Your BlogMela Nominations Please !!

The BlogMela for the week starting 29th September is going to be hosted right here at Trivial Matters and I'm pretty kicked about it. [ Look my fingers are trembling ]
So come one, come all and Nominate, like I do my drinking unstintingly. In addition to your nominations, I'm sure to reconnoiter the Indian Blogosphere in search for some more fine gems in the rough.

I'm repeating the rules for posterity's sake :

  • All Nominated Post must be posted between (and inclusive of) Monday, 26th September, and Wednesday, 5th October.
  • Nominate what ever makes you're world goes round as long as it has some India or Indian relevance.
  • This after all is The 'Bharitiya' Blog Mela. You can LEAVE your nominations on my comment page but if you feel like emailing me your nominations you can do so at akshaym[at] gmail[dot]com.
  • Posts nominated after 8p.m (IST) Wednesday, 5th October won’t be accepted. The Mela will be up on the 6th.

Bombay Duck

India's Future

India is an interesting place, a place that catches your eye and yet there is more, a deeper inside that speaks to you. Bombay is no different there is always something around the next corner, in her next fold that captures your senses and leaves you really quiet amazed.Today morning was no differrent, I ran across town to Worli [actually jumped Mahim Bay] to interview this guy for the consumer satisfaction survey I have been deputed on. The interview crashed and burned pretty quickly so I found myself with time on my hands. Wasn’t it Shakespeare who said “Time does not have the same appeal for everyone”?For some reason Time and I have signed some kind of contract and we now get an unlimited supply of each other.

I first decided to go to the fish market at Worli Village [aka Worli Gaon].This place is really significant to all the Bengalis in Bombay because it's one of the only markets that sells ‘hilsa’. Therefore, it’s not all that rare to find bongs buying refrigerator loads of the their beloved bony fresh water delicacy. I’m beginning to wonder why I end up writing about Bengalis in most of posts lately, may be it’s because I haven’t eaten mustard fish for a long time.

Did you know:

Hilsa is the national fish of Bangladesh. I wonder if Japan has a national fish.

I find machi[fish] markets very interesting most would consider them mucky, smelly, cat infested places with fat ladies selling fish. But I consider it to be a free marine biology lesson. You’ve got crabs, various kinds of crustaceans and allot of fish. Umm Bombay duck, and all that neatly stacked pomfret. Come on they're definitely colourful places in the morning. Machiwallis [fishmongers – feminine] are ruthlessly aggressive saleswomen, I would never in my dreams try arguing with them they’ll eat me up and spit out my bones most literally, my mom does but me No. They still manage a smile for my camera though, God bless them.

Fisher women [machiwallis]
[I told you they where tuff]

I decided to wonder along for a little while longer, my destination, Worli Koliwada.
Kolliwadas were originally fishing villages inhabited by the fishing community called the Kolis [hence the name]. You’ve left the growling traffic behind you and you find your self in a very large somewhat sprawling konkan village. A very refreshing walk, it begins to drizzle and I prayed it wouldn’t rain. I finally reach where the land ended and the sea roared - Worli Fort. I was alone, you’re seldom alone in a city of 16 million people but strangely I was. It was just me, the sea and a rather old abandoned British-made sea fort.

Worli Kolliwada
[Fisher folk]

A place to exchange old stories anew
[Sharing old stories Anew]

Sister & Brother
[look at those smiles !]

Visarjan Magic

Bombay Idol - Ganesh
[click on the image for a large view]

I didn't exactly catch visarjan but I did get this picture outside Victoria Terminus (CST) . The interesting think about this "murthi" (idol) is that it was sponsored by the Railway Coollies of CST. The Coolies, in their tradmark red and with their white nehru cap pinned on there red, danced to the loud beating of festive drums. All you could see was a sea of dancing red with little speckles of white, under the hazy cloud of more red colour.

