Devotion is … Flower Market, Dadar

Dadar Flower Market under the bridge by the Dadar Railway Station is one of my favorite places to visit in #Mumbai. It is verily a street photographer’s paradise. Stall owners are super nice, and the flowers are fresh heaped, fragrant and colorful. Loads of #Champae #plumeria (?) delicately woven, melt even the stingiest of heart. I surprised M’s family with a champae stringer.

Entire families of flower weavers live under this bridge. Many generations eat, sleep and weave here.

I love the symbolism in this pic.

What adorns the head of the greatest of Gods is woven on the dusty feet of the street women. She toils away her entire life, but knows deep down that her work is her most cherished offering.

She needn’t climb any mountains, needn’t enter any temple, she needn’t offer any prayers; her work is her most heartfelt and greatest offering. This is Bhakti, and not what cheap, two-bit, fame seeking activists peddle.

Thank you.

Dev barae karo.

#Bazaar #FlowerMarket #BestofMumbai #IncredibleIndia

#incrediblePeople

#Devotion #Bhakti

#LifeUnderABridge

Lights at the Gateway of India

Pics of Lights at the Gateway of India, Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag
On a recent visit, the Gateway of India was lit up for a Classical Indian Music Program. Other than the loud screeching, jostling crowds and ugly barricades, it was a wonderful evening. Continue reading “Lights at the Gateway of India”

Hanuman Mandir Picket Rd Mumbai

Hanuman Jayanti Maruti at the Picket Rd Hanuman Temple pics by Arun Shanbhag



Shree guru charan saroj raj, nija manu mukuru sudhari |
Baranau raghubar bimal jasu, jo dayak phal chaari ||

With the mirror of the mind, cleansed by the dust of the lotus feet of my Guru;
(listen) to the unblemished glory of Hanuman, exalted one of the Raghu dynasty, who can bestow the four fruits (dharma, artha, kaama and moksha)

Wishing you all a wonderful Hanuman Jayanti!

Continue reading “Hanuman Mandir Picket Rd Mumbai”

The Earth is an Egg

Pics of The Earth is an Egg, Exhibit at the Shivaji Museum, Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

During a visit to the Shivaji Museum in Mumbai, I captured this outdoor installation on the grounds of the Museum by Prashant Keluskar and Laxmi Narwekar. Very creative. The artists are trying to remind us that the earth is fragile. I think it better depicts the fragile and infantile nature of the human psyche. Perhaps you see both here. I have included a few more shots as well as a grab of the artists’ explanation below. What does this tell you? Continue reading “The Earth is an Egg”

Cricket at the Oval

Pictures of folks playing cricket at the Oval Maidan in Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag
Its a long tradition in South Mumbai ~ come Sunday morning the boys head out to Oval Maidan with whatever gear they can scrounge around. They stake a tiny sliver of a pitch, drive stumps in the dusty field and play some cricket. The pitch (and cricket) is a social leveller; the quality of your gear is immaterial, its how you connect – bat to ball. Three stumps is a luxury and bells are definitely not needed. Who needs shoes and pads? A tennis or simple rubber ball will do. As kids I have even played with layers of paper crumbled hard and held by rubber bands. When you are all sweaty and exhausted, grab some limbu paani or ganna juice on the way back home. Another beautiful Sunday! Continue reading “Cricket at the Oval”

Visiting the Gateway of India

Portrait of a Tourist from Madhya Pradesh wearing an Ochre Turban visiting the Gateway of India by Arun Shanbhag

Since I grew up around the corner, visiting the Gateway of India makes my Mumbai visit complete, like visiting relatives, or a nearby temple or eatery. Gateway of India is home. On a recent early morning visit, I noticed this group of out-or-towners striding to the waterfront. Women in colorful sarees and ochre turbans of some of the menfolks caught my eye.
Continue reading “Visiting the Gateway of India”

Meera goes to the Mall

Meera trying out an outfit at Pantaloon in Phoenix Mall by Arun Shanbhag
Meera loves visiting the Phoenix Mall in Parel, Mumbai, particularly one of their stores which has a huge toy section. The Pantaloon store has a small but nice collection of Indian outfits for little girls. Reasonably priced too. Here Meera is trying one on before we bought it. Continue reading “Meera goes to the Mall”

Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum, Mumbai

pics of Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum, old Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag
During travels to Mumbai, I often bring Meera to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum), a few minutes walk from our house. Meera enjoys chasing butterflies in the gardens and running around the spacious interiors. (See also Mumbai’s new Terminal T2 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.)

