Miracle of Miracles!

Folks, listen up! Yesterday, I did the most unexpected of things – I slept with a big comforter all night, with just the fan. A comforter and a fan! It is officially coldish in Mumbai. The evenings are very pleasant and the nights are rather cool. I wouldn’t go too far by saying that it is cold, at least not for me. My husband thought it was snowing in Mumbai when I told him I could sleep with just the fan instead of the air conditioner (we have been sleeping with the air conditioner for the past 4 months now). As I am typing this post, it is 19 degrees Celsius and I am sitting in my room without the fan on and my feet are cold. I never thought, for the life of me, that this day would arrive.

I know it’s cold in Mumbai when I get out of the shower and start shivering a little. By god, what a concept! It is so refreshing to be greeted by a chill every time I wake up in the morning and sense the crispness in the air. But of course, like all other good things come to an end, this also does. By the afternoon, it starts to heat up a little, with the afternoon temperature averaging to about 31 degrees Celsius. It is certainly still tolerable compared to what it has been in the last few months. You can still walk about during the day and not feel fried in about 1 hour of being out. Now, I can last about 3-4 hours outdoors and still have a smile on my face. For people who know me, the heat and I were never good friends.

What amuses me is the fact that I see people around me in sweatshirts, jumpers, and woolies, as if they were preparing for a big snow storm or some magnanimous winter that is going to wipe them off their feet . Yes, it’s cool in Mumbai, not cold! In Delhi, it is about 2 degrees Celsius, where people are dying due to extreme temperatures. Now, that is cold! And I admit, that while it is intriguing to see people bundled up in sweaters in the morning and evenings, it is also nice to see a different kind of dress code making its presence felt in the big city.

I am taking in this lovely and most appreciated change in weather, with gratitude and joy. I am now off to my second night of cozying up in my giant comforter with just the fan. It officially feels like winter!


It wasn’t a bad Christmas, afterall!

Phew! I thought his Christmas in 2011 was going to be depressing and dull, but it turned out to be pretty fun after all. So, Christmas eve we headed out to Bandra. Of course, the place was packed and we hit traffic, but we also got to see all the decorations and lightnings that people had outside their homes. Life size cribs and nativity scenes, as well as hundreds of Christians who were well dressed and probably getting ready to attend the evening mass, threw added spice to the festivity of Bandra. It was irritating that there was so much traffic and every time I thought I could soak in the Christmas vibe, there would be honking or siting in traffic, being forced to breathe he exhaust and fumes of the 100 million other cars that were around me.

In any case, we landed up at our friend’s house and when she opened the door, I jumped for joy and almost hurt myself because of how ecstatic I was about seeing how well, and how close to home, her Christmas decorations were. They were stunning! This 5 bedroom house was decked up, along with a little manger from my girlfriend’s native home in Croatia.

The evening started with light hors d’oeuvres which consisted of a fare of mixed olives, spiced hummus, a selection of cheese, and lightly salted crackers. This platter was accompanied by scrumptious drinks, which I happily made for myself with their well-stocked bar. Oh yes! The fine selection of alcoholic beverages of international standard was quite appealing and much needed, as it was helping me to get over my slump of missing Christmas in San Francisco.

Dinner was then served and accompanied by some more refreshing beverages…if you get my drift. The 4 of us then burst open some bon-bons (Christmas crackers) and the revelry continued. Here are some pictures of me really enjoying myself in Mumbai after a long long time:

The 4 of us by the Christmas tree (and bar)

The 4 of us by the Christmas tree (and bar)

With our crowns from the bon-bons, and don't miss the big glass in front of me!

With our crowns from the bon-bons, and don't miss the big glass in front of me!

Inspecting the food before it is served

Inspecting the food before it is served.

Dinner was followed by several games of UNO, which I just loved! We wound up the evening with desert, a decadent chocolate cake that I bought and which tasted delicious:

Note the “marry” instead of “Merry” on the cake. Only in India! Any case, it was such an uplifting feeling being with friends who felt more like family to us. The 4 of us had a very “marry” Christmas and I hope that you had a blessed Christmas too!

