Tag Archives: Mumbai

Splendor in the Grass

Just a little while ago, after I ate dinner, I went out into the back yard on a treasure hunt.  I took the tools of my treasure-hunting trade with me: a garbage back, a rake and a scoop.  What kind of treasure was I looking for?  Dog doo.  Not exactly what many would consider treasure.  It’s not that fun of an event, but it’s better than getting it on your shoes and tracking it (and the smell) around with you wherever you go!

Fortunately, some things that are found in the grass are much more pleasant, and certainly less odiferous, than dog doo.  Such is the case in the back of the Sheraton in Mumbai.  I already shared one photo a while back of a statue that was partially submerged in the swimming pool.  Today is another statue that decorates the outside of the hotel just before you get to the pool.

I liked this sculpture.  It was simple, yet elegant.  She looks like the kind of person one might like to meet.  She appears fresh, as if she’s just been washed by rainfall (which, in fact, she had been.)  I never got her name, and no, I didn’t ask for her phone number.  I just let her sit and enjoy the evening as it cooled down and the breeze blew in from the Arabian Sea.

At ease on the lawn…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1909, Cleveland Indian’s shortstop Neal Ball, recorded the first ever unassisted triple play in major league baseball history in a game against Boston.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: there are about 3000 hot dog vendors in New York City.

Let’s Go Shopping!

OK, this one is for all you out there who love to go shopping!!!  I can, at times, count myself among your numbers depending on what I’m shopping for and what kind of store it is.  For example, if my wife wants to shop for shoes, clothes, a purse or hair products, I’d just as soon visit the dentist.  But if it comes to electronics, my favorite store in the world is the chain in California known as Frye’s Electronics…it is heaven on earth!  I must also say, though, that I don’t really get complete satisfaction from shopping anywhere for one reason: those doggone stores always want you to pay for something you want rather than just taking it out of the store!!!  I’m such a penny-pincher that I hate to pay for things that I want very badly!

I’m not sure how popular shopping would be for many Americans if you were in India.  Sure, there are rows of small stores that have attractive window displays showing their wares on some of the streets in the downtown areas, but most of the shopping that the Indian people do takes place in stores like the one in today’s photo that I took in June in Mumbai.  All along the side of the streets and roads you see “businesses” like these that sell something.  Some sell fresh(?) fruit or produce, some are little restaurants (wouldn’t pass the health inspections here, I’m sure), some may sell bottled water, or matches, or bamboo leaves or chai.  And sadly, some also serve as the homes of the proprietors.

At all hours of the day and night, you see people jammed into stores like these.  India seems to be a country that never sleeps…at least not in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai.  There are always people out and about, moving, honking horns, talking with each other.

So, how about it?  Shopping, anyone?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: the second battle of Isanzo began on this day in 1915.  It was the first battle, and thus began the fighting, in World War 1.  A series of battles were fought on that river during the year with no gain for either site.  The cost for the battles: 280,000 men.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: from 1941 through 1950, violet was one of the colors of plain “M&M” candies.  It was then replaced by tan.  BAD decision, if you ask me…


Not In America, You Don’t!

One of the interesting things about traveling abroad is to see how things are alike, or dissimilar, in different cultures and countries.  For example, though restaurants may serve totally different cuisines, their basic purpose is the same: to resolve the nagging hunger in  your belly.  Or, a bottle of Perrier will be the same just about anywhere you go.

When we were in Mumbai, we saw lots of construction going on.  It was interesting though – throughout all of India, we saw lots of buildings that had been started, but it appeared that they’d never been finished, or only partly finished.  We thought that was very odd.  Perhaps they just never finished the upper floors because they felt they may want to add more floors at some point in the future.  Who knows?  If that’s the case, I hope they planned for  a maximum number when they built the foundation!

Anyway, on our last day in Mumbai, we went to visit a movie shoot site.  Across the street and kitty-cornered from where we were was what appeared to be a high-rise apartment building.  I don’t think it was yet occupied, but I could be wrong about that.  What caught my attention, however, was some men standing in one of the open glass doorways that led onto a balcony. These guys were probably 8-10 stories up in the air.  That wasn’t so strange, but the fact that there was no railing to prevent them from plunging X stories to a certain death really was obvious.  You’d never get away with that in America!  So, what did I do?  I took a picture, of course.  This is a scene you won’t see in this country!

