Sunday, 16 March 2014

Waiting zones

Mumbai is a crazy city and I love it.  I like the bustle and hustle and the noise and the smells, well almost all the smells.  I've got very comfortable weaving my way through the people and traffic and enjoying watching and joining in with the masses of people getting on with their lives. 

Recently my eye has been drawn away from the action the business and the activities to the quiet waiting that happens everywhere.  People, entirely comfortable in their spaces just waiting.  I do a lot of waiting too, just standing and watching and waiting to see what happens.  Here are two fellow waiters I watched recently:

Well, it's Mumbai, if  you wait long enough something's going to happen.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Balloons of Bombay

I've posted on the big balloons before but I'm still not over them.  How many balloons are sold in a day?  Who is the Balloon Master?  Why are the ones in the packets puny specimens?  How much would I have to pay to get a genuine big balloon?  What would I do with one if I actually bought it?

Who buys the giant balloons of Mumbai?
 "This is a BIG, big balloon" he said, "The biggest" I agreed.

Meanwhile, dejected,  just a street away a balloon seller hawks a smaller big balloon.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Vintage Point

I'm not a car buff, I categorise cars by simple parameters; "big", "small" and their colour but I do appreciate "pretty" and I stumbled on a whole heap of pretty parked up at Kala Ghoda. 

Bently hood ornament parked at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai

Just sitting there in the car park at were beautiful old Bentleys and Buicks, I knew they were thus because they had their names on their hoods.  They had just been unveiled and were on display prior to taking part in the Mumbai Vintage Car Rally on Sunday.

There was just me and one other camera toting person happily clicking away, a real luxury in camera crazy Mumbai.  There were a lot of officials and mechanics all hovering around awaiting the inevitable onslaught of the photo opportunists. Later I spent a happy ten minutes watching men standing proprietorially beside the cars while their partners snapped them looking proud  but at this stage I had space and time and felt strangely exposed.

I've grown so used to craning and jostling and working on avoiding hundreds of others with cameras that it was odd not to have to, odd but lovely.

By the time I moved on the crowds had moved in and the young men in official white polo shirts were starting becoming agitated about caring for their precious charges.

I said "goodbye and thank you" to the man in the mirror and he said "Thank you for loving the cars without touching".  I hope his day wasn't too stressful.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Pantry and a personal gripe.

Pomegranates are delicious and this season has been the best I remember.  On a visit to The Pantry off Kala Ghoda, in a little lane just to the side of Fab India I found the best pomegranate drink ever.  Pomegranate and sweet lime.

The Pantry is a lovely little place, all pastel colours and teashop retro chic decorated with prettily painted kitchen utensils and other ephemera.

Big windows and white tiled walls create a lot of light and the open kitchen and glass cases full of bakery goods make for a relaxing space.

Food is served on rather stylish teal boards and the menu offers a good range of pies, sandwiches, salads and soups.  Local produce is favoured and there's free wi-fi.

The coffee is good too, very good.

Now to my personal gripe.  The Pantry has signed up to the social media initiative Treetins which encourages strangers to share tables and build relationships.  They have the cute little flags on the table which are popping up in restaurants all over Mumbai. They also have a regularly changing menu and specials.

They also have free wi-fi and throughout the restaurant people were taking advantage of it.

Now I get that it's useful, it helps people keep in touch, it can pass a lonely lunch or snack as well as a newspaper can.  I wasn't alone I was with the man and a very close friend.  I ordered soup, it came first, that's fine,  as a starter it should.  I tried conversation, questions, comments, suggestions, I got only vague grunts in response.  I even offered to let them try my soup! Nothing!  The two of them sat pecking at their phones like demented pigeons.  Eventually, just before their mains arrived they happily turned their phones to me to show how they had updated their status and had conversations with people who were online to say they were at The Pantry.  I bloody KNEW that!  At least they had tagged me into their comments so I knew I hadn't eaten alone!

I should have got up and moved to another table that was waving it's little flag but all the people eating alone were also pecking away at their various pads and phones.

I've decided that I prefer places without wi-fi but I'll go back to The Pantry and beg my companions to stay off the bloody social media at least until the coffee comes.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Why shopkeepers hate me.