Listlessness in the Air

I have been so used to “Christmas is in the Air”, a slogan that I have come to appreciate and value in the last 10 years of living in the US. It is Christmas even in Mumbai, and it feels like there is listlessness in the air; a pervasive sense of gloom and boredom around the fact that it just does not feel like Christmas; and I miss that feeling. The glitter and glamor in all the shops, the clinking of glasses as people cheer in the festive season, the exchanging of gifts, Christmas music, the steaming hot chocolate and pumpkin spiced mocha, the decadent pastries and chocolate walnut brownies, how I miss them and yearn for that feeling of comfort during this time of the year.

There is a sense of loss that I am experiencing that is subtle, yet powerful. I don’t know if you have ever experienced it, but it is a kind of loss, a kind of grief, that does not move you to cry or shed barrels of tears, but gnaws at you constantly, like a rat gnawing at its trap to break free. That is the kind of loss I am experiencing: the grief and sadness that lingers with me and I find it so hard to shed them and break free from them.

Christmas eve in Mumbai does not feel like Christmas eve at all! Everything is just the same as it is on any other day. It’s blah! There is nothing special or exciting for this time of the year. This is my first Christmas away from home and my only solace is that this evening, we have been invited to our “expat friends'” house for a Christmas eve dinner in Bandra. It’s strange, that in a country where I do have my own family and relations, I feel more at home in the house of my expat friends ( a couple from USA/Croatia) than with my “own people.” But then again, it does not seem too strange to me, perhaps for the simple reason that this couple and my husband and I are able to connect and empathize with the very same loss, our first Christmas away from home.

So Fair, so Lovely

I have now lived in Mumbai for over 3 months, and not a day goes by when i turn on the TV, and there is at least one advertisement for a fairness cream. I had completely forgotten about this obsession with looking fair in India, until I came to India and was visually bombarded with advertisements on how fairness creams can magically transform your dark complexion into something that is fair and lovely. Believe you me, in India, we have a cream that is called “Fair and Lovely.”

As a psychologist, I can’t help but think about the message that is being sent out to millions of people who are exposed to such advertisements, day in and day out – being fair essentially means being lovely; being beautiful and attractive. How does this make sense? Since when did the color of your skin determine the extent to which you were physically attractive and beautiful?

It boggles my mind when I see tons of adverts on TV promoting this notion. We have a range of products such as Fair and Lovely by Hindustan Unilever, L’oreal’s fairness cream called White Perfect, Naturally Fair by Emami, Natural White by Olay, Pond’s White Beauty, Sparkling Glow by Nivea, Lakme’s Perfect Radiance, and Neutrogena’s Fine Fairness, to name a few!! By god, they have even now targeted fairness creams for men in India with actors of the likes of John Abraham, Shahid Kapoor and Shahrukh Khan endorsing these products and promoting messages of fairness being equated to beauty. Here is an image of John Abraham who is on TV and in magazines:

I think, for most part, we are still in the era of colonialism, always seeking and imitating the fairer complexioned colonizers of our time. It’s so true, the grass is greener on the other side. When I was living in India, I was always complimented on how “fair” I was, people sometimes mistaking me for a foreigner. I was, and still am, always aware of the fact that I was in an “advantageous” position because of the color of my skin. Being fair, being white, was a highly prized characteristic to have, especially for a woman. Moving to the USA, I became aware of how people loved to see my skin when I tanned, and envied my bronze complexion every time I spent even a few hours in the sun. I would walk into a room and, people who had spent hours trying to get a tan on the beach or at a sun tanning salon (with little success), would admire and appreciate the brown color of my skin. Now I am back in Mumbai and realize that my tan is fading, as I do not play any tennis as yet or hang out at the beach, and am aware that my “fair” skin will return and will be appreciated and valued in India.

