Showing posts with label Bombay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bombay. Show all posts



These people in red shirts are commonly known as “coolie” or porters who are commonly seen at Indian Railway Station. They remind me of those childhood days when they were part of our vacation (mass aviation is still in infancy at India). They help to carry big over sized luggage that Indian travelers travel with. As Indian travelers are not that physically fit like westerners to lift their own luggage. Coolies are not permanent employee of railways but have a long and strong working relation with them. They get lots of benefits from railways like medical, schooling for their kids and etc. Their recruitment process is very complex and I am not an expert to write on details. What I know is their badges can be transferred between family members and the definition of family members is very vague. This often results in badge being auctioned between 5,00,000 to 20,00,000 INR( 10K-40K USD).
Their working wage according to railway rule book is very minimal; through which they will not be able to sustain themselves or their family. So there is little bit of negotiations between coolie and travelers. Most of the time they are like moving timetable of Indian railways, you can cross check for platform number, coach position for your train and they will guide you to the right place at right time.
Going down the memory lane there is a famous Mohmohan Desai's movie by same name acted by none other but Amitabh Bachan in Hindi at 80s. The movie is very close to Bachan fans as he had a near death situation while performing a stunt for this. Whole India was gripped by this news and the movie release was eagerly anticipated by his fans.


My baby shower

My baby shower was done in bengali traditional way which is called as Saadh in bengali. It is meant mostly to pamper first time mother to be and cheer her up as she accumulates courage to face the most testing time in her life which will soon change her life in and out. Normally, held in seventh or ninth month of pregnancy on a specified day when mother-in-law will organize this ceremony. She will invite all the women she knows. Thus this ceremony is mainly for women only.
In our custom, M-i-l presents all the garments which mother-to-be wears at the ceremony. This occasion happens twice once from in-laws side is over then only my mom can have but because of my critical condition, from both sides were done on a single day in seventh month.
Expected mother have to sit on the floor facing east and sometimes puja is also performed; but as I was medically unfit to sit for longer duration so certain rituals were curtailed. Alpana (with powdered rice) designs are usually drawn on the floor. In the middle of the design, an earthen or copper pot is kept decorated with a red swastika and filled with pure water, mango leaves and green coconut is kept. This is considered as an auspicious sign.
Mom and mother-in-law of the prospective mother fill her lap, represented by the aanchal of her sari with items. Generally, mother-in-law will first bless with ululating the expectant mother as well her unborn child and then put items like 7 different types of dry fruits, fresh fruits, sweets etc in lap which will be followed by other invited married women. Had wonderful time with all elders wishing me luck in their own way.
Last but not least expected mother is fed well with seven different types of savory traditional dishes. A feast is prepared for the guests as well. In Bengali no ceremony be it wedding or babyshower is complete without elaborate serving rituals, but now a days professional catering or buffet-style dining is common. The courses progress from lighter to richer and heavier. Rice remains common throughout the meal.

Starting course is bitter a soupy mixture of vegetables in a ginger-mustard sauce, called shukto. Followed by Dal lentil curry - the most substantial course accompanied with fritters (bhaja). In fritters tailfin and head of fish is must to be served to expected mother. Then next course is two kinds of vegetable curry which is followed by fish course of two varieties. Finally comes the chutney course, which is typically tangy and sweet; usually made of mangoes or tomatoes or pineapple etc. And of course at last sweet dish be it rice pudding (kheer) or rasogulla is served which is not to be missed.


Goodbye – Mumbai – a quick update

I did not want to use a title like “Welcome to Bangalore” or “Here I come to Bangaloru” on purpose as need some time before I can call this my new home. From long time we were knowing that we have to move to Banglore but on personal grounds I had to postpone it which was readily accepted by my company. In recent months, I was waiting for that green signal from my company that I have to move in any case.
At last, on Sunday (27th April) I partially moved; travelling from Mumbai to Bangalore in my car covering 955KM in 20 hours. The experience of that journey deserves a post of its own. I hope to write on that as soon as I find a suitable place to rent and settle myself a bit.


