Monday, 28 December 2009

Dharavi - A Landmark in Mumbai

Slum dog Millionaire put Dharavi on the world map; otherwise it was just the rows of narrow streets in Mumbai where you could find leather products, small scale industries and garment and embroidery workshops. Cleanliness is not important, nor does any law govern this street, ‘Go at your own risk’ is what was said to me whenever I had expressed a desire to visit these streets on my own.

During Diwali season, we go to those lanes to visit the rows and rows of shops selling mud pots and diyas at wholesale rates. There is great variety of goods available at very cheap prices.

The only problem is that we had go to there by foot, since there is no transport small enough to drives through this narrow and congested streets.

We had to ask more than fifteen taxi drivers before one finally agreed to take us to this street.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

The Sapling Project in Mumbai

There is too much dust, pollution, population in Mumbai and there are new constructions cropping up everyday and the sad part is that the trees are chopped down for this concrete progression. But do you realize that soon there will be only concrete jungle with no greenery left and the only place where we will find greenery is when we to go to a park for our regular walk???

And have you thought about birds? They have no trees to build their nest. Last time I went for a holiday and my balcony was invaded by crows. In Mumbai, we only see two kinds of birds: crows and pigeons, where are those other beautiful birds?

But wait.. I just got good news…My friend buzzed me about 'The Sapling Project in Mumbai! Wow! I can plant trees in my backyard and you can do it too. We can help keep the greenery by planting some trees and take care of it ourselves…its just for two years. The rewards? Did you say rewards? Yeah!! We can enjoy the fragrance of leaves and flowers all day long……all our life….

The plants will be distributed free to all…Want to participate? You can come and collect your sapling on 19th December 2009 at Barista, Shivaji Park in Dadar. You can also buy sapling for Ashoka tree or Neem tree but for that you have to pay Rs40.

But what is Rs40, as compared to the wealth of fresh air that our future generation will inherit?

We just have to take care of the plants for two years and then they will take care of us….and our children

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Mumbai Christmas Fest and Racing Carnival

This Saturday, I have an invitation to attend Mumbai Christmas Fest and Racing Carnival at Royal Western India Turf Club (Mahalakshmi Race Course)

Shopping does not interest me but I would like to taste German cuisine and buy some cheese and sauces perhaps. Moreover I am also interested in watching kid’s reaction when they meet Santa, yes! Santa is going to be there so that should be fun.

The festival will be on from 5th December 2009 to 12th December and the entrance is Rs250. children below age of 12 are free…..
Earlier, 2007 Christmas fest was a huge success.

Planning to take some kids with me…see you there….

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Celebrate Bandra Festival- Literature

'Celebrate Bandra' saw the expression of art in different forms and every form had its own rhythm and style, be it  painting, sculpture, dance, music, theatre, or 'Words'

Yes ‘Words’ Er. I mean to say there were some beautiful expressions of art at ‘Literature festival’ Get it?

This is the subject close to my heart. There were many events organized under ‘Celebrate Literature’ I would have loved to attend them all but it was a bit difficult to reach everywhere. There were poetry, plays, dramas, discussions, book readings, workshops and many more lit-events.

The few that I attended were very satisfying. Some of the events that I enjoyed were the                                   

                               ‘Open Mic Night’ at Zenzi

Jane Bhandar and Peter Griffin

Here the poets performed and shared their poems, Shayaris and Gazals. The session started at 10pm and lasted for over two hours and it very entertaining and enjoyable.

At ‘Crossword, Linking road’ there was an event called

                                   ‘Meet Bandra’s Icon’

Sarayu Ahuja, Namita Devidayal, Kalpana Swaminathan and George Menezes in conversation with Dilip D'Souza

This event had the well- known, established Bandra authors speak about their work. They related the stories and their experiences during writing their book. The authors read from their works and I specially liked the reading by Sarayu Ahuja which was quite entertaining. At the end of the session I bought one book ‘One sip at a time’ autographed by ‘George Menezes’

At Café Goa, there was another event

 “Old books and Beer plus get your own music.”