All this “color of the skin” business is so superficial, and yet, is a reality that cannot be escaped in India. For instance, someone shared with me the other day that he himself has bought into the concept of being fair and lovely because he finds that women are more attracted to him when he is lighter skinned than his original color. What is going on??

Is it just me or is it absurd to think that this notion of “fairness” should not be endorsed on such levels and targeted to the masses? Somebody! Tell me what is really going on.

They call her the “Sacred Mother”, and there is nothing sacred about her Life

The sacred mother….or “Go Mata” is the Hindu term to describe the cow. “Go” is the Sanskrit word for “cow” and “mata” means “mother.” The cow, in Hinduism, is considered a scared mother and is highly revered by Hindus of all denominations. Just as the physical mother nourishes and sustains her children, so does the cow who selflessly gives of herself. She is believed to contain and embody the divinity of all the Hindu gods, which makes her holier than any other god Hinduism.

The Bull is also considered sacred because it is the spiritual vehicle of Lord Shiva (The god of destruction). Like the cow, the bull is respected as “father” because, back in the day, he would till and plough the land. And like a good human father who worked hard to provide for his family, the bull was considered to play a similar role in the lives of his owners.

Every aspect of the cow is considered sacred, except for her meat. It is unholy for cows to be consumed by human beings, according to Hinduism. Cow urine is used for medicinal purpose, cow dung is used as bio gas, cow’s milk (after it has been fully consumed by her own calf, and that’s how it should be) is also used for human consumption. In the era of the Vedas and the Puranas, the cows played a very sacred and central role in a family’s life. Now, it seems that while people in India still do worship and revere the cow and still perform poojas (Hindu rituals) for the cows, the awareness of how cows in India are actually treated is very, very limited.

I often notice, when I am out and about Mumbai, how there are so many cows that are aimlessly walking the streets; sitting by footpaths, homeless and abandoned. Once upon a time, these same cows were owned by someone who used it for transporting goods or for its milk; once the cow was of no use or too much of an economic burden to maintain, it was most likely made to fend for itself. It pains me to see these gentle creatures eating from garbage dumps or having to look for food among piles and piles of plastic bags that are piled all over the city.

Yesterday, I was in Khar in this kinda posh neighborhood and was saddened to see go mata reduced to such a joke:

Two cows eating from trash as the crows wait in line for a piece of the actions.

Two cows eating from trash as the crows wait in line for a piece of the action.

Have you ever looked into the eyes of a cow? If so, you may understand why it must sadden me to see these such images all over the city. I notice how oblivious people are to the plight of these animals, perhaps not understanding the harm that is caused to the cows when they have to fend for themselves.

Karuna, an animal sanctuary in Puttaparthi (South India), just did a documentary on the “Plastic Cow,” highlighting how India has an “open garbage system” where all kinds of animals, dogs, cats, crows, cows, bulls, bandicoots, and so on, feed and thrive on the garbage. The Non Governmental Organization, Karuna, operated on two cows: one cow had 32 kg (71 lbs) of plastic, while the other one had 42 kg (93 lbs) in its stomach.

If you would really like to learn more about this phenomena and possibly try to help the plight of these cows, please follow this link which has useful information. It is not disturbing and answers most questions relation to “plastic ingestion”:


What would Lord Krishna, the cow herd and lover of cows say, if he saw the plight of his animals? When did “go mata” (mother cow) become the plastic cow? It is indeed sad that the sacred mother is no longer treated with the respect and reverence that she was once accustomed to. What needs to be done to allow go mata to live a life of dignity?

Taking a break from the city…..Sure feels good!