Our Lady of the Mount Mary

Most residents of Bandra associate September with the birth anniversary of St Mary and the week long Bandra Fair that follows. All these activities are centered around one of Bandras hillocks, and the crowning glory of this hill, the 101 year old , Our Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount Mary in Bandra, commonly referred to as Mount Mary.

As most would know, Bombay was originally seven islands originally lived on by the Kohlis, it was then initiated by the Portuguese, till it was briefly held by the Marathas before the British took her over till independence. Proof of this brief Iberian tryst is quiet simple to explain, most people in India call the potato - aloo, but in Bombay it is called batata with is incidentally the Portuguese word.

Candy Floss
[Candy ?]


I live in Bandra and drawn by the tales of home made Goan specialities Vindaloo, Xacuto and Sorpotel and not to mention Bibinca, decided to pay the fair a visit. I started at the base of the hill, at Bandra reclamation where the small entwining streets of Bandra Village end. The streets were lined with shops selling everything from strangely shaped candles to clothes to shinny new toys to candy floss and sweets to snacks and food. Hordes of people made their way slowly, in a festive spirit to the top. Kids tagged their parents hands pointing up to the Ferris-wheel and making the appropriately cute gesture, coaxing them into coughing up the money needed for some delirious fun. These are the scenes that make me as trigger happy [with the camera] as a Japanese tourist with a 2 gb flash card.
I was taking picture of the Ferris wheel when a man tapped me on my back and told me, “Bhaiya sambhalke, koi admi ulti kar lega toh ?” [Be careful , what will you do if somebody vomits] I smiled and moved out of the way taking his advice seriously.

Touching the sky

I walked on, I was convinced by this very convincing salewomen of a girl that I needed a candle and some flowers as offering. I melted before her smile ofcourse and obliged.

[A lady pays her respect to the cross. In the backround you can see the rosary]

The central attraction of the 101 year old Bascillaca is the legendary statue of Madonna and baby Christ. Here it the legend

Although the current church edifice is just 100 years old, the history behind the current statue of Our Lady goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to the current location and constructed a chapel. In 1700 Arab pirates interested in the gilt-lined object held in the hand disfigured the statue by cutting off the right hand.

In 1760, the church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators in St. Andrew's church nearby. This statue has an interesting legend. It goes that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. The statue was found floating in the sea somewhere between 1700—1760. A Jesuit Annual Letter dated to 1669 and published in the book St. Andrew's Church, Bandra (1616-1966) supports this claim.

In 1761 the original statue was re-adorned with a child in her arms and has been in use ever since. [WIKIPEDIA]

[Ave Maria]

[A pilgrim]

Hope you enjoyed this post, I really enjoyed bringing it to you. May be tomorrow I can catch visarjan

By The Sea

The rain relented for a few hours and since I had nothing more constructive to do, I went for a walk. My camera for company of course. Here is what I saw.

Lounging by the Sea
A man on a bench, out for a while sitting there watching the world go by. A nice smile for the camera.

An Arabian Sea Vantage
Low tide, a bright orange fishings stands there docked waiting for her element move in and let her float.

Teracota in Salt
Somethings stand out more than others.

This was very exciting, because I have always wanted to be on a fishing boat but have never got the oppurtunity before. There were allot of things inside, fishing nets, hooks, lines, ropes and even a pair of old rusted anchors. The camera gives you an excuses to looks at things more closely then you normally would.

Riding the Waves 2
Nothing like some boyish fun is there ?
He sits there bracing himself for next cold onslaught of wave, water and sea.

Getting you feet wet
Getting you feet wet.

Shaving Rituals

I'm going to scale new narcissistic highs with this post. On any normal day you can find me going in for a bath and this mundane cleaning process is usually followed by the more mundane processes of combing, de-odorising, shaving etc. Which on most day I'm too lazy to follow through. Today being no different I popped into the bathroom with the usual equipment towel, clothes etc. If you’re waiting outside in my room, which I’m sure weren‘t, you would have with some difficulty be able make out some of the activity happening inside of my bathroom through the small rectangular translucent glass panel on the top half of my door frame. But then again all you would have seen is a pale yellow light creeping out slowly through the thick green of glass, large shadows and may be some condensed droplets of water.