She is invariably awed by the stone sculptures of cows, horses or lions, and loves the Natural History wing. She gets to see animals (stuffed) she only has seen in pictures. She loves the ducks (badak), parrots (popat), turtles (her favorite) and the huge whale hanging from the ceiling. Wild animals scare her. Safely tucked between my legs, she points and whispers, bhalu ( bears), rhinoson (rhinoceros), tigherrr, lion and cheetah. Love taking her there. Continue reading “Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum, Mumbai”

Video: Making Mysore Masala Dosa


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Following up on the Video: Making of Rava Dosa and Masala Dosa, here is the next installment of making Mysore Masala. I was surprised they spread a red chilli paste over the dosa, I had thought they sprinkle a spice blended podi (powder) as seen at the Shanbhag fast food place in Hospet, Karnataka. Delicious, nonetheless. A Mysore Masala Dosa at Kamats, Colaba costs Rs 38 (US 85 cents)! I want two, delivered.
Continue reading “Video: Making Mysore Masala Dosa”

Video: Making Rava Dosa and Masala Dosas

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Growing up in Mumbai, dosas were a staple in our home. We never tired of them. Could munch dosas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the expert hands of my mother, dosas were easy; its the parathas and North Indian fare she avoided. We didn’t miss those. Continue reading “Video: Making Rava Dosa and Masala Dosas”

Gita Press Bookstore: Karma Yoga in Action

Gita Press Gorakhpur Bookstore

Tucked away on gritty Princess St and across from Parsi Dairy Farm is one of my favorite book stores: Gita Press Ki Dukan (Bookstore of the Gita Press).

See, I came late to this genre of Hindu scriptures. Educated in a convent school, I drank deeply of the Kool-Aid that western writers were the axis around which the Universe rotated. We studied Browning, Byron, Keats and O’Henry, and passed on Dnyaneshwar, Eknath, Kanaka Dās and Tukaram. I knew more about priests and nuns, and zilch about Alvars and Nayanmars. Romeo & Juliet was a Classic, Ramayana a myth. We doted on Shelley, Hemingway and Shakespeare, but skipped Tulsidās, Mirābai, Tyāgarājā and Kālidās. I knew more about St Peter than Bhagwān Ādi Shankarāchāryā or Swami Madhvāchāryā.

Thankfully I graduated and real education could begin. A tiny booklet of Swami Vivekananda’s lectures bought at a railway station was the spark. And what a roaring fire it kindled. Was engrossed in it for days. Followed hungrily by the Bhagavad Gitā, Upanishads, Purānās, commentaries of various masters and Bhakti poetry. I had just scratched the surface. Continue reading “Gita Press Bookstore: Karma Yoga in Action”

Kailash Parbat: Pav Bhaji & Chole Bhatura

Kailash Parbat in Colaba is certainly one of our favorite restaurants in Mumbai. We end up there at a drop of a hat. It is walking distance and close to the Maruti Mandir that we try and visit every day. Importantly, Meera is very comfortable there and their wait-staff are quick to bring her a small dish of kurmura (puffed rice). Below, you can browse some of their other dishes from prior visits.

A couple of our favorite dishes:
Pav Bhaji! I get a few extra ‘pav’ (bread). Notice the butter soaked in the bread.
Pav Bhaji Kailash Parbat Colaba
Continue reading “Kailash Parbat: Pav Bhaji & Chole Bhatura”

Colaba Vegetable Market

Picture of fresh fruits and vegetables at Colaba Vegetable Market Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Growing up, most evenings we’d end up around Colaba Market. It was centrally located and many friends lived around there. Even today, when we go for a walk with Meera, we shop our way through the market enroute to Kailash Parbat for some chaat. Continue reading “Colaba Vegetable Market”

Video: Meera Enjoying Limbu Soda

Meera enjoys going to restaurants. She sits on the table and holds court; surveys other patrons and call out to them: Aye! At our favorite joint: the Kamats Restaurant in Colaba, the wait staff will entertain Meera while we eat. 🙂 Meera loves their idlis, poLo (dosas) and anything we drink.

One of our favorite drinks is the Limbu soda – sparkling lemonade. Meera loves it too. Enjoy the range of Meera’s expressions in this 46 sec video where she sips Limbu soda. *anti nazar* spray.

