Abandonment

I decided to explore the theme of Abandonment purely through medium of photography.

Eye of Ruin © Time Out
[A decaying wooden spiral staircase. For the best effect see large.]

All of my life I have been caught in places I don’t belong. As a child I would dive into the furthest reaches of the family photo album to see what ancient photographs that had been taken, categorised, plastered, passed down and then forgotten. I decided to use this lifelong handicap and convert it into photography. Wielding a camera at last I had a license to explore the many wonderful, forgotten corners of the landscape and people’s lives and life around me. There is so much beauty in the overlooked details of our world.



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More UrbEX - Parel, Mumbai

Danger Akshay Danger

Spiralling Stairway to ....

Staircase of blue

Behind the blooming Bourganvillas

More Spirals

Note : All images can be viewed large by tabbing into a new window.


On a secondary note, I'll be offline for the great part of the next two weeks, as I'm off to Kashmir.

Animal Antics



A rusting wire mesh fence holds on to a large painted sign. On the ground below, in the enclosure created by the fence sits a somewhat emaciated shadow of a dog. Even though it is evident from his current state that life has not been kind to him, this fact has not dimmed the twinkle in his brown puppy eyes. I walk towards him and place my hand against the wire mesh and he after sniffing me with his wet nose gives me an affectionate lick.

If you are wondering what the sign says it is a plea to you and me:

A Doggie's Plea.

"I may be a beautiful puppy or an old doggie not so beautiful but wecannot speak. We can only cry and be timid and afraid because human beings have treated us so badly. Please do not let us. We will give you so much love, in return ask for so little………

But please if you have it in your heart stop the suffering and adopt us. We will never let you down or trouble you. All we need is love and care."

As I walk away an abandoned Dalmatian starts barking from the next enclosure. I take a step towards him and see the fear in his eyes as he takes two steps back
These are the scenes from the Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Memorial Animal Hospital at Parel,Mumbai… The dog shelter here is managed by the SPCA.

Uma of IndianWriting did a great post on the place a few months back. [link]

I lived across the road, behind the hospital,many years back and the place still conjures up vivid memories. This was the time when circuses with animal performances where still prevalent in Bombay [before the ban; though I am not sure the ban is being enforced effectively]. Animals rescued from around Bombay found themselves in the hospital. I enjoyed walking around the grounds of hospital [since security was quite low and still is] looking at the variety of animals present- camels, sloth bears, buffaloes, cows, elephants, etc. It was like a scene out of one of those documentaries you see on Animal Planet.

Here is a story I heard on visiting the hospital recently.


Meet Kaveri

Meet Kaveri

A head peers out from above a bush of purple blooming bougainvilleas. She looks down at me from behind her long eye lashes. Meet Kaveri, the camel, who was brought to Bombay from Hyderabad to be sacrificed for Eid. Luckily for her she was rescued by the SPCA and brought to the "cattle" ward of the hospital. Kaveri as it turns out was pregnant. In February this year she gave bird to a healthy calf (not in the picture).
[link]

A heart warming story don't you think ?

Mangolicious

The frequency of my occasional visit to the refrigerator seems to have increased. Just a moment ago I took the 12 calculated steps to the kitchen and had the strange Pavlovian urge to lick my lips. As my outstretched hands opened the door of my frost-free my eyes grew bigger and saliva dropped from the corner of my open mouth. All this at the sight of gold.... golden mangoes. Momentarily the searing heat, the 75% humidity, the sweat, did not matter. All that mattered was the luscious explosive flavour of India's favourite summer fruit - the mango.

Mangoes... Summer is near.
[Mother and son duo, arrange the seasons first set of Mangoes]

It may astonish you to know that the mango, Mangifera indica L., India's most celebrated of fruits, is a member of the family Anacardiaceae-notorious for embracing a number of highly poisonous plants. All the same the fruit that has its name, Aam, derived from the Sanskrit word meaning "of the people" lives up to its name and is truly the "aam aadmi ka phal" (forgive the pun - translates to "common man's fruit).

Be it 'Bombay Yellow' ('Bombai'), 'Malda' ('Bombay Green'), 'Pairi', Safdar Pasand','Suvarnarekha' , 'Langra', 'Rajapuri', 'Alphonso', 'Bangalora', 'Dusehri', 'Gulab Khas' , 'Fazli' ,'Safeda Luck now' and 'Banganapalli', you will find all these mango varieties in Mumbai at some time or the other during the season.


Mumbai is often the first urban stop of the mango so I decided to pay a visit to Crawford Market to welcome the first crop of mangoes this summer season has brought us .

Here are some pictures

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[Fresh mangoes, fresh from Ratnagiri Maharashtra.]

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[A Restaurant tempts possible customers with cold Aamras. Aamras is mango pulp usually consumed with meals]

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[Sorry these are not Mangoes but Pomegranates. I'm told their great anti-oxidents and help prevent heart disease]

If you are reading this post in the States these golden beauties are coming to a grocery store near you, courtesy Mr. Bush and his Nukes for Mangoes deal.
I will take your leave now, as I make another visit to the fridge.