Shiv Jayanti

“Shiv jayanti” should not be confused with Shivratri (Night of lord Shiva)- marked with devotion to one of most powerful lord in Hindu mythology. While Shiv jayanti (Birthday) is celebration of birth anniversary of Shivaji Maharaj who ruled Maratha region in 17th century fighting against powerful Mughal Empire of North-India. He was named Shiva, after the local Goddess Shivai, to whom his mother Jijabai had prayed for a son.

According to English calendar, birthday of Shivaji is on February 19th. But ShivSena, the main political party of regional party in Maharashtra celebrates the same according to Indian astronomical dates. In Mumbai, you can’t miss this day which is celebrated with its colors and festivity. A colorful procession with lezims (a traditional musical instrument) is taken around the city. The main gathering happens at Shivaji Park of Dadar in the evening. You will find saffron triangular flags fluttering everywhere from train station to cabs on this day.
But there are some down side of this celebration to common people. If you have to travel around Dadar or need to cross the central part of this maximum city be prepared for a evening crawl. On the main roads as soon as you see on your rear-view mirror a big speeding SUV with flags you need to give right of way. The priority to this kind of vehicle is more than any emergency vehicle; it also signals ‘do not dare to touch me or stop me’ to law enforcement officials. With recent split of ShivSena this time there were cars from both parties to show their power and dedication to Shivaji Maharaj. Not sure if Shivaji would have appreciating the same. This is one of these celebrations which have been hijacked by political parties to show who rules the city - ‘Asli Bhai Kaun Hai’.


Geography - mismatch

For any fifth grader Mumbai is located in Western part of India if asked north or south answer will be south. So how can there be a church of North India which is located in posh south Mumbai in a stone throw distance from famous Flora Fountain? You may wonder - in the world of bharat-todo (Break India by new politicians) how all bhaia's(people from North India Bihar and Uttarpradesh - speaking Hindi) suddenly built a church for themselves. Well, few centuries back when western missionaries just started coming to India they came first to Kerala the very south-west tip of Indian map. And from that part of Mumbai was very much north. This just demonstrate how relative human direction was at that time. Let's make our heart big enough to welcome every one as they are without any prejudice :)


Indian Inglish

The biggest asset of 21st century modern India is its big chunk of young educated Indian who can speak decent English. There is lot of buzz and business happening in India as there are numerous outsourcing operations.
But on the ground we speak very different English with borrowed words from Indian regional languages that do find their way into our writing, advertisements and newspapers, TV spots and shows from north to south or east to west.
For example, in south it is very common to end a sentence with “no” – ‘You’re going, no.’ which might be a question or asking re-assurance from the other end.
  • Use of yaar, abey, arey in an English conversation between Indians, mainly by people of native Hindi-speaking origin.
  • Use of the word ki to mean, that such as in "What I mean is ki we should follow that sign.”
  • Use of word "wallah" to denote occupation like taxi-wallah, grocery-wallah.
  • Use of word maane (Bengali) , Yani (Urdu) and matlab (Hindi/Urdu) is quite common "meaning" ("What I mean is...").
  • Use of accha! to express positive emotions as in "Accha, so that's your plan" Or chal (Hindi for the verb "walk") to mean "Ok" like in "Chal, I gotta go now".

  • They have got so much incorporated in our day today life that we hardly notice. Even you might find certain spelling unique in Indian English to attract or just out of ignorance. I think this sign falls on the second category. What is your pick?
    But I personally think Indian English is much more globally understood and acceptable than any other British colonies. And I strongly believe we should not colorize our English; and do every effort to keep it close to its root rather than making it pigeon language.


    Playing with shutter speed

    kharghar fun with  exposere

    Love taking pictures with long shutter speed at night - technique is very simple. All I needed was a tripod to secure camera from shaking while leaving the camera shutter open. I know this is not a great picture but that is what I got from my balcony. A better one with Kharghar landmark Utsav Chowk is posted here.


    Festival of lights

    Decorative paper lanterns

    Today as we celebrate India’s grand festival of Light signaling triumph over evil after a protracted fight which is marked by lighting of oil based traditional earthen or clay lamps as they shine brightly in each and every home - Be it lowly or mightily from the hut of the poor to the mansion of the rich when good with all its might, leads us from darkness to light. A day when old and young indulge in royal feast on this festival of snacks and sweet.