Every time I return to Mumbai from Goa, I feel schizophrenic. In the last three months, I have had to go to Goa for a family event and on both times that I have returned to Mumbai, I have found it difficult to re-adjust. It really boils down to the noise….the noise from the traffic, the people, the incessant honking. I think I can safely say that I have kind of been acculturated to the population and the sheer number of people who I am surrounded by at any given point in time. But, the noise, is still quite difficult for me to handle. And, even if I am alone in my apartment, I still feel like there are a 100 people sitting with me because of the high levels of noise from the streets. The peace and quiet of Goa was much needed respite from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai.

In any case, this time round when I visited Goa, I had a fairly relaxed time. It was good to be with family of all ages, coming together from various parts of the country to participate in the family event. Of course, even though I am not big on family, what made this trip doable was the spaciousness of my aunt’s house. Here is a picture of her house in Goa that I so enjoy staying at every time I visit:

Aunt's house in Goa

Aunt's house in Goa

Back of the House: The maid pulling the cothes off the clothes line - Yup! The good ol' fashioned way.

Back of the House: The maid pulling the clothes off the clothes line - Yup! The good ol' fashioned way.

One of the things that striked me about Goa were the beautiful, palatial houses that people owned. I always knew that Goa was littered with these magnificent abodes, but it only became most apparent to me on this trip. Most of the houses are well designed and maintained, their lawns manicured, and each house looks better than the other! I am sharing some pictures of some of the houses that were on my aunt’s lane:

I love the color of this house and the way in which it is tucked in amongst some lovely, cozy, strikingly beautiful coconut palms:

After a long, long time, I re-visited the famous Colva Beach which is known and loved for its white sand. The entire beach is flanked by coconut trees that make you feel you are in heaven. Simply divine! Have a look folks:

Appraoching Colva beach

approaching Colva beach

The sunset at this beach was spectacular and I really felt blessed, as if I was given a gift from the gods, a gift I so seldom receive and so greatly cherish:

Splendid Sun!

Splendid Sun!

Fishing Boat coasting on the waters of the Arabian Sea

Fishing Boat coasting on the waters of the Arabian Sea

Here’s the sunset from the car park which took my breath away:

The sunset was not the only treat at Colva Beach. For the first time in my life, I had the pleasure of seeing, touching, and holding starfish that kept being washed away on the shore with the high tide. I was thrilled to see these little angels simply basking away on the sand and was mesmerized by their hazy blue color:

The underside of the Starfish

The underside of the Starfish

Here is a picture of several starfish just hanging out, hopefully enjoying themselves on the sand:

My husband and I went with a few other people who were also visiting Goa from Mumbai and when they saw the starfish, it was as if they hadn’t seen anything like it before. It was hilarious just listening to their remarks of amazement; their naiveté was sweet and touching, like little children who were in wonderment with god’s creation. Here are a couple of snaps of our little beach group:

Me and my crew!

Me and my crew!

I couldn’t resist taking some snaps of the a pack of dogs, literally a pack, just chillin on the white sands of Colva beach. It’s India, and there are dogs everywhere, even on the beach. But I love it!

Definitely good advertisement for the Water Activities Sign

Definitely good advertisement for the Water Activities Sign

The Lone Wolf

The Lone Wolf

On one of the days, we meandered through Margaon City, which is where all the action is. We chanced upon a fair that was happening in the heart of the city, where there were stalls galore and shopping a plenty. Everything you could imagine were being sold at the fair from clothes, to bed spreads, to brass, steel, and copper utensils, to clay planters and plants, eatables, and on and on. I was really shocked to see people selling machetes on the street and you can see what I mean for your self:

The line of stalls that littered the streets of Margaon city:

We also took a walk into the market where a host of veggies, eatables, cloth material, shoes, and all other sorts of goodies were sold at real cheap prices. We came upon some delicious, spicy red chillies whose smell permeated every olfactory gland. I am not kidding!

Red Chillies piled up for sale

Red Chillies piled up for sale

Here is an image of tamarind that were also piled up and tasted sooooo yummy and fresh!

Tamrind, tamrind, and some more tamrind!!!

tamarind, tamarind, and some more tamarind!!!