Not five minutes later you would find me with my hair combed wet, standing there barefoot at the washbasin, wearing a pair of my favourite light-grey sharkskin trousers and a towel complacently flung around my bare neck like a duppatta. I know set into motion my pre-shaving rituals. I looked at my large canister of shaving foam and it said Gillette - Foamy Lemon-Lime-Citroen-Lime. Then I looked at my razorwhich was also made Gillette, a Mach3, which the ad tells me is the best a man can get.
I look at my razor at it’s thin elegantly designed webbed handle and it’s detachable head with it’s 3 angular super alloy blades. Those this look like a billion dollar a year product that is used by 70 million men. No, but it is.

The marketing machine, Gillette must be doing something right.
Cheap razors, expensive blades - yes the Razorblade Model .

If you've ever purchased razors and their replacement blades, you know this business method well. The razors are practically free, but the replacement blades are extremely expensive.

The video-game industry is another user of this pricing strategy. They sell the game consoles at a relatively low price, recouping the lost profits on the high-priced games.

How can you get people to pay more to shave?

Time magazine's article, A Cutthroat Business has something to say about this -

That's the eternal question in the $6-billion razor business. Hair grows at the same rate year in and year out, and there are few activities more banal than shaving. But the Big Three razormakers — America's Gillette and Schick and France's Bic — have all come up with a cheeky answer; the very same cheeky answer. And so, after years of relatively peaceful coexistence, competition among them is about to bec
Cheeky Answers could mean new shiny products that, look differrent, cost a little, cost a little more less,more blades, better blades, closer blades, need batteries, have fancy chips in them etc.

Yes before I forget Gillette has a new razor out, It's called fusion [not as catchy as Mach3] it features 5 blades [impressive one more than competitor Schick's model] not only that it also has a facial trimmer. Also he blades are 30% closer together, which the company says causes less irritation.

I think I want one of those.

Gates on Google : Oh, those guys

Here's a very candid Bill Gates interview, 'mostly' on the Google VS Microsoft saga. [link]

Interestingly when asked

So that would be the philosophical difference between Microsoft and what Google is up to at this point?

Well, we don't know everything they are up to, but we do know their slogan and we disagree with that.

I'm reading into this, isn't the Google Slogan "do no evil". Yes I can see why Microsoft is having the obvious philosiphical differrence.

"The Owner Eats Here"

'The owner eats here' – I wonder how many eating establishments in the world could boast of that. Bang outside Matunga station in Bombay's mini-madras,matunga - Ram Nayak's Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding sure can. Ram Nayak's Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding is India's and therefore the world's first Udipi restaurant and an absolute gourmet gem. The South Indian thali, which they serve piping hot on a pristine plantain leaf, could easily be the longest, most economical and healthiest buffet anywhere.

Today being the first day [well when I wrote it atleast] of Ganesh Chaturthi - Mahajan family tradition dictates us to pay Ram Nayaks our customary lunchtime visit and since my family is not one to tinker with such scrumptious traditions so lunch it is. Festivals are fun times in India and Ganesh Chaturthi is as big as they get in Maharashtra , what Kali Puja is to the Bengalis Ganesh Chaturthi is to the maharashtrians. My personal theory to this is the Maharashtrians like a good beginning and the Bengalis a good end.. The streets are filled with colour and the sound of resonating drums as covered idols make their way from the workshops to the puja floor. The children have their best smiles and cloths on and are always on the look out to where they can score their next modak.

Walking up to the first floor of what is Matunga's municipal market I was greeted by a chalk sign saying

" On account of it being Ganesh Chaturthi, dessert will be served no extra charge. Today's special Mysore Pudding." Akshay reaffirms in faith in God.