    For one and all we pray gift of light -
    Wherever you travel, may a star lead you
    The wind be at your back and road rise to meet you
    Let God holds you in hollow of his hand.

    Wishing you all a very happy, prosperous and safe Diwali


    Sunsets in Mumbai


    Sunset with blue sky of late October seems “magnifique” along with open space of Navi Mumbai as viewed from local train (picture taken through window)


    This one I clicked last Saturday when I was stuck in middle of JJ Flyover - the longest flyover in Mumbai (2.3 KM). It is constructed like a snake, which makes its way through labyrinth of old buildings on either side; basically you bypass the busy, crowded market underneath. Few buildings along the way are almost at a kissing distance from the flyover.


    Cabbies of Mumbai

    Mumbai Taxi

    Black and yellow metered taxi’s made famous by Bollywood movies play a major role of public transport in Mumbai other then auto rickshaws, trains and buses. In New York they are yellow, in London they are Black and in Mumbai they’re both yellow and black. They are part of Mumbai heritage. Normally, they move in snail space at peak hours which may depend on the area traversed and the state of the roads. Truly, at times cannot help to mention their weird way of driving.

    Few facts:

    • These metered taxis ply throughout Mumbai otherwise only mode of hired transport in proper Mumbai as auto-rickshaws are not allowed. Bandra on western and Sion on central line marks the demarcation point. This is a big bliss as there is not much noise pollution, no mad driving and not much squeezing on road for space.
    • They are quaint vehicles which are quite reasonable in price to hire, even if short on leg room, seat comfort, ceiling height, and window space.
    • They also run in share mode, maximum of four person can share the ride but routes are fixed for this kind. Mostly Mumbai-ans uses them to reach office from station or vice versa.
    • All most 99% black and yellow cabs are Premier Padmini by FIAT
    • FIAT does not produce these car any more so all cars on the road are 20/30 years old.
    • They run on CNG (that is the only reason taxi fair did not got a hike in last few years).
    • Fixing the car is easy, not much electronic like new car. Each driver knows his car’s technical fine points like his palm.
    • Taxi drivers in Mumbai are still OK; not as honest like old times but better off from their counterparts in any other major cities in India.
    New TAXI - Mumbai

    Though there are new air conditioned taxi on the road which are yet to become mainstream. These will be air conditioned and fitted with GPS, cordless phones, electronic meters with printers. These new taxis will charge a little extra than the traditional black and yellow taxis because of the luxury frills.

    Even recently one Cab Company has decided to employ ladies driver catering mainly to ladies passenger and this service will be started by this November.


    Festivity begins

    Idols of Lord Ganesh

    Monsoon is about to end. So begins the celebrations and festivals across India. Any Indian festival is incomplete without the typical Indian festivities, the gatherings, celebrations, exchange of sweets and gifts, lots of noise, singing and dancing. Festivals are the celebration of not only togetherness but also being part of the family.

    In India, monsoon follows FIFO (first in first out) model so the festivals. As the fields look brilliant with a bountiful harvest; the beautiful landscape of greenery can be seen in its full radiance at this time. Starting with Onam - the harvest festival of Kerala (the southern most state) where monsoon was first to arrive. Almost in same time, in other parts of India month of Shravan is considered to be the holiest month of the year which begins with festival of Naga-Panchami. When each Monday of this month, known as Shravana Somvar, is devoted to the worship of Shiva as this day is sacred to Lord Shiva and is specially observed with austerity. Thus, it marks the begin of festivals one after another.

    Basically, festival for Indians means its time to get new clothes, to get their house painted or everything else they asked for or thought of. Time for family get-together where numerous uncles, aunts and grandmas grace their wishes with delight. It is also a time for homecoming for people staying away from the families. Their arrival multiples the joy of the festival several folds. Observing and following the festivals from childhood gets so much in blood that every Indian tries his best to observe the festival in customary way even if they are settled abroad. Thus, passing it from generation to generation.

    People of all religions, castes and communities celebrate their festival with equal joy and verve. Peculiarity of this land is where unity had always coexisted with diversity, especially during festivals when people come together to celebrate life’s unlimited joys.