No railings or barriers on any of the balconies to prevent someone from falling off…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1960, the Beatles began a three-month engagement at the Indra Club in Hamburg, Germany, their first gig outside of bonny old England.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in 1945 when FDR died in office, Harry S. Truman became the first American President to take office while the country was already at war.

A Boy From the Slums

Have you ever met someone and wondered if you would ever see them again?  Or wondered, after many years had passed, what became of “so-and-so”?  Maybe it was an old school friend, or a neighbor, or even a cousin.  I had a cousin that I was very close to when we were little, and then for a  period of 45 years or so, we lost total touch with one another.  I wondered numerous times what had become of my cousin.  When we finally made contact, it didn’t take long for us to get caught up.

When I was in India, there were many faces that I saw and names that I heard…and I know that for the most part, I will most likely never see them again or know what became of them.

I had a similar reaction after serving in St. Bernard’s Parish in New Orleans after Katrina.  There was a young girl, maybe 18, who came in to the medical tent where we were working who had been caught in the flood.  She’s swam and clung to debris for hours before she was rescued.  I wondered what would become of her.

There was a young 15-year old girl in Haiti that had a little baby, but who also had a leg in a nasty-looking metal cage that was screwed in to what was left of the bones of her lower right leg.  I wonder what became of her and her baby after we left.

Today’s picture is of one such little boy.  I encountered this shirtless, barefoot waif in the very last slum we went to visit in Mumbai – the largest slum in southeastern Asia.  This little boy was one of the most aggressive of the kids that we met.  He would push his way to get in every picture, or to make sure that he was in the front of every picture.  He was not an especially pleasant little fellow to be around because of how he was pushing the other kids out of the way, but he was determined.

I wonder what will become of him and of all his little friends who lived in the slum with him.  Will he ever find a way out of that place?  Will he get married some day and have children of his own, and if so, what will they be like?  Where will they live?  And, what was the purpose of my life intersecting with his for even a few minutes?  I am not a believer in coincidence.  What kind of memories, if any, will he have of me?  Was I able to bless him in even some little way?

Every day I come in contact with people and the way I relate to them can help make their day better…or worse.  I’m hoping for the former!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Robert Wadlow was 8 feet, 11-1/10th inches tall and weighed 439 pounds when he died on this day in 1940 at the age of just 22.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the term, sesquipedalian sounds like what it means: it describes the use of long, multi-syllabic words.

Wade In the Water

There is an old spiritual that goes by the title of today’s picture post.  I haven’t heard it sung for years, but I always thought it was very soulful and emotive.

The song relates to both the Old and New Testaments, and the verses reflect the story of the escape of the Israelites under Moses and how they went through the Red Sea as well as the chorus, which relates to healing, based on John 5:4: “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.”

Many internet sources and popular books claim that songs such as “Wade in the Water” contained explicit instructions to fugitive slaves on how to avoid capture and the route to take to successfully make their way to freedom. This particular song allegedly recommends leaving dry land and taking to the water as a strategy to throw pursuing bloodhounds off one’s trail.  It is said that Harriet Tubman, known as the “Moses of her people” for the help she gave to runaway slaves during the Civil War (she helped lead them along the Underground Railroad to the north) sang this songs to those runaways.

“Wade in the Water” was a popular instrumental hit in 1966 for the Ramsey Louis Trio, and later recorded by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and Billy Preston (both in 1967).

The picture today was taken at our hotel in Mumbai…rather, it was taken outside the hotel.  Do you remember the terrorist attack at on of Mumbai hotels a year or two ago where  many people were killed?  Well, because of that, we were not allowed to take pictures of the inside of the hotel that could have been used for “intelligence” purposes, but we were permitted to take photos outdoors.  So, one evening before dark, I went out in the back of the hotel where the pool was.  There were numerous statues on the grounds and in the pool.  What you see in the background is the Arabian Sea.

This picture made me think of that old spiritual…”Wade in the water, Wade in the water chillin, oh, Wade in the water, God’s a gonna trouble the water!”