We find ourselves in the quaint enclave which looks more like doctor's office then a restaurant, the narrow corridor thats leads us in is flanked by a small line of chairs, thronging with people reading magazines and newspapers as they patiently as they wait their turn . The smell of mogras, disguise the faint smell of mouth watering rasam sneaking in from other room. The A man in a indigo white shirt and matching lungi gives us our coupons and after a small short wait we find ourselves in the very clean environs of the restaurant.

Then began the long, elegantly choreographed courting ritual of my palate.

Step 1

A fresh sparkingly clean, slightly wet banana leaf is kept on the granite table infront of me. Also nice stainless steel glass of cold water is slide across the table.

Step 1

Step 2

Three varities of vegetables are lumped on to my smooth banana leaf. One of them is crunchy and green and has allot of coconut in it. The secand is avial and the third is dal-like pulsy taste to it. Some salt is added on the side and along with some green mango pickle.

Step 2

Step 3

A small glass of butter milk, two empty catoris [vessel], some curd are propped up against my now half full glass of water. A ghee lined roti and some papad are placed on the plateau of my banana leaf and in the mean time my glass is refilled.

Step 3

Step 4

Eat, and as you do so all your food magically re-appear with and watchful bearers replenishing your every move. By the time sambhar and some tangy rasam fills up those empty catoris.

Step 4

P.S - I'm a messy eater

Step 5

Once you've finished with the rotis, rice is served and eaten with the sambhar and rasam.

Steps 2 to 5 are repeated till I'm full.

Time for an afternoon nap.

Elephant Orphanage,Pinnawela

I was looking through my picture archives, turning back the page if you will to my visit to Sri Lanka in 2004 and was especially attracted to a bunch of picture I took at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. Elephants, this might have something to do it Ganesh Chaturthi being on.

Pinnawela and the Turtle Hatchery at Kannangara have been Sri Lanka best conservation efforts. Sadly the turtle hatchery was wiped out by the tsunami and with it 20,000 eggs.

A Helping Hand or should I say Trunk

Pinnawela started in 97, now boasts of aver 50 pachyderms. The elephants are kept in the open and allowed to run around and rampage through the large area of the orphanage. The baby elephants have somehow imbibed the spirit of the naughty five year old next door. There morning routine includes chasing foreign tourists and if they successfully catch up they then proceed to strip search you for food. They would put any over zealous airport gaurd to shame. At this point the mahout comes out, the little guys make their pavlovian connections and follow. Let the feeding begin. The naughty babies are then bottle-fed copious amounts of milk. The do this quickly gobbling up about 2 ½ dozen bananas each. What a life !!!

Family Potrait 1

Baby on the Rampage

Ladies and Gentlemen the show hasn't even began yet. Take your seats on the tourist trap restaurant on the top of the hill and quickly stuff in your breakfast as you and your fellow culture vultures enjoy the voyeuristic scene of 50 or so elephants having a bath in the river close by.


United Children

United Children of the World, is a blog that showcases the most amazing potraits of children from all over the world. I first read about it when Locana's roaming eye caught it at Madhu's Pippala Leaf .

Children are the fuel of life, without them there is no future.
A society that does not take care of its children will be left in a state of suffering, of social decay, which can only be reversed the moment we start taking care of our future.
Today morning, on waking and checking my mai,l I found that one of my pictures India Smiles was the most latest addition to the blog. It was a great feeling.

The Secret Life of Bees

When I think of Mahabaleshwar - I would associate it to the words strawberries, chana, honey and misty hills. But for years I associated mahabaleshwar with only honey, for after every visit, I found myself with a large jar of this golden nectar, which for the rest of the year graced my morning pancakes. The MadhuSagar Apiary churned out jars and spectacles of an almost spell bounding variety. Honey from particular flowers, honey with different sugar ratings, honey as a cosmetic for you face, honey for newborns, honey that treated various diseases etc.
My general fascination with Bees and Bee-keeping peaked after visiting, what in my mind is one of the strangest museums I’ve ever visited, The Bee-Keeping Museum also at Madhu Sagar.