Used books for sale

While the music played in the background, large crowd gathered over the piles of old books that were put up for sale. The proceeds of the sale would go to one of the Bandra causes (I was told) I bought one book “Chowringhee’ by Sankar for only Rs70 (the actual price was Rs295)

Hello! ....The festival is not over, not as yet.... and there are many more events lined up over the next few days……..n I m enjoying it, la!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Bandra Idol at ‘Celebrate Bandra’

You remember these songs?

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things……”

And how about this song “Daddy, you are too old to dance on rock n roll”......

and yet another one "Heal the world"........

These and many more beautiful songs I heard today while I sat at Bandstand promenade, under the moon light, enjoying the sea-breeze. I liked it especially because kids were singing these songs. They performed with great theatrical skills, dancing with rhythm and with much confidence, quite a performance, I must say cause, not once did they falter in their lines…..great show! They knew how to communicate with the audience.

The performers were classified into three groups: 7-10 years, 11 – 13 years and 14 – 16 years. I have started believing that Bandra has got a talent and I doubt if any other suburb in Mumbai has the platform to give a chance to their artists to showcase their talent.

The later part of the show was continued with the top five finalist of Bandra idol, the winner of this show, (we were told) would get the chance to perform at the closing ceremony of ‘Celebrate Bandra’ at Bandra Fort amphitheatre.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Creative activity for Kids

On Thursday at 7pm, while people enjoyed to the heavy rock band of ‘Shor bazaar’,

there were tiny tots joining dots and coloring the doodles of animals of extinct species outside the children’s park at Carter road.

On Normal days I often see these kids (some of them regulars) come to this park with their grannies or nannies and enjoy on the swing or on park furniture, but during this ‘Bandra Festival’ they had one more activity.

The children helped themselves from the boxes of colored chalks and enjoyed what they like best…coloring and scribbling.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Bandra Has A Heart

‘Celebrate Bandra’ is not just the celebration of art, culture and entertainment, it is also for creating opportunities to create better lives for less fortunate. Yeah…Bandra has a heart

As I walked down the promenade, I saw this bicycle displayed on a table. No, this bicycle was not for sale.

On looking closer, there was another poster next to this bicycle.

This is the bicycle project, where you can donate the bicycles that are of no use to you. They will repair it, bring it in a working condition and donate it to less fortunate in the rural area, to make the life easier for people who have no easy access to transport.

In Mumbai, we live in style, we take an auto even for a smaller distance, but in rural area, there are no such facilities and they have to walk to their destination. With easy and cheaper transport such as bicycles it will be lot easier for them to travel to a longer distance and avail of better opportunities such as education and jobs

For those who have no old bicycles to donate but have a very big heart and lots of money, then he can buy a new bicycle na……

Try it …it might make you feel goooooooooood!!!!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Art Installations at Carter Road in Bandra

As I walked down the Carter Road Promenade, I feasted my eyes on the various art work displayed on my path. ‘Going Green’ being the theme of this festival, the art work displayed at the promenade sent across this message. One of the art work that was truly amazing was the stuffed hands displayed like dried fish at the shore. When I asked the artists what message did she want to sent across, she said that these are the hands of the people who have the responsibility of taking care of the environment.

Further up, there were rows of cylinders made of used plastic glasses and stuffed with colorful pictures, that created a beautiful curtain effect, the artist explained that everything that we use could be converted into a art instead of throwing it in the waste and causing environment disaster.

Used bottles can be re-used

Waste paper can also be creatively used to make innovative art work.

This year ‘Celebrate Bandra’ sends across this message that every citizen should say ‘No to the Plastic bags’ and we, as a true Bandraite, could take the first initiative to make Bandra plastic free.

Classical Dance Performance at Carter Road Amphitheatre

Dancing requires concentration, poise and talent and the performers at Carter Road Amphitheater (at Bandra Festival) had just that.

The show started with performance by the ‘Victroy Art Foundation’, a dance on environment by street children.