I love shops and markets.  I'm a happy rummager. I'm a terrible shopper.  I like to look, prod, poke and photograph things but I hardly ever buy them.   Shopkeepers do not like me.

With the exception of cushions and books I don't like to be surrounded by clutter.  I like the look of it, but not the practice so I take pictures of the shiny fanciness that catches my eye instead.

Here are a few things I haven't bought recently.

I did not buy any hair sticks or bangles from this man despite them being shiny and lovely. You can see I'm never going to become his favourite customers.

I did not buy even one little Ganesha despite them being the "cutest things ever" because I already have one which was gifted to me.

I did not buy this pretty mirror which so nicely reflected a wobbly Rampart Row because I thought the buildings looked lovely in the distorted reflection but I would look less so.

I did not buy lovely glass versions of the chilli and lime amulets to hang above my door because I don't have any nails strong enough to hammer into the concrete wall. These are the things
I came closest to buying recently. I liked them a lot so I used the picture as a
new blog header to ward off the virtual evil eye.

I've just carried out an audit of my decorative items. I own 6 paintings, two small decorative boxes, one Ganesha, twenty eight cushions and seven tea light holders.  I have a hankering to replace some of the cushion covers.  Shopkeepers of Mumbai, prepare to celebrate.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Bollywood Abridged

Film posters are found all over the place.  Any relatively flat surface will do, although sometimes it takes a bit of ingenuity on the part of the poster pasters to cover irregular surfaces and sizes.  A case in point, here's the poster for Dhoom:3

 ... and here's a compressed version:

Well done Mr Bill Sticker.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Kala Ghoda 2014

A three month break is just too long.

I got out of the habit of taking pictures, or I got too precious about it. The light is wrong, it's too busy, it's too quiet, it's too early or too late. One way or the other I spent too long not taking pictures and complaining about not taking pictures. So Kala Ghoda Arts Festival came around and Saturday morning found me waiting for it to open so I could get in before it got too crowded.

Here are a few images:

metal, bird, sign, political, india, kala ghoda, mumbai

kala ghoda, mumbai, arts festival, india, indian flag, viewer
 Incredulous India

bollywood car, kala ghoda, ambasador, art car, mumbai, india
 Bollywood Mover

More soon.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Getting fruity

Well, I've been a bad blogger, no new posts for far too long.  I haven't been taking my camera out enough, hell I haven't been taking myself, out enough.  So in celebration of November, when the strawberries come into season, here's a picture from my balcony.

One of the great joys of not living in the UK is the seasonality of fruit, I used to despair at seeing strawberries in the middle of winter.  Here I gorge on what's in season knowing that once the season is over so is the fruit.  I saw figs yesterday and the grapes will start coming through soon so there may be more fruit related posts soon or I may actually haul myself out and start snapping again.

Sunday, 29 September 2013


I went to a swim meet this weekend in my role as my workplace's Official -Unofficial photographer.   It's an easy role to fall into, first you take your camera with you because you think it will be fun, then you share your pictures and before you know it the responsibility to capture all sorts of events has fallen to you.  It keeps me on my toes and hopefully helps my photography improve.


If nothing else I now have a huge free storage capacity on dropbox through sharing the images.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Dance Lessons

I don't dance much, really I have little sense of rhythm but I also have no fear of making an absolute fool of myself by giving things a go.  Hence I found myself wrapped in a saree learning Garba/Dandiya dancing, I suppose it could be described as circle dancing.  l learned a couple of multi-purpose moves which I'm supposed to practice at home.  The dance party isn't until next week but there's no harm in having a bit of pre-party fun and, given the growing numbers of clueless foreigners, a rehearsal is a very good idea.

There were formal sessions planned but we all ended up in one of the open spaces prancing around while our more skilled colleagues showed off their more impressive moves.

There are no pictures of me dancing or otherwise so you'll have to take my word for it, also for the two milestones passed, wearing a saree and not falling over in it.

I'm still not confident of my ability to maintain dignity in a saree so I've ordered a lehenga choli outfit for the dance.

 For Forrens Lehenga choli - long flared skirt and tight blouse.  Mine has mirrors on it!