Bee facts - A single female Bee begins a new colony each spring, and if all goes well she may have over 25,000 of her daughters working in the expanded colony by the end of the summer.

Bees I’ve learned are really super adaptable creatures. Even in cities like Bombay they seem not only to survive but also thrive. Some years back I lived on the fourteenth floor of this building in Prabhadevi and we had became well aquainted with bees setting up their hive and functioning with great furore. Sometimes just outside our window. A question that always troubled me was, Where did they get their honey from ? if you know Prabhadevi you would know flowers are not something you expect to see here, but still these bees kept piling up that honey . Often what happened was that the “bee hives” grew too big and bees started troubling certain members of the “human hive” and they had to be removed. End product being every household in the building getting one jar of honey.

Bee facts - Honey bees never sleep.

When in Italy recently I got the opportunity to look at an apiary more closely and I also took some pictures.

The Collective

The bees are usually kept in a Langstroth hive, [as seen in the picture] that is wooden boxes, or supers, filled with frames that each hold a sheet of wax or plastic foundation: the bees produce wax and build honeycomb using the wax sheets as a starting point, after which they may raise brood or deposit honey and pollen in the cells of the comb.

As you can see there a flurry of activity and they're least bothered by the lazy human in their midst. My family stayed away, it was pretty much me and the bees and they where very busy. I wanted to meet the queen but security was pretty tight at the palace.

Whats that buzz ?
Here's them taxying in home.

"Just tell me it's not Google"

These are some excerpts from an Article I found on CNET News,
Ballmer vowed to 'kill' Google

Mr Ballmer said, "Just tell me it's not Google," to Lucovsky, whose title at Microsoft was 'distinguished engineer'.

Lucovsky replied that he was joining Google.

"At that point, Mr Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office," Lucovsky recounted in a sworn declaration.

The 16-year Microsoft veteran, added that Ballmer then launched into a tirade against Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

"I'm going to f***ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to f***ing kill Google," Ballmer reportedly said.

Changing Colours

"Does China Have Problems With Funds From Capitalist Countries?"

That's an excerpt from the excellent interview West Bengal CM, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya gave Outlook this week.

Are the communists changing colours ?
Do I hear more FDI?
Are they moving to the center ?

I've always believed India needed a new left. May be a re-engineered CPI(M) would appeal to a larger audience of India. Polictically speaking, if the left could mould themselves to play the kind of polictics New Labour plays in Britan, that would be exciting.

As Paul Samuelson, would agree India needs Cold Minds and Warm Hearts.


In a last few days, I've discovered a flurry of activity around Remote Sensing - in and around India and the result are that many websites using googlemaps like services are cropping up for use. You've already seen in one of my previous posts.

One of the projects I found via C*S*F was Project MyMumbaiCar [note - only IE compatible].
MyMumbaiCar is a carpool manager running on GoogleMaps.

Users can set up their custom locations ("Home", "Office", etc.) on a googleMap of Mumbai and then either offer rides or look for them. The system uses simple trigonometery and open source databases to find the closest rides.
I think it's a great idea. Will save fuel, time and money.

Here an example of the hybrid Maps being used, which are provided by [[]] . You can see a clearer picture of this map here.

BTW I live here somewhere here - near the Cafe Coffee Day.

If you're looking for more satelite images of India you could look here [Via All Over The Map]. They include maps of Mumbai and even Pune and a galaxy of other India Cities.

Arriviste India.

Being Indian in foreign a country one of your first experiences is one of a strange disconnect. A strange feeling of being out place in more ways than one. I first came across this strange outplace feeling on my first trip to Europe in '98. This disconnect I think was born more from that general populations lack of knowledge on the world and the rest of the world. The developed world right wing stereotype that would characterize you into a wannabe immigrant class of misfits, robbing their country and steeling their jobs doesn't help [now shifted to concentrate on outsourcing]. But then again the world is changing and forces like globalisation are spreading information faster. More light.