Versova Morning.

An Early morning breeze creeps up the shallow saline creek, the salt coupled by the drying fish behind me adds to the smells. I'm in Versova, a beach in the Mumbai suburb of Andheri. This beach faces on the Arabian Sea and is home to population of Mumbais's fishing community. Versova in the morning makes for quiet a scene as the fishing boats arrive back from their early morning expeditions. The fish mostly shrimp, bombay duck, shark, is then unloaded and shipped off to the nearest fish market.

FISHING  Versova Mumbai

More Green Saris

The "fish" in the picture is Bombay Duck. The Bombay duck (Marathi: bombil) is, despite its name, a lizardfish. It is native to the waters between Mumbai and Kutch in the Arabian Sea, and a small number are also found in the Bay of Bengal. The fish is often dried and salted before it is consumed. If freshly caught, it is sometimes eaten fried in a batter; and in its dried form, it is commonly eaten in a curry. It is also prepared as a pickle. The bones of the fish are soft and easily chewable. It's absolutely yummy I tell you. You haven't been to Mumbai if you not eaten fried bombil or bombil fry as we call it.

The Ferry

Curious eyes staring back at you.

Count the Colours

[CROSSPOSTED ON Mumbai Metroblogging]

Heat & The Queen of the Deccan

I dream about this door.

The Brahminy kite spirals downwards, descending faster into a vertical dive, till warmer pockets of air pull him up again, steadying his wings as he perches himself on a tree in an attempt to escape the torrid sun. Working men relaxed in the shady corners as the mid-afternoon sun brazed my skin brown. For many of us who do not have
to do hard work outside, and who have summer leisure time on ourhands, escaping the heat is not the goal. Luxuriating in it is. I am sure you have heard the Noel Coward refrain , "Mad dogs and English mengo out in the midday sun." I am not an Englishman but I might as well be a mad dog for I love the harsh sunlight. Therefore I had decided to forsake "steamy" Mumbai and brave a day in the dry Pune heat to
explore the old city once more.

Windows

As I have said before I tend to romanticize things from era gone by that I have never experienced and no one else may ever experience again. The central core that makes Old Pune is one such a place, a place of character lost in a myriad of peths, decaying wadas, huge banayan trees and temples. Old Pune to me is where time stops but the traffic does not, is where the people return your smiles and the
decaying wooden facades are not just gateways but time machines into an India of the past. Sadly heritage structures are the number one casualty in the growing concretization of the city. Many such remnants of the Pune's rich past are slowly disappearing.

Puneri Wada - 2
[These are the gates of Nana Wada. Nana Wada, which was rebuilt during the British era with typical neo-Gothic arches. Only a part of the original wada remains to this day]
Puneri Wada - 1
[Part of Nana Wada has converted in a muncipal school called the New Bharat Marathi School. The school was formed over a century ago by some rich Marathi cultural reformer]
Nana Wada

Like Bombay's Girgaon is divided in wadis [read Khotachiwadi], Pune is dived into Peths [burrows]. The old city is divided into 18 such Peths- interestingly some of which are named after the days of the week in Marathi: Shaniwar peth, Ravivar peth, Somwar peth, Budhwar Peth - just to name a few.

This excerpt you a sense of the ethos in Old Pune.


Peths were almost self sufficient units of administration, except for the watch and ward which was under the town kotwal. Each peth had a number of wadas (mansions) of the rich and some even had surrounding walls like Rasta wada. There were weekly as well as permanent markets, gardens, orchards and a number of temples. Wells supplied water needs and there were four drinking water systems. Highly efficient, these were a system of aqueducts bringing potable water from as far away as Katraj and
Kondhwa to the heart of the city for the public and water was collected in a system of howds or tanks. The river supplied the rest of what was needed.
Some street fronts were an unbroken fa├žade of beautiful wadas with their ornate windows and carved brackets, balconies and beams. Some of these streets had the smaller courtyard type houses with the ground floor used as shops, offices or workshops, while the owners lived on the storeys above. The scale was low, often not n more than two storeys.

The government wadas (mainly used as offices, record stores) were large and there was atleast one in each peth. There were also stables for elephants and horses and the artillery factory (Shukrawar Peth). Lanes were narrow except in some newer peths like Rasta Peth.

There were no grand vistas or procession ways. The only grand public space was the front of the Shaniwar Wada and the surroundings of Parvati Hill with its man-made lake and garden at its foot, and the complex of temples on top.


[Source : Pune, Queen of the Deccan, by Jamala Diddee]

School Chale Hum.
[Children at New India Marathi School. There were a real smart bunch they were. I asked them what they wanted to be when they grow up and I got the usual answers - doctors, engineers (specfically computers), scientist etc. ]

All Smiles.



[Street musicians at Budhwar Peth.]

Another Tailor and his Jovial Guest.
[A Tailor and his jovial guest.]