    Despite rejoicing and gaiety, thanks to the string of festivals we celebrate in name of numerous Gods and Goddesses other then those anniversaries (birthday-deathday) of great men of India. Thus, providing us with numerous holidays if not “bundh” without longing much for weekends as yet in India the concept of 5 working days is not there in majority of work-place.


    36th week as passed by

    Ballard Pier at south Bombay

    Looking at Ballard Pier at south Bombay from my office window. Bombay port is one of the busiest port in India if not the most. I am sure looking at the picture you can figure out it is a old picture as the weather is still gloomy with dark clouds :D here. It is one of the very first pictures from our Canon G7 camera. I really like the way light and shadow on the tree brunch, it is quite well center balanced shoot to me.

    Naah….this is a not a post on my office window nor on camera just wanted to find an short escape from gruelling work for few minutes and update you all. Best part is Pamela has work hard to gain aesthetic (appearances), ergonomics (actual human usage) and accessibility in our blog. She tried to categorize each post; big kudos to her - look out on the sidebar.

    I would be going to Bangalore next week for three days on official trip; it is almost certain that we have to move to Bangalore but that should happen next year. Anyways, in meantime I will try to meet relatives and friends at b’glore but that depends on their calender as well. Till next…bonne weekend!!!


    O Krishna!!!

    Lord krishna

    Celebrating the birth anniversary of blue boy with peacock feather in his wreath,
    flute in one hand and making efforts to steal pots of butter, butter-milk or dahi (curd); well known for his mischievous acts and playing pranks on gopis (cow herding girls).

    Based on his stealing efforts there is a very popular ceremony called dahi-handi celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and glee on this day or on the second day of Janmashtami. It is an enactment of Lord Krishna’s efforts to steal butter from Matka (earthen pot) suspended from the ceiling. It is not the rituals, customs and traditions that change over the time but the celebration styles and perspectives that become contemporary. Now a days this ceremony has taken its shape in form of money making competition participated by various groups “govinda” or “gopalas” of localities. Group which succeds in breaking pot gets hefty rewards.

    Dahi Handi is celebrated with fervor, especially in the twin cities of Mathura - Vrindavan, Dwarka and Mumbai. In Mumbai with yelling of ‘Ala re ala, Govinda ala‘ this ceremony cum competition starts. Now, state-government is thinking on projecting this festival in-order to attract tourists. Basically, an earthen pot containing a mixture of milk, dry fruits, ghee is hung around 20-30 feet high in the air with the help of a rope. Enthusiastic young men (now women group), form a human pyramid by standing one on top of the other and tries to break the pot. Onlookers throw waters on the young men in order to prevent them from breaking the pot. Devotees believe that the broken pieces of earthen pot will keep away negative powers from their homes. Thus, rejoicing in lords glory…. Bol Hari !!!


    Thread of love

    Rakhi - Raksha Bhandan

    It is a celebration of unconditional love between brother and sister in Hindu culture. This age old celebration tries to remind us of the beautiful and unique relationship between brother and sister celebrated since time immemorial. Sisters tie sacred threads on brothers wrist asking for longer & healthy life of brother and brothers in-turn vow to protect (to save her- Raksha) their sisters from any unpleasant situations of life on this day. It is not necessary that the rakhi can be given only to a blood brother but any male can be “adopted” as a brother by tying a rakhi to a cousin or friends.

    Be it the people in echelons of power, the inmates of the much talked about Tihar Jail, the city’s high profile glitterati, the Generation X crowd or poor - Rakhi is celebrated by all with same faith and traditional gaiety. It is a festival that binds the whole Indian family living in India or abroad together. The joyous meeting, the rare family get-together, that erstwhile feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood calls for a massive celebration in todays busy life.

    Time old symbol of love and faith, Rakhi thread has changed tremendously in its appearance and outlook in present times. Besides being an expression of love, Rakhi today, is a piece of art and a style statement for the fashion conscious generation of today. People of amchi Mumbai celebrate today Raksha Bandhan in style and festive grace.


    Le Ciel

    Blue sky with moon at dusk

    While rain still continues in South Asian countries; People from Karachi to Dhaka are facing this year after monsoon-effects with this heavy downpour. This monsoon is considered to be most well-known and potent. So, I thought to put a picture with blue evening sky to cheer up ;). BTW this is Gammon House situated at Prabhadevi next to Sidhi Vinayak Temple.