India is a country that loves exerting her culture, has been doing so quit successfully for millennia. Yes, there was in a fall in ratings but it looks like we’re making a come back. What I’ve found is that more and more people are welcoming the “arriviste” India. Slowly finding her way into the so called big league.

Ondrej Novotny, is a tour guide in the Czech capital Prague. What picks Ondrej apart is how he shows his off his city. Well he does so in his green Bajaj auto rickshaw. He’s quiet happy with his Baajaj he tell me. “They’re open, slow, cheap and most importantly magical just like Praha”, he adds with a smile. Being the accomplished tour guide he was he tried selling me a tour, “So you’re from India eh Want tour? special price 50 kroner for you.”

Other things you can’t miss in Europe is Indian clothing. Walking down a streets of a small alpine town , eh wait a minute- did I just see a girl in a kurti just walk by. No way, must be imagining things, no you surely I did. “Indian ethnic clothing is ‘in‘, does with the ‘boho’ look”, my sister tells me. Irony is the reverse trend exists in India, may be that’s because we’re a few years behind.

Then I saw this ad, which shows me the money our government is actually spending money they allotted for a specific cause instead of eating it up. Thank God.

Then there is always Bollywood, surely they’re going to reel you in with some colour, some song and dance and a pseudo-fantasy plotline.

Bollywood Berlin

I know all the above examples are small and mostly insignificant in the bigger picture. But I would like to think of them as baby steps, as India re-invents herself.

Stained Yellow

Part 1

I don’t have to worry, life goes where it goes ”, she repeated to herself in a strange tone of unbelief as she stood there unmoved and expressionless in front of the mirror as a stagnant stentorian from the passing train stood next to her caressing her ears. The room appeared to be a small bathroom , 7 by 10 feet to be more accurate, a bifurcated window and loud exhaust on it’s upper side where it’s only graces that let some light and stale air in, it‘s tiles originally white now where now stained yellow with pigeon guano . If it weren’t for the basin, and cracked ceramic commode the room would look more like a prison cell than a lavatory.
She in a sudden movement stepped back and almost as quickly sat herself on the leaky, cracked commode. Her face was sullen, face pale and her eyes in an almost teary red stayed their beaded in a melancholy that would melt stone.

She got her knees together pressing them together, sandwiching her hands, pulling her stomach in, crouching her shoulder up all in the manner to reflect how insignificantly microscopic she was feeling. First came a low pitched nasal whimper which started to flow out of the nostrils with slowly gained momentum , she began to shake and tremble as her brow broke sweat and her lone whimper turned to groans and her groans to crying. She cries for a good 10 minutes till even her cries and anguish are drowned by the roar of yet another passing train. Crying is a strange emotion an almost animalistic release of emotion that may be the only archaic method of emoting, darwinian man has retained. As abruptly as the tears starting flowing they stopped leaving her face unadorned yet visibly distressed. She then proceeded to pick up her bag from the floor and clicked open it’s butterfly clip and jabbed her hand into it screening through the purse’s contents with touch. Out come some wrinkly tissue paper, examining it for a second she proceeds to whip the remnants of tears from her face. Getting up glancing at the mirror she straightens her hair, dusting off the cobwebs and dirt as she checks her teeth, holding her lips up a face one makes to look scary.

Thinking to herself, “It’s all in my mind and I want it to be.”

Note : - I'm trying my hand at fiction again. You could read part 2 if you come around next week. Comments appreciated as always, suggestion would be also.Also a thanks to Phal told me what she thought about it.

Bombay Samachar

Geetanjalli, as always gives us a very capivating account of her visit to the rather old spirited offices of The Bombay Samachar.

Incidently if you don't know and as Geetanjalli enlightens us Bombay Samachar, is Bombay's first Newspaper.
The only the reason I'm publishing this is in an effort to make you read the original post so please don't let my efforts go in vane.

Clipping care of public domain