Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Year That It Was in Mumbai-(2011)

Mumbai is the city that is unpredictable. It attracts, it distracts and sometimes it disappoints.

The year 2011 has been good except for its tail……

Sadly very disappointing to Anna Hazare at the end of the year, although there was lots of activity at BKC complex but the attendance was sparse. Ah well, people in Mumbai are busy, (work first, unless unemployed). Normally, when they have no time to stop and say hello to their next door neighbor, how would you expect them to wait in hot sun for a rally, shouting slogan? Nah, they cannot even if you offered them free Biryanis.

But the awareness of this movement has spread, they do support anti-corruption bill and will only be too happy if the Lokpal bill is passed, only please don’t expect them to skip their work/commitments and join the rally.

Not that they don’t skip their work, they do….to watch cricket match.

Throughout the day we sat, watching the live telecast with family and friends, nail-biting, although there was lots of food in the house, a special meal to suit everybody’s taste but still, nails were tastier in the times of stress. There was one big street party at the end of the day, on winning the world cup and this was day they didn't complain of being stuck in a traffic jam

Mumbaites are passionate about everything, they will support a socialcause if it is on non-working day..

Remember the day  (February 2011) when 350 women from Mumbai took out the rally to Lavasa to spread the breast cancer awareness? The message was loud and clear that day ‘Cancer is curable if detected early’. It was an event to help promote women empowerment.  I made seven new friends who share the equal passion for blogging and we explored the city of Lavasa, enjoying two full days.

There were thirteen celebrity deaths that included veteran Bollywood actors like Shammi Kapoor, Dev Anand, Navin Nischol and Goga Kapoor and filmmakers like Surinder Kapoor, Shamin Desai, Jagmohan Mundhra, Mani Kaul and painter MF Hussain as well as singers like Jagjit Singh, Bhimsen Joshi, Suchitra Mitra, Bhupen Hazarika.

The death of all these has created irreplaceable viod in various fields of filmmaking.

Not everybody is safe in Mumbai city, some innocent civilians also lost their lives.

Helpless Mumbaikars stranded on the roads, with no clue of what they had wronged. The news spoke of the bomb blasts at the crowded areas, about injured people being rushed off to hospitals, some limbs chopped into pieces flown into different directions, and angry people on the streets. The whole stretch of road was bloody. The bomb blast was triggered by a timer and nobody had seen it implanted there? On crowded streets of Mumbai, nobody had noticed the bomb being implanted on a scooter at Javeri Bazar, on the top of the bus-stop at Opera house or under the tiles on the road at Dadar. People went on with their business unaware of the danger being built up and terrorist were successful in their destructive and inhuman act.

Hoping the New Year brings some memorable and peaceful moments, thank you for visiting my blog regularly and….

Wishing you a happy new year 2012

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas at Bandra in Mumbai

Twinkling lights reflect from every windshield of the passing car. Rows and rows of car juggle, swirling between auto rickshaws and the big red buses. I walk on the side of the road, lost in the sea of people around me, all in the festive mood.. The loud sound of traffic distracts me from my reverie.  Going to the other side of the road takes too much time.

The footpath is occupied by hawkers on either side of the road by hawkers who are happy of the booming sale; even a loose, crumbled garment fetches a price. A sign displays the message as ‘No Hawking Zone’ but hawkers don’t seem to care. They scream to catch the attention of the passing crowd. The signal turns red and I am happy to cross over to other side of the road.

A street urchin crosses my path and offers me some trinkets for the Christmas tree; I refuse and pause to see the woman dressed in red sari behind him. She dons red hair band that have long spikes resembling the horn of a reindeer. In their hands are bunch of red caps with white furry borders. A group of young girls surround her, snatching the caps from her hand and trying on their head. One girl pays for three caps and walks away contented with her purchase.

Its Christmas time in Mumbai and Hill road in Bandra is full of shoppers. People shop for Christmas decoration and sweets. The road is lighted up and a perfect place to go for shopping and feel the Christmas mood.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

NCPA in Mumbai is in news again…..

I am so glad to know that we will see an affordable, sea-facing café at NCPA. hope to see something like this .....

 During my visits to Europe, I have always loved that café facing the sea front; it’s the place so inspiring, while you watch the sunset across the sea, you sip your coffee and the poetry dancing around your lips.

 Mumbai has water on all three sides, I wish there were many more café like these, I would love to just sit under the colored umbrellas and enjoy the breeze, I wouldn’t mind pani-puri or pav bhaji stalls too.

 “The NCPA Café will be an informal space,” explains Khushroo N. Suntook, the centre’s chairman and a founder of its associated Symphony Orchestra of India. “Audiences, families, arts aficionados, youngsters, students, artistes can come to the NCPA and have a pleasant day—performance or no performance.”

 Few months ago when I had attended ‘Crossword and Vodaphone Award’ I had complained about unavailability of food during late hours and this café is the welcome change.

 Economics dictates change. But more importantly, the NCPA’s energy may work to usher in a new stage of the centre’s relationship with its native city.
 “We are moving away from the beige in our walls and our work,” Suntook says, “and moving towards more colour and vibrancy.”
Supriya Nair discusses NCPA in Live Mint Lounge in her article ‘Moving away from the Beige’
This is a good news for artists and other people who come to this theater or by the sea shore at this end of Mumbai and I hope they will offer food at reasonable rates. Finger-friendly food like kababs, frankies and pastries are always all time favorites and the younger crowd prefer dim sum and Chinese starters .

So, watch out on January 22, the date slated to open, a place to go on Sundays and other relaxing days thereafter...

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Thespo 13 - An Event not to be missed.

If you are in Mumbai and love theatre, Thespo 13 is something you might not want to miss.

There are various events lined up during the second week of December at Pritvis theatre, Juhu and at NCPA, South Mumbai, the details of the event can be found at QTP The Script 

QTP was created in 1999 and its’ activities include Plays, Live Events, Casting, Workshops, etc.

"Last year, when the festival was facing extinction, the community came together to 'save' the festival. Friends of Thespo was born, and in honour of the crowds that supported us, we have dedicated this year to them... therefore it is Thespo 13 - Theatre Tera Mera. 
 Thespo 13 will be held from 13 to 16 December at the Prithvi Theatre and 17 & 18 December 2011 at the NCPA Experimental Theatre. The days are packed with exciting workshops, live band performances, platform performances and the much anticipated Full Length Plays!" 
For everything you need and want to know about the 13th edition of India's Premier Youth Theatre Festival, just click onto:

have fun!!!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Linking the East with the West of Mumbai

Travelling from West to East of Mumbai by Metro rail seemed like a good idea considering the comfort it would afford and the time one would save and when it was announced some 3 years ago, the residents of Versova were only too happy with this proposition. Maybe they were not aware of the discomfort it would bring them during the construction of such project that would include dust, traffic and the relocation of the present facilities.

My friend lives closer to this construction site and I give her the credit for living in so much noise pollution, There are times when it is impossible to hold conversations/discussions, even though her windows and doors are shut at all time of the day. There is no fresh air, no sun and dust sweeps in through every small aperture.

I went to visit her this week-end after the gap of nearly six months and was very surprised to see the changes. The last station, Versova ends near her home covering the footpath and the street below her house and extended towards her building, almost kissing her window. She has already said goodbye to fresh air and sun forever and hopes that re-development of the building might bring relief.

Its November 2011 already and construction is still just steel and concrete……

Various components of the project are in progress simultaneously - including construction of stations, depots, track work, overhead electrification and signaling.

And there are more promises to complete by August 2012

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Auto Rickshaws Services in Mumbai City

Sometime back, I had visitors from US. I took my 9-year-old American guest for ride in an auto-rickshaw. When she returned she was thrilled at having traveled in a vehicle that had no doors and you didn’t even have the restrictions of wearing a seat belt.

How cool is that?

Children who live abroad are always amused by these dangerous (and adventurous) rides of travelling in an auto at a break-neck speed, jumping over the potholes with a hard bump, ignoring the traffic lights and squeezing through the heavy traffic. These are called the 'fun rides' by our visitors, the stories that they would take back home


There are some areas in Mumbai, where it is difficult to find an auto-rickshaw. Sometimes I have wasted more than 20 minutes, waiting, and then decided to walk or take a bus because of unavailability of getting an auto. Taxis in suburbs will not ply short distance travelers and this creates lots of inconvenience for commuters. There are times when the drivers refuse to go to certain areas. I have observed many times that many auto rickshaws refuse to go to the eastern suburbs/ on hilly locations/or in the areas where they are not likely to find any client on their return journey.

And then, there are times when the auto-rickshaw driver is just not in mood.

Therefore I was relieved when I read about this auto-rickshaw service in DNA that yelled “Dial-an-auto service kicks off today in Mumbai”

I called city’s first dial-a-rickshaw service at 022-25747474 to get more information.

Me: Can I book the auto for the whole day?