    Back from trip

    Air Port trolley

    Well, I am back to Bombay from my official visit after four weeks stay in Singapore. There are lots of pictures from the trip, but as I did not visit any vista-points or sight-seeing points as tourist rather which ever crossed my path got snapped. Will post them soon. Note: this picture is not from Mumbai Airport but from Kolkata(Calcutta)


    Bombay International Airport

    CSIA - Mumbai International Airport

    Bombay International Airport is always under construction as far as my International travels are concerned. Good news is that it is getting better and the completion date is getting closer. Here, are the pictures for the same as I waited for my flight to Singapore.Though the pictures looks quite world class construction work; but on the ground it may be not …quality wise.

    CSIA - Mumbai International Airport
    CSIA - Mumbai International Airport



    Guess ??

    Looking at those plastic chairs brought back my memories of Anandamela (a Bengali children magazine - published fortnight. They used to have picture of common objects in obscure way and you have to identify the same. I know this picture is a far cry from those -any way some sweet memories to reflect upon from fourth floor while taking this picture.

    In India celebration is part of life whether big or small ones. But not like west, where you have Christmas as the main one. Here some community celebrates one festival in a BIG way while others something else. You are always between BIG parties of communities. You can not miss them - the reason is very simple … bright choice of colors which catches your attention even if you don’t want which is once again different from west where black and white and sometimes red is primary colour of their clothing.

    celebrations at office

    Similarly, there are some big or small events at work also; not as fancy as of those year-end parties I attended abroad. As Indian economies and companies enjoy the Bull Run these celebrations got few extra feathers on their wings.

    These two pictures were taken at PCP, (Peninsula Corporate Park) lower Parel. This used to be a big cotton mill before. Cotton Mills were moved out of Mumbai in 70ties after the long and famous strike by Shakti-Samanth. Now all those mills area are getting converted into posh malls, offices or residential apartments.

    If I am not wrong it was party thrown out by Diageo – the big liquor company (Johnny Walker, Smirnoff and other big labels).


    Cart in city road

    Bullock cart on Mumbai Road

    While coming to work this morning oxen (castrated male) cart carrying sugar canes caught my attention. It is not a common site to see a bullock cart or hand pulled cart (pulled or pushed by a man) at the heart of Mumbai city next to VT Station.

    They are not allowed in the main roads of the city but can only move in the peripheral roads of the city. These kinds of slow moving objects cause most notorious traffic jam in India. But for poor villagers, these are the only way to meet their daily needs and feed few hungry stomachs. Revealing the very true fact of economic and emotional hardship that these low-wage workers face on a day-to-day basis.

    Hand cart carrrying bananas

    Cart is being used for ages and still continues to be an important mode of carrying goods mostly agrarian goods even in this modern age. Although, its popularity has declined considerably but it is very cheap than any other mode of carriage vehicles.

    It has many shapes but the basic idea of transporting material remains same. It has usually two or four wheels. This cart is made entirely of bamboos and the wheels are wooden. It is also a very eco-friendly vehicle. Number of men or animal required to push or pull depends on what being hauled.


    C for Cab and Cricket

    Cricket – is India’s gorgeous past time – it is not taken as a sport. This picture was taken during Cricket World Cup of 2007 inside a Mumbai cab. But somehow I never posted the same. I am not a big cricket fan but is impossible to avoid cricket while you are in India.

    In recent time, performance of Indian cricket team is quite disappointing. But that does not change Indians breathing cricket - be at India or abroad. Performance of India in any other sport is quite dishonorable considering its population.

    Cricket and cricketers are most sought after in India. Best Indian performance of cricket in world arena was almost 20 years back when there was not so much glamour and money in that game. May be that is why they were more interested in playing cricket rather than endorsing any brand or product.

    The worst of all is the Indian cricket board which is most money milking sport’s body in the world even beating those big football clubs of Europe. Chairs of Indian Cricket Board are filled up with politicians and old cricketers whose greed for money, power and limelight or Page-Three attention never ends. Enough of ranting …..for something which I don’t even care.

    Day 3 - Rishikesh

    The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we...