Archive for the ‘Only in Mumbai’ Category

Surreality Show

He called me the gatekeeper of the great suburban conscience of Mumbai.

Am I? Each time I write something serious about the city, I’m reminded of a friend bitching about the ultra-intellectual types who eat at McDonalds and come out and talk about the poor people in the country. Am I one of them? Does the city give you a choice, surrounded as you are with surreal constrasts?

Here’s something I spotted a couple of weeks ago in the wee hours of the morning. Presumably the store is one of the many designer boutiques that dot the fashionable area of Juhu. Do they know that at night, their porch turns into a bedroom? Perhaps they do, considering our man has a pseudo-four-poster bed with a mosquito net tied into corners. And the faithful guard lies in waiting, a few feet away.


In the middle of this melancholic week, I don’t find cheer even in my favorite streetside philosophers. Today’s autorickshaw spotting reminds me that this city runs on money, money, money.

maal-hai-to-mohabbat-hainMaal hain to mohabbat hain (If you’ve got money, you’ve got love)

If you’re wondering what the word ‘surreal’ means outside of a Dali painting, you know where to look it up, now. What’s left for me to say?

Kotachiwadi – A photographers delight

I walk past the congested roads, it’s a new day, a shop owner throws bucket full of water on the entrance and tiny droplets splash on your face. Unapologetically he picks a broom and starts sweeping away the excess water on the steps. A hard cart with loads of stuff is pulled along, it almost runs over my leg. The nukkad ka paanwala is washing his beetle leaves in a stainless steel bucket. People are busy walking past on either direction. As the taxiwala he sees me approaching he gets up assuming me to be a potential customer but the moment I open my mouth asking for directions he is slightly irritated and waves his hand and says ‘seedha jao’ and doesn’t bother to answer my counter question ‘aur?’.

Further down I meet an uncle in black shots and striped t-shirt who was on his daily morning walk helps me to the right direction and even offers to walk with me. Amidst old builds with rotten wooden balconies on which long cotton sarees and faded bed sheets are hung to dry an abrupt turn take me inside a small lane. As I enter the lane I immediately feel as though I have entered a movie set. The entire place is disconnected from the chaos outside. It’s a different world out here. I can’t see many people out in the lanes except for the one paavwaala and the macchwaali. Sunday Eight o’clock is still eagerly for people here. It truly feels like a Sunday. This is Kotachi Wadi

Khotachiwadi is a heritage village in Girgaon, Mumbai, India. Houses built are made from the old-Portuguese style architecture.

It was founded in the late 18th century by Khot,a Pathare prabhu, who sold plots of land to local East Indian families. There used to be 65 of these houses, now reduced to 28 as old buildings are being pulled down to make way for new skyscrapers. –Wiki

Khotachi Wadi

It seems like a spec of Goa has fell right in the middle of Mumbai hustle bustle. I am a bit amazed that there Mumbai has beautiful tiny cottages amidst the concrete jungle. Houses have verandahs (let me see when was the last time I saw a house with a verandah….ding ding ding not in Mumbai until now). Even the space in front of the gate is decorated with bright mango tile chips, tree barks, stones and huge wooden urns. The bright colors on the walls, old-Portuguese style architecture, wooden framed balconies and the bougainvillea fences truly makes this place a photographers delight.

Its sunny yellow for me :)
Wide Open

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



Reality Show: Terror Mumbai

I got home at around 10pm on Wednesday night. The television was blaring its usual cacophony of detergent operas and soppy suds. Then a relative called to tell us that ‘something big was happening’. We flipped through the channels in quick succession, passing a panel discussion on the consistency of chewing gum (or something that seemed to stretch on similarly), an 80s potboiler complete with gyrating Govinda hips and a tear-jerker selling the benefits of pension plans.

Then we landed on the news channel band. And there it stayed and hasn’t moved since.

The Day After: It’s Not Over As Yet

Mumbai awoke this morning (for those who did manage to sleep) to reports of commandos being dropped from helicopters onto the critical locations under attack. There was also a mention that the Taj Mahal hotel was secure but that’s something we heard around midnight yesterday too and it turned out to be a hasty (and inaccurate) wire, since there was still firing coming out from there. Several hostages from Nariman House were either rescued or managed to escape during the course of the night. The media, while hanging around desperately for soundbytes and real news manages to catch a glimpse at the most of the action and tries to piece some sense of it, often going in the wrong direction.

Later this morning, there was a sudden buzz that (more…)

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

BMC Cannot Enforce Smoking Ban

Why is it that the government becomes impotent when it is time to put laws into practice.

The Union government wants to bring about a ban on smoking in public places that are indoors. This includes restaurants, pubs, government offices et al.

And you have the BMC going up in arms saying it cannot enforce the ban.

While the rest of the country stubs it out, at least in public, from October 2, in Mumbai you can carry on smoking. That’s because the BMC, which is supposed to implement the smoking ban, has thrown up its hands.

“We simply cannot do it with the current infrastructure and manpower,” says civic health executive officer Jayaraj Thanekar. [link]

It seems they are busy with other things in hand…including the proper procedures to collect bribes without getting caught.

Seriously, how about getting our Marathi Manoos Champion Thakeray to enforce this? Outsource it.

Rain Rain Come Again

Is this over-reacting or being prudent?

In a detailed travel advisory Monday to Americans visiting the city during the ongoing monsoons, the consulate said that there is heavy possibility of flooding, especially on 13 days.

The dates, which the Americans are supposed to watch out for and exercise extreme caution, are July 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 when the high tides could throw up waves upto 4.84 metres high; Aug 1, 2, 3, 4, 30, 31, when the high tide waves could cross 4.80 metres; and Sep 1, when the waves could measure 4.58 metres.

Timings of the high tides and water levels have been given for each day and Americans have been advised to check local weather reports for updates.

The consulate pointed out that during monsoons, there is the possibility of flooding and heavy rain accompanied by wind could have the same intensity as a tropical storm. It pointed out that the rain had led to loss of lives in July 2005.

Maybe they should deploy more staff to sort out visa backlogs instead of such studies.

Karate lessons to travel in train

I came across this piece in todays paper.And hell I was amused by it. Its a known fact that most western suburbers avoid the Virar local as much as possibile (unless u stay somewhere beyond borivili). The virar local travellers are notorious for being bullies (esp the women). Its a riot inside the compartment and possibily can be slapped/hit by regular commuters. I am sure these women will find their karate lessons more useful to fight their way inside the compartment to get a seat.

Meow 104.8 FM launched in Mumbai


Meow 104.8 FM has been launched in Mumbai. This is one of the new FM channels launched in the city. A channel exclusively for women. Well thats what they claim to be. After tuning into the channel several times here is my take on this channel.

Although the concept of the channel sounds super cool, there is a lot of areas of improvement.

The RJ blabbers a lot. Well the channel claims to be a talk FM channel unlike the music FM channels we already have in the city. Am not sure if we Mumbaikars are ready for this yet. Trust me its gets to ones nerve after sometime. Probably we need to get used to it like Delhi and Kokalta. On thge other hand I would also like to mention that whatever less music they play, the choice of songs are pretty good.

Even though the FM channel claims to be India’s first Just for women FM Channel they do cut some slack and have men callers with their piece of gyaan too. After all what fun is it for gals if there is no eye candy in this case ear candy :)

Love the way the female RJ purr with a meow but hey guys (RJ) please that sounds so gay.

The entire station has just one male RJ who hosts a show called Meow “Betweeen the sheets” ( they really have some naughty captions and names)

To sum it up, I think it wont cost us to give a chance here. And all the ladies have this exclusive channel to tune in to bettwen your commute in the local train.

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