Being in goa was certainly a well deserved and much needed break, especially for my body and spirit that feels worn down from living in Mumbai. There is a stark difference between the two places, but I must confess that the solitude of Goa would be my cup of tea only to a certain extent. I would certainly run back to Mumbai for the city life I am so accustomed to and appreciate.

Hope you have a great weekend and if you would like to wish on a star, try this one. It may just be worth it!

Wish upon a star

Wish upon a star

Meri Billy – My Cat

I love my cat. She is my princess and the apple of my eye, my twinkle in the sky that makes me smile every time I think of her. Yes, as crazy as it may seem to some people, this post is dedicated to my cat; my feline friend who, more often than not, provides me with some modicum of sanity on many a days when I am still challenged by this city.

Maitri is her name, which in Sanskrit, appears to have several meanings and connotations: loving kindness, compassion, friend, etc. She is all of the above and has provided me with immense kindness, compassion and companionship, especially now more than ever. I first got Maitri when I moved to the USA in 2002. I have always had animals in my house, all of whom were rescued from the streets of Dubai. People would often think of our home as an animal shelter. At any given time, we would have 4 dogs and 3-4 cats and it was a riot! We all loved animals – my mum, dad, sister and myself, and it has stayed the same to this date. My sister and I turned vegetarian, by our own volition, when I was 13 years and she was 11. My parents then followed suite. Hence, I have never known a day in my life, since the age of 10, without an animal at home (It was when I was 10 years that my sister and I wrote a letter to Santa Claus asking for a puppy. Santa listened, and I had our first pet at the age of 10).

When I landed in the USA, by month 6 of still trying to figure out life in San Francisco, I decided that I just had to get a cat. There was no other way around it and I went over to Pets Unlimited, an animal shelter in the Fillmore, and “fostered” a cat. Yes, the intention was to foster an animal till it was strong enough to return it to the shelter which would give it up for adoption. But did it just end with fostering? Hell no! 3 weeks down the line and I convinced my partner that since I had gotten so attached to her and she to me, it just wouldn’t be fair to return her to the shelter, where she would be all by herself again! He relented and the 4 week old brat became a permanent member of the family.

Fast forward to 2011 when it was time to pack up and move to India. There was just no doubt in my mind that Maitri was coming along for the ride. Despite people’s qualms about how she would adjust to India or their ridicule at the crazy idea of taking Maitri all the way from cool, quiet SF to noisy, HOT Mumabi, I stood in my conviction that she would be alright. Here is a picture of her that I shot last week. She looks damn alright to me:

Her first month in Mumbai and the cat would be under the bed 25 out of 24 hours in a day. She was terrified by the noise and strange sounds that pervaded every corner of the house. She would barely come out from under the bed, unless coaxed with treats, and even that was a struggle. Besides, it was probably much cooler under the bed and she would lay her belly flat on the tiled floors, being soothed by them.

Meri billy (my cat in Hindi) greets me every time I come home, be it any time of the day or night. The moment the key is in the door, Maitri is at the door, gazing at me with her big black eyes. All my challenges of the day, my dealings with idiotic people, my struggles with navigating traffic, and my irritation with the hot, harsh weather, just bubble away when I see her countenance.  Here is another picture of her sprawled on the bed:

She just loves sleeping on papers and will make every attempt to find a bunch of papers, make a nest of them, and plop herself in it. Here is another picture of her all curled up in a room with the air conditioner on – I don’t think she really likes the AC:

