened, happened, let’s look forward]

Shoe Polish Wallahs at Khar Station.
[Polish wallah listining to radio on his pocket radio as shows off his Style Bhai Antics]

Style Bhai is incidently your Mumbaiya Lexicon for the day.

Style Bhai literally translates to “Brother with Style” – you can similarly use “Style Bhen” which translates to “Sister with Style”. Try it out.

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