Thursday, July 30, 2009

Colours of the Festive Season



The month of July brings along more than just the rain – it marks the beginning of the most auspicious period of the year, a period dotted with festivals. The first of these is the Varalakshmi Puja, the south Indian equivalent of the Lakshmi Puja during Diwali. This is strictly a family festival, the right for performing the puja being handed over from mother-in-law to daughter-in-law. I would love to give you a glimpse into the grand way we perform the puja at home, but unfortunately, we are in a period of mourning, and haven’t performed the puja for the last two years. Hopefully, the period will end this year, and we can get along with our festivals… Meanwhile, I accompanied my sister to buy the flowers required for the puja. Join us in our trip…..


The flower market at Dadar is certainly the most popular, the most crowded, and the place to be if you want fresh and wonderful flowers, at the best rates, of course…… Here is a photoblog of our journey…


Our very first halt - all sorts of  flowers.....
              

These are special.... we call them 'Manglore Malli' - literally, the jasmine from Mangalore..


... and I have no idea of the name of this one... my mom says they never wither......


The goddess is believed to like these pink flowers -  called 'Arali' in tamil..



Lotuses galore... pink and white....





Masses of roses..... of every hue...






A dash of pink.... against the green....



Now white and orange... my favourite flowers - Mogra and Aboli...those are the marathi names - the tamil ones are Malli and Kanakambaram....


Flowers of every colour.....













Neatly stacked in piles....


These are the flowers already tied up.....ready to be worn....... a temptation, no doubt, but too expensive today!!!!


A sample of what the market has to offer....


Here are the flowers tied up again, but now the marathi way.... Gajras....


Mounds and mounds of flowers of every colour....







The credit for the next photo goes to my sis.... she had a vantage point of course, thanks to her height....





And here is my sis herself...... haggling with the shopkeeper............


....choosing none but the best.......

Happy now, Kanthi????? Hope you like the pics......




And finally, garlands for the goddess..........

If you liked this post, the person you must thank is my sister, Kanthi... For once, she was the one bargaining and selecting the stuff while I went click-happy.... 



Friday, July 17, 2009

Rains in Mumbai

The rains came at last, and brought along the usual problems – flooding for one, failure of my network for another. The latter was simply because some water entered the main switchboard of our broadband connection in the building, and it took them 2 whole days to figure out what the problem was.

Water logging in Mumbai is no longer news, though the news channels keep calling it ‘breaking news’ for some reason which somehow makes no sense to me. After all, what else can we expect, living on an island which once belonged to fishermen, but now belongs to builders who are intent on covering every piece of land with concrete?

The area we live in was once covered with salt pans. Some chap got the idea of leasing it out to builders, who promptly built around a 100 buildings in the area. The salt commissioner then went to court, challenging the ownership of the land. That was about 35 years back. Till date, there has been no settlement, the case is still in court, and we are technically living on disputed land. Recently, a building tilted, thanks to poor construction (of course, it had lasted for 30 years with the fault!!!) and all the residents are in deep trouble, living on lease within the colony, their homes in shambles. I shudder to think what will happen in a few years time!

Anyway, the rains brought along the usual problems this year, but the one positive aspect was Samhith’s school, which functioned through the flood! I called them up early in the morning, and they informed me that school was on, since most students would be arriving by buses, and hence would be safe. I have known the bus driver and the organizer for four years now, and knew he was a responsible man who would take care of the children, and breathed easy. The bus arrived on time in the morning and afternoon, and Samhith enjoyed the drive along water-logged roads, excitedly telling me when he came back –“Mamma, there was SOOOO much water on the road!!!”

Here are a few pics…

Waiting in the rain for the bus….



The roads around our building…..





The pav-wala arrives.... Come rain or shine, he is on time....



The bus arrives…



This is our all purpose garden and joggers park... needless to say, no one has been jogging for days!



And finally, after the rains…… Samhith is happy, for the snails are back!!!!! Here are some of them…..







And this year, we have discovered mushrooms…….
They look nice to see and photograph, but as Samhith asked me “how can anyone eat them???”






Monday, July 6, 2009

The Newest landmark in Mumbai - The Bandra -Worli Sea Link

It was just a long-overdue social call which ended up with something I had been wishing for, all week! We had been to Matunga, to my aunt’s parents’ place, and my uncle (mama) volunteered to drop us back home – nothing so special about that, right? But what was special was a ‘slight’ diversion – so we could go over the newest landmark of Mumbai – the Bandra Worli Sea Link!

Since the last few months, we have been looking forward to going over the much-awaited bridge (the plans for the bridge began when I was in college….), and we saw the previews to the inauguration on TV enthusiastically, wishing we were there, especially during the fireworks, the night before the ceremony!! If this had been a few years earlier, I would have been among those who jammed the bridge on the first day, eager to be among the first to go over it. Now, however, it is another matter, and I waited patiently for my turn, knowing that once the toll collection started, things would be much easier…. Sunday’s was an unexpected treat, thanks to mama……………

Driving along the roads leading to Worli Naka, it looked like most of Mumbai was headed towards the bridge – it was after all, the last day that entrance was free!!!!! As we neared the entrance, it was clear that most people were here simply for the bridge – more than half of the cars were those making a U-turn after exiting the bridge, so that they could go back over the bridge to Bandra!!

The mass of humanity was typical of Mumbai – swanky imported cars rubbed fenders with battered taxis filled with families with children, jeeps and SUVs with boys standing up behind to take a better look at the sea-link (and better pictures too…), couples driving small cars, holding hands – no doubt a memorable date for them! Almost everyone had a camera in their hands, or at least a camera-phone… and went click-happy every now and then! I was one of them too, thankful that I had thoughtfully picked up my camera as I left home. Come, join me in my journey across the Bandra – Worli Sea Link……….

Our First hazy view of the signature towers of the sea link.. as seen from Worli Naka..


You are in queue!!!


Cloud cover - the only sign of the monsoon...


The sun peeps through - as people loiter around the sea face...


Work completed... and Work in progress...


The Contrasts of Mumbai - the sea link against the backdrop of the buildings and the hutments of Mumbai


The waves lash at the man-made intrusions.....


Looks great, doesn't it???




Not so great now???? but this is what holds the bridge together...


View from the Car window...


The Other half of the bridge.. work in progress...


We're ahead of all you guys!!!!!!


The real heroes - the chaps who actually worked on the bridge...


Another view...


And yet another - look how the traditional co-exists with the modern!


The Worli Fort - a long forgotten monument - now in the limelight again!



Here's another look...


And many more....



























Here's someone more enthusiastic than me!!


The view as we approach Bandra...




The toll collection booths - they start working today!!!


Look at the rush... coming and going...


A last look.....



Here's the site office....kudos to HCC!





I hope all of you enjoyed this journey as much as I did! Here's hoping that all the other infrastructure projects in Mumbai get completed soon.......... and we get many more landmarks like this!!!


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