Just yesterday, I got the shock of my life. I came home at around 8:30 pm and was a little surprised to not see Maitri at the door. I thought she was probably hiding under the bed, and so I dropped my bag on table, rolled up my sleeves and looked under the bed. Nada! Then I looked in her usual spots – on the sofa, on the bed, under the bed in the other room, under all the closets, in the fridge (yes, she has been known to have been locked in the refrigerator one time in SF…..I’ll leave that story for another day), and in the toilets and balconies. I did this whole sequence twice and then started panicking. I then recalled that I had left the cabinet in the kitchen open to put back some utensils. When I opened the cabinet, out came Maitri, not a peep from her, as if nothing had happened. The woman had been in there for over 6 hours!!! She went to her food bowl, sniffed it, and hid under the bed. A little later, I had opened the closet in the bedroom and had left it open for a while, as I was on the phone. After being done with my chat, I almost shut the door, but was prompted to check if Maitri was in there. Right enough, there she was in the lower shelf of the closet. The woman just won’t learn:

In the Closet

In the Closet

There have been days, when we had the Indian summer of October, when it has been really hot and humid – almost unbearable. Here is a picture of Dame Maitri just lazing about, without a care in the world:

This is another picture of Maitri having just gotten up from her afternoon nap, having cuddled under the sheets, and peering out of it in time for her afternoon snack:

And one last story to conclude my tribute to Maitri. Maitri, for the first two months, did not like the maid one bit. I think it’s probably because she was not used to having someone come into the house everyday and the maid, as lovely as she is, has a loud voice and when she calls out the cat’s name, you would think she was shouting at her. Plus, the added commotion of someone sweeping the house and mopping the floors 6 days a week, may have irritated Maitri who was already trying to deal with the external noise pollution. In any case, I had to make a trip to Delhi for 4 days and that’s when Maitri and the maid bonded. Now, Maitri comes out and watches the maid go about her work, and let’s the maid talk to her, even though I still think she sounds like she is shouting at someone.

A few days ago, I caught this lovely image of the cat looking outside the window in anticipation of the crows, and the maid looking at the cat. It was a sweet moment:

On that note, suffice to say that Maitri is better adjusted than me in Mumbai, I love her to death, and am so grateful that she is on this journey with me. She will be 10 years old next March and will celebrate her first Indian birthday.

What has your country done for YOU?

This afternoon, on my way to a meeting to Versova, I decided to meet up with one of my new expat friends in Juhu for some coffee. Juhu is such a beautiful area, with its beach and real fancy hotels, stunning boutiques displaying colors and fabrics that were magical and unique, and tall palm trees that beckoned me to the beach and the setting sun. This part of Mumbai is tres chic and I often find myself mesmerized by all the shops and cafes that envelope this part of the city, making it one of the more expensive areas to live in.

We had our coffees and were chatting about life in Mumbai – how I used to crib about it all the time, and how I am now trying to find the positive things about Mumbai. She then asked me WHY I moved from the USA to India, perplexed by the absurdity and bizarreness of our decision. After all, these were  two countries that could not be more different from each other. I explained to her that my husband and I, after living in the USA for 10 years and after seeing that India is in a very fertile phase of economic development and advancement, decided we wanted to contribute to our motherland, that we wanted make a difference to our country and her people in whatever little way we could. We wanted to do something for our country – we are patriots. Her next question stunned me, because this question has never been asked of me before: “But, what has your country done for you?”

I swear to god, I usually do not get stumped, but this time I was. I actually had to think for a moment and after a few moments passed, I still did not have an answer. She also said, “Your country has done nothing for you. Why have you come back? Look at other countries, such as those in the Middle East, Europe and North America, they take care of their people.” In many ways, she is right. What has my country done for me? To this moment, I am still speechless where this question is concerned. This is not to suggest, by any stretch of imagination, that I should only contribute to my country if it has done something for me. In the same vein, I pay all my taxes, I follow the law, I have a healthy civic sense, but I do not feel that I am living the quality of life that I did in the USA or in the UAE, where I felt that the government really took care of its people; be it having good roads, having accessible medical facilities for the well off and not so well off, by having adequate and consistent law enforcement, and so on.

I am still reflecting on her question, disturbed by the fact that I do not have an answer for it. It is even more disconcerting that I probably may not have an answer to this question. I do not know. But, if you can share your thoughts on this subject and shed some light on what your country has done for you, I would greatly appreciate it.