Notice Meera’s earring. These traditional Konkani “paakLi” were made for M when she was born. Her mother had saved them and got them cleaned and pointed for Meera.

Note: Limbu paani is the plain lemonade and available on most Mumbai streets.

Continue reading “Video: Meera Enjoying Limbu Soda”

Mumbai Blasts: Previously Unseen Pics from 26/11

While covering the terrorist atrocities in Mumbai last year, I found myself racing from the Leopold Cafe to the Taj and to the Nariman Bldg; shooting pics, updating my twitter feed and simultaneously keeping an ear on what the locals were telling me. Everything happened so fast, there was not much time to think ~ just do! I shared with you all many pics of events as they unfolded. Now on this one-year anniversary, I want to share a few more pics from those horrific three days last year.

At the top level TAB here: Mumbai Blasts, you can find links to all my previous articles, photographs and related press coverage.


Thursday am: This was from the first morning when Mumbai woke up to the terrorist acts which started the previous night. Early that morning as I got out of the house to go for my run I encountered scores of assault weapons toting commandos outside our bldg, a block behind the Taj. I scampered back, got my camera and ran to the Terrace, from where I took many of these pics.

Part of the Taj is smoldering from the fires the previous night – but all the domes are still intact.
Taj Hotel Burning Terror Nov 2008
Continue reading “Mumbai Blasts: Previously Unseen Pics from 26/11”

Face of Swine Flu in Mumbai

swine flu Mumbai face masks pics by Arun Shanbhag
No, he was not trying to hijack the BEST bus in Mumbai; he was terrified about the nasty virus causing swine flu!

But that makeshift mask in a crowded bus surely got me panicky. Should I be around Mumbai using public transportation, where the buses and trains are stuffed tighter than, … than, … mumbaikars in buses and trains? And when I had Meera with me?

During my August visit to Mumbai, everyone was in full “epidemic” mode. Even at the Airport! Before reaching immigration, we filled out personal history forms and the overworked health workers simply waved us on. I hope you feel reassured.

Headlines in city newspapers screamed at every cough and sniffle. The Mumbai city council finally ordered schools, colleges, tuition classes and many govt offices closed for 3 days. Private companies gave employees furlough to work from home! And this was supposed to be my vacation. We all came through fine, and a renewed interest in Ayurvedic attempts to strengthen the immune response. Continue reading “Face of Swine Flu in Mumbai”

Ragda Pattis, Lassi and Sevpuri

Every evening we take Meera for a walk. Its just a few blocks to the local Maruti temple on Colaba Causeway. After darshan, we invariably stop by Kailash Parbat for some chaat. The bestest!

The Pani puri is best savored at the counter outside, where you stand and the bhaiyya dishes out the puri faster than you can gulp them. With Meera in tow, it is easier to sit inside and keep her occupied with some puffed rice, while we munch on our other favorites. I stick to what I like: Ragda Pattis and a Meetha Lassi – with a dollop of malai on top! M ordered the Sev puri.
Bon apetit!

Ragda pattis lassi Kailash Parbat Colaba


Kailash Parbat in previous posts

Pav Bhaji & Chole Bhatura
Pav Bhaji Kailash Parbat Colaba

 
 
 
 
 

How to eat a Paani Puri
How to eat Paani Puri Kailash Parbat Colaba

 
 
 
 
 

Ragda Pattis & Lassi (2004)
Ragda Pattis Lassi Kailash Parbat Colaba

Mumbai Blasts: Day 2 Live Blogging

This Day 2 Post continues where I left off from Mumbai Blasts: Day 1



Update: between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm; Indian Time; Friday Nov 28th
Follow my updates on Twitter http://twitter.com/arunshanbhag
Posting Pics on FLickr! username “shanbhag”


All these pics are from INSIDE the Secure Staging Cordon in front of the Taj; assembled here were fire engines, ambulances, Police forces, some of the Rapid Reaction Forces and some commandos; And ALL media types!

Scores of reporters looking at the Taj within the staging cordon in front of the Taj Intercontinental; Gateway of India in the back!
Reporters in front of Taj

Every time we heard a blast or gunfire, everyone looked at the Taj to try and figure out where it came from.
blasts at Taj

Scarred Beauty! Really! The Taj Still stands Tall!
Taj after the fire
Continue reading “Mumbai Blasts: Day 2 Live Blogging”

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