This was followed by series of Odissi dances by the group trained by Jhelum Parajape (a Bandra resident) who has won several awards including ‘Mahari Award 2005’ an award, that is given to a professional solo Odissi dancer of national or international repute for outstanding contribution in the field of Odissi dance.

This was followed by Bharata Natyam, a beautiful performance by Nandini Ashok’s troupe.

The show ended with Kathak dance by Chaya Khanavate’s troupe.

It was a spectacular show and I really enjoyed it a lot and the good news is that I can watch it again if I
wish to, since all the shows will be repeated at different venues like amphitheatre at Bandstand and at Bandra Reclamation.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Cooking demonstration at 'Bandra Festival'

I hardly ever use wine in my cooking, but this sounded interesting, so me and my family headed towards the restaurant to see the chef demonstrate a pasta dish.

He had marinated chicken and while we waited for the seats to be occupied he informed us about the use of white and red wine in food.

He shallow fried the marinated (lime juice, salt, pepper and parsley) chicken in butter and wine and kept aside.

He next stir fried the veggies (onions, garlic, green- red-yellow pepper, capers, shallots, shredded cabbage, broccoli, olives) added garlic, salt pepper and a dash of wine and then transferred these stir fired veggies in another dish

Finally he stir fried garlic and onion in butter, added shredded basil leaves, parsley, peppers, white wine, white sauce, little water, pasta, salt capers and olive and wee bit more of white sauce.

In a hot sizzling plate, he place blanched cabbage leaves, arrange fried veggies, added shallow fried chicken and pasta and got it sizzling by adding a chunk of butter

Yuummm! It was sooooooooo good!!!

Bandra Wine Festival

After the rain, the days are cooler and to spend Sunday morning at D’Monte Park, where ‘Celebrate Bandra’ had launched the wine tasting festival was quite inviting.

We bought Rs50 entrance coupon and Rs500 wine tasting kit that contained one wine glass and a booklet of coupons for tasting wine

There were various stalls of different brands and we stopped at every stall to taste the wine.

I started to get tipsy, cause I am not used to drinking too much wine,

So I decided to sit down under the shade of a tree to enjoy the instrumental music that was quite soothing.

There was a row of food stalls selling delicious food; we patronized all four food stalls, trying out the specialty from each stall.

It was a wonderful afternoon and everybody present seemed to enjoy it too.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Bandra Parade

The festival started today, and the big procession was there on the Bandra streets

“Save our Earth” the message was loud and clear as the procession marched with cheer and joy, waving flags.

They emerged from the gates of San Stanislaus school; walked through Bandstand right up to Bandra Fort.

People dressed in colorful fancy clothes, dancing through street and distributing gifts to the people on the street.

Friday, 13 November 2009

‘Go Green’ is the theme of ‘Celebrate Bandra’ this year.

Remember the article that I had posted earlier on ‘Celebrate Bandra?

Did u read it then? No? Then I suggest you read that now ,to get an idea of what I am talking about. Yeah this one… The much awaited celebrate Bandra is now just round the corner.

The preparations are in full swing.

The festival will highlight the urgent need to be eco-friendly. Say no to plastic,

To get across this message, you will see an eleven floor high installation of plastic bottles featuring a waterfall…do go to MET near Lilavati to witness that.

And do you remember the wall project.? Well, they are here again. This time to paint 'Mount Mary' steps, a unique canvas, the verticals of stairs will have a visual impact as everyone goes about painting those steps.

There is much to see and enjoy at the festival: music, art, dance and theatre, showcased at three promenades. (Bandstand, Carter Road, reclamation)

And while you are at Bandra fort, ….walk up the concrete steps, behind the amphitheatre, through the shrubs, trees and rock gardens, climb up few more steps and as you reach the top, take a deep breath,

and watch the sunset behind the new Bandra-Worli sea-link.

Que vista Bonita!!!

The name "Bombay" was derived from 'Bom Bahia' (The Good Bay),

.... a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508 ....“Bounce back Mumbai” it is called by the locals, it is a city that has been through a lot in the recent past – floods, bomb blasts, riots – and come out stronger each time.

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