Good ol’ faithful Cafe Mondegar

I have spent many a college nights drinking beer at this ancient, timeless, cafe in Colaba/ South Mumbai – Cafe Mondegar (CM), more favorably known by the locals as “Mondy’s”. Anyone who has visited this cafe will know exactly what I am talking about. This place is usually plagued by tourists and foreigners who seek respite from the fantastic shopping that one could do at Colaba Causeway. Every time I go to the causeway, I find myself drawn to CM, like a snake swaying to the music of its charmer.

I discovered CM when I was in college in Mumbai, way back in 1998. I used to live by myself, and it was such a luxury to have your own two bedroom apartment in the heart of the city, especially when all my other classmates were either living in a hostel or living with their parents. I really discovered a good part of myself when I pretty much had to stand on my own two feet at the age of 18, after having a sheltered childhood and adolescence in Dubai.

Moving on, CM was originally an Iranian restaurant – Mumbai had and still has it’s fair share of Iranians that settled in India not so long ago. Now, it is a vibrant place with a vivacious juke box that spins tunes – both old and new, and it’s walls are covered with caricatures and murals that take you to another place and time. I took this photograph when I was at CM a few weeks ago:

I used to drive down with my friends to CM when I was in college and sip on cold beers and debate on the fate of the city, on the purpose of life, and on the joys of having solid, good friends. Life was simpler then, my only worries and concerns being studying at college and ensuring that I pass all my exams with flying colors. For me, CM was a good old friend that was always there when I needed some chilled beer and stimulating conversations. Over crowded or not, hot or cold weather, pricey or affordable (there were some days when, as a college student, CM was not very affordable for me), I used to always be a happy camper when I was at CM. Here is another picture that I recently took that would probably give you a fair idea of why I am so amused and charmed by this place:

This time when I went to CM, after a hard day’s work of shopping for trinkets and table runners and pillow covers and shoes at the Causeway, I treated myself to a refreshing glass of Chandy (a mixture of equal parts beer and Sprite – Of course, it may come as no surprise to some of my readers that my Chandy usually has more beer and less Sprite). Bob Marley was playing from the Juke Box and for that 1 hour, at around 3 pm, life was good! All my cribbing about Mumbai, the pollution outside, the noise and the people who would never go away….all of it just melted in the background, as my girlfriend and I debated on the fate of the city, on the purpose of life, and on the joys of having solid, good friends.  Here’s to good ol’ faithful Mondy’s!

Visiting Old Bombay

It wasn’t very long ago when you would visit Mumbai and feel like you were in Europe. Yes, Europe, with its old charming buildings and cobbled stone streets, meandering through various parts of what used to be terrains of the British Empire.

Mumbai, or what the British referred to as “Bombay”, was a favored part of the country. Many a monuments and structures were built by the British in colonial India and still stand tall and proud, even in the midst of all the pollution and environmental abuse that they are currently being put through. Monuments, such as the Gateway of India or Victoria Terminus/ VT (the train station now re-christened by the government of Maharashtra as Chatrapatti Shivaji Terminus), still stand testament to the glory and power of the British Regime.

After a long time, I took a train ride into VT, and was amazed and blown away by its beauty, in awe of the Goliath structure that has stood the test of time. As I got out of VT, I was welcomed by this beautiful Victorian building that now serves as the Bombay Municipal Corporation office (BMC):

Here is the silhouette of Victoria Terminus on a sunny day, at around 10:30 am:

As I was walking around, i saw several more buildings and offices that looked as regal and stoic as the Queen Mother herself, and were littered around this part of Mumbai – the original Mumbai or Mumbai city. I thought i was in Oxford or Cambridge. Here is another picture of a building that was in the middle of getting a face lift (as evident by all the scaffolding):

And of course, last but not least, an English phone booth, smack in the middle of Mumbai! Have a look for your selves:

This phone booth made my day and certainly put a smile on my face!

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