Monday, October 22, 2012

Shiv had asked me if I wanted to go to Kolkatta to be a part of the Durga celebrations.

Somehow being in India, and after this Ganpathi, I want to take in all that Mumbai so lovingly offers for our enjoyment, entertainment, spirituality and bhakti.

This is me who did not like crowds. I cannot stand in any queues even the ones that snake through Disneylands and luckily this Ganesh Chaturthi, we stood in no queue at all to see Lalbaug cha Raja, at Mohammed Ali Road. It is the road that unites all religions, muslims and hindus alike, wait on this road and throw garlands at Lalbaug cha Raja. So I was there as well, trying to catch a glimpse of the imposing Lalbaug cha Raja, strolling on this very road. I wanted him to stand still, so I can take in all of him, but he kept rolling, quite fast, leaving me dissatisfied. Even standing for a second before Tirupathi Balaji seemed more satisfying than a strolling Ganesha. But, am I not being a tad bit greedy here ? Getting a darshan of Lalbaug cha Raja was a big bonus, a very unexpected opportunity for us. The lines that thronged him on all eleven days stood fourteen, fifteen hours before reaching his lotus feet and all I did was come out Anant Chaturdhasi day, what a day, to catch him galloping towards immersion.

We bought hats and pictures of Lalbaug cha Raja at the