Wadin’ in the water, Indian style.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1933, the US established the minimum hourly wage to be 33 cents.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in Sri Lanka, to say “Hello”, you should put your hands together under your chin in prayer-like fashion and bow slightly.

The Artsy Side of a Trip to India

I felt like sharing something more artsy than serious today, so here’s a picture I took in Mumbai when we visited a building that was used in a movie, Not Today (about human trafficking), which will be released next spring.  Actually, the building is divided into two parts: a family lives in one part, and they rent the rest of it out for filming in movies, TV shows, etc.  We were there the day before MTV was going to show up to shoot some stuff.

Even the peeling paint in India seemed to be colorful and interesting.  This was on the outside of the building.  I just thought it might make an interesting picture.I have other artsy pictures I took while there, too, that I’ll share in the future.

Like I said, something light for today…I’m not in the mood for serious stuff tonight.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1804, Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in their famous duel.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: historical accounts say the first Christmas celebrated in the Philippines was celebrated somewhere between 1280-1320 AD, nearly 200 years before Ferdinand Magellan “discovered” the country for the western world.

It Ain’t Mystic Pizza

There we were, tooling down the crowded streets on our way to either a school or a slum, when someone noticed a swastika on a building.  As time passed, we noticed more and more of them.  They didn’t look just like the Nazi swastika, but it was clearly enough a swastika.

Come to find out that the swastika is very ancient – it didn’t originate with the Nazi’s in the first third of the last century.  While there is no definitive answer to its origin, what is clear is that it goes way back in Indian religion.  The Sanskrit “svastika” means “to be good” (according to Wikipedia, which is not always the best source.)

There is one legend that it represents the four god-like forces that stood at the four corners of the world and managed the affairs of the world.  Who knows?

Here is a picture I took on our last day in Mumbai when we were visiting the location of a movie shoot.  Right next door was Swastik Hardware and Swastik Ply N Wood.  Didn’t really create a strong urge in me to go shop there.in

This was unexpected…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1872, John Blondel invented and patented the donut cutter, and we are glad he did!!!

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: if you frequent Irish pubs and want a small beer, ask for “a glass”.  If you just ask for a beer, you’ll get a pint!


Hey, Mr. Sitar Man – Can you smile?

On our first morning in Mumbai, we were actually allowed to sleep in just a bit, which is good because it was near the end of our trip and we were all pretty worn out.  There was a buffet for breakfast so we could go down to the lobby and eat at whatever time we wished as long as we were ready to hit the road running by mid-morning.

I couldn’t sleep in much since I’d had a really bad night with my cold and cough, so I woke up fairly early, got on the Internet to catch up on some email, took a photo of the Arabian Sea out my hotel window, then showered, dressed and went downstairs.  I ate my breakfast (what a selection!), then went back upstairs to get my camera and notebook for the day’s journeys.

When I came back down, in the main part of the lobby, I heard Indian music…drums and sitar, in particular.  My first thought was that it was being piped in, but as I looked around behind me, on a floor pedestal were two men: one playing drums and the other playing the sitar.  I thought it was pretty interesting sounding, so I went over to sit in one of the comfortable chairs by where they were playing.  As they played, I asked if I could take their picture, and they were happy for me to do so.  I had my telephoto lens on (which wasn’t the best choice for this set-up), and I took some shots as they played.

I must say, I never did see the sitar guy crack even the tiniest of smiles.  The drummer was friendly, but I got the feeling the sitar player had been rousted out of bed earlier than he wanted to get up, and he seemed like a grump.  He was serious-faced the entire time, but he played well and I let them know I appreciated it when they were done. I couldn’t help but wonder why they sat so far apart.  Maybe it was because the sitar player really was a grump and the drummer didn’t want to get close to him!

Since it is Friday night and I’ve posted pictures that were about difficult things this week, I thought I’d share a shot of the musicians today…after all, you may be going out to party and dance tonight.  You might think about Indian cuisine and music…though unless you know what you’re doing, I think it would be VERY hard to dance to!!!

Mr. Grump and the Drummer

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1946, Allen Funt debuted “The Candid Microphone”on the radio.  A little over a year later, Candid Camera became a sensation and propelled Allen Funt to stardom.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in Greenwich, England, during the 1800’s, it was against the law to impersonate a retired person living on a pension.  Strange…those British….