PR: Yes of course. All you have to do is to call me one hour before your journey and book an auto.

Me: Is there a lump sum amount I have to pay for the whole day?

PR: No! You pay by meter; we will charge you only Rs20 for the booking service.

Me: Will the driver wait as long as I want him to, till I finish my work, say about 15 minutes?

PR: Yes of course, his meter is running and you can make him wait any where, as long as you want, if you wish to finish your work.

Now this is good news, because many-a-times I have to leave the auto because the driver refuses to wait for 5 minutes and later, I get stranded in lonely lanes, looking for another auto.

The auto service has just begun with only 300 autos registered under its wing. The drivers are provided with an identity card. The nearest driver in the area is informed by SMS and the first driver to respond is given the confirmation email with passenger’s phone number, address and travel details. The commuter is the given the details of the drivers, his telephone number and license plate.

This service is similar to Meru service, although I cannot vouch for Meru’s taxi service.

I am hoping that this auto-rickshaw service will deliver the comfort that it promises to…we shall wait and watch…..

Friday, 23 September 2011

Day out at BandStand in Bandra

A warm and sunny afternoon at Bandstand in Bandra. The gentle breeze ruffles the palm trees, swinging on its branches..............

The sea is wild, jumps with joy under every wave, foaming breathlessly under the serene sky......

People at the shore walk closer to the waves, soaking their feet and shout with glee.....

The sea so inviting that more people are tempted to walk towards the cool breeze.....

But Ganesha waits enjoying the breeze..........

Till it is time to say goodbye and walk back into the sea......

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Mumbai's broken roads and Potholes

I am scared to walk on Mumbai roads, are you?

On normal days too, its not safe. The interlocking tiles that have been placed in the by-lanes and on streets always have tiles missing. Where do they go? People remove these tiles and put them in their homes. No, I am not joking, I have actually seen these tiles in some people’s bathroom to clean the feet. Some of these tiles are stolen by hawkers to display their wares. Twenty tiles, placed one on the top of other in two rows make a nice stand for displaying their wares. More over the work done by different municipal departments and telephone companies add to the mess who are too lazy to put the interlocking tiles back in a neat way and so we have many streets with pebbles and sand on which I break my bones.
Rainy season is worse, too many potholes everywhere. Some of them are big enough to reflect the scenery of nature.

"Some of them so huge that faced with anger and criticism from Mumbaikars over potholes in the roads, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has come up with a master plan to name the potholes after famous personalities, so that the demand to remove them goes down drastically."

You wait at the bus-stop and don’t be surprised to be splashed with dirty water from the moving traffic.

This is the state of Mumbai, which is supposed to be the metropolis city.

Every year, like every other year it’s the same story, these potholes cause unnecessary delays in commuting from one place to another. The traffic is slow and completely jammed, back to back, and with those continuous bumps on the road, it is no surprised that there are back aches and spinal injuries.

The horror stories are everywhere:

"A cornered Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) promises quick remedies and jumps into patchwork exercises, which, as a rule, get drained off. Some road contractors are fined for shoddy work and some engineers in the municipal corporation are pulled up too. The government steps in at some point and takes stock of the situation, holds meetings, some high-level ones, and finally ends mouthing something wishy-washy."

Normally speaking, the roads should be repaired at night when there is less traffic, but here in Mumbai, they are repaired during daytime, in mid-afternoon causing further delays and re-routing of the traffic.

Yesterday, on my way to CBD from Bandra, my bus took a re-route via Palm road which caused 30 minutes extra time on the road, luckily I had my reading material and was busy and occupied, but I pity those who are in pain due to some health problems and they have no choice but to tolerate and wait…….

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Travelling from South to North Mumbai

One of the biggest discomforts that one can experience in Mumbai is travelling by road. I rarely go to South Mumbai if I can help it but on those days when it is impossible to avoid, I normally take a train, unless I am too tired……

Then I am forced to take a Taxi.

The taxi fellow must be fed up too of driving through this crazy city, therefore when I tell him to take me to Bandra, he suggests sea-link. That will cost Rs50 extra for the toll. I must decide if I wish to go through one hour traffic jam or pay Rs50 and cover the same distance in ten minutes. The normal routes are crowded with buses, taxi, cars in great numbers and also the jay-walking pedestrians, who cross the streets randomly. Mumbai has lots of sky-walk, but hardly anybody uses it, because it’s too tiring to walk up two stories to walk comfortable. Had they installed lifts/escalators at each skywalk, it could have helped. Anyways, sea-link road was the ride I chose and was grateful for my wise decision.

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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