And that’s the moon over Bombay’s skyline. But, the moon, however, wasn’t orange – it was pink. Seriously. Twitterstanis who attended @adese’s birthday will vouch for it. Taken with my mobile phone, it’s actually amazing any colors came through at night, though!
In March, I visited Rani Baug, which houses both Mumbai’s zoo and the Victoria & Albert Museum, now the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Byculla. We had such perfect timing, we chanced upon the albino peacock just as he unfurled his beautiful tail and tried to get the attention of the very coy peahen (visible on a perch on the left.) It was gorgeous! Very soap opera-esque. Yeah! Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo 😉 We saw sleeping rhinos, a python, gazelle, neelgay, sambar, beautiful birds, including one of paradise – all with bad or no signage. The bird of paradise, an unusual red and green specimen was identified as a “mynah” – a terrible travesty.
The only decent sign we saw, however, was … audacious in its sheer stupidity. Click on the peacock picture to see the only sign of explanation 😉
So, you know the potato crisps you get at the old-time movie theatres? Not the branded ones shilled by film stars – the ones that look like hey, they could have been fried and packaged in a cottage industry around the corner? Well, turns out that they kinda are! This was the glimpse I got into a wafer-ki-dukaan in Kotachiwadi one afternoon. Behind the posh, clean counter with the sealed bags of all kinds of fried farsaan was this massive man with an even more massive set of utensils. Look at the size of that ‘pateela’ and the fryer he’s using to literally paddle the crinkle-cut potato wafers in the scalding oil! Don’t miss the salli (as in salli-boti) and the already fried chips in the forefront.
P.S. Kotachiwadi was beautiful; really a small glimpse of Mumbai’s colonial past with the Portuguese architecture and the brightly painted cottages 🙂
It was janmashtmi – nothing, as far as I could tell, to do with Hanuman but voila, we turned a corner near the Metro cinema and there he was, being readied with much dusting and oiling to be taken elsewhere in the city. Later that same night, we ran into him on Mahim causeway! 😀
I guess you can get an idea of how large he loomed from the perspective around him. So very cool!
Here we go! I finally feel like a citizen and an adult. All the years I lived abroad and paid state and federal tax, I never got a say in the process. Now, finally, I feel like I actually belong. I had to fight for it ;D But I did vote!
So, you read about how I was sure they’d ripped up my application after I’d left when I went to register. I checked online but my name wasn’t on the list. My parents got their voter ID cards, I didn’t. But, with fingers crossed, I went to check the updated list at the polling station, anyway. And of course, they couldn’t find my name, so I had to go find the ‘building list’. After visiting seven local volunteer tables with their building lists, and a good darshan of the entire area, we located the list and my name wasn’t on it.
Enter my Knight on a Steel Horse – a volunteer went off on a motorcycle after making a few calls to actually get the ‘supplementary list’ of new registrants that all the booths were sharing. Twenty minutes later, he roared up to tell me I’d been registered as purush (male) but … I had a temporary voter ID! I could have hugged him!
I hightailed it to the polling station where the volunteers seemed genuinely happy I’d returned and could vote! Since I could prove with my presence and my state ID that I’m really not male, two hours, much sweat, lots of repetitive questions and only a few lines later, I had cast my first vote ever*. And it was such a high! I was psyched for hours after! If you haven’t voted before, I highly recommend it 😉
*I left India when I was 18. This is the first election since I’ve returned! Of course, the year I finally get to vote, they switch to inking the middle finger. I could have put in an obscene gesture but … eh, I’m more mature than that. 😉
As we got out of the car to hit a trendy night spot off Linking Road, in Bandra, this bizarre shape on the sidewalk caught my eye. It was suspended in front of a lighting/lampshade store and I wondered if they’d accidently left an exotic shade out by accident when they shut shop. It took me a few seconds to figure out that it was a homeless man who’d made himself a cocoon to sleep mosquito-free! He’d hung his machchhardani from a hook in the awning and made a bed out of his bags. Voila! No malaria, scratches, or dengue for this enterprising citizen. I don’t know where he got it from or how long he’s been here (had it been day time, I would totally have asked him, but he wouldn’t be sleeping there if it were and, anyway, I wasn’t going to wake him up to do so.) Nevertheless, I was completely wowed!
Once in a while, I come across a sign that just baffles me. I think we should run a little contest here for an alternate caption and/or a subtitle to farther edify the folks who wonder she has what??
Did they really mean “she and his“? But that still doesn’t make any sense. This one’s in Goregaon. The other one in Lower Parel I like is a mobile watch repair shop & hair saloon (sorry, sailoon) in one. I suppose whether your phone is broken or you need a trim, you can use your time efficiently getting a twofer instead of loitering.
Is this bliss or is this bliss? I’m not trying to romanticize the life of this beast of labor or anthropomorphize this dude here but I caught sight of him recently at Warden Road and he was so striking, I had to stop and video him. I swear to you, he looked like he had hit hay nirvana. He was smacking his lips loudly and his eyes rolled back into his head. I think there was no doubt whatsoever that he was beaming to himself in sheer happiness. So I stopped to watch, and soon a small crowd of people had also stopped to smile at the bull and each other. Well, all except the bull’s maalik. Guess he hadn’t gotten to his own fodder, yet. 😉
What do you do when you’re bored? I often think that if I had a job that was mostly sitting around and waiting, I’d read. Most of our nation is illiterate, though, I know and everytime I see a cabbie or a watchman reading a paper, I get really happy. One recent afternoon, Aalaap and I were wandering around Dadar waiting for a bike to be assembled for purchase when I decided I wanted a nariyaal pani or something cool to drink. We found only mausambi juice and across us, I noticed the rest of the vendors – the banana seller included, had a game of chess going on. Attaboys! 🙂
Thank goodness this is only supposed to happen once in this lifetime. It was such a bad experience I’d be loath to wish it on an enemy! To start with, the registration location (“Badminton Hall”) was ridiculously hard to find and there was a lone policewoman trying to impose order outside. She did eventually let 10 people in at a time. Her directions about what to do inside were literally directions: “Turn right.” What I saw is what you see. And beyond these people were ceiling high stacks of paper. After waiting in two lines (once to receive a “number” – ward? Jaago Re neglected to mention this one) this absolutely rude woman said she couldn’t accept my PAN card as proof of my date of birth (regardless of what their web site says) and if “sir” said it was ok, she’d take the voter registration application. But “sir” flipped past the PAN card and fixated on my mobile phone bill as not being valid proof of address, instead. After raising my voice and demanding his name and ID number (to the absolute unconcealed delight of at least 300 people), I finally got them to accept my application and give me the counterfoil.
It didn’t seem to matter to them that they don’t make the decision about whether my application is accepted or rejected, they’re so used to playing God, they wouldn’t even take it! I was shaking with disbelief and anger about how difficult the bureaucracy makes it for even the people who DO want to vote. 🙁
All around me, people were being turned away for missing documents. There was someone in line ahead of me who’d returned for the fourth time! Why is the correct information not publicly available? And how can these officials be this rude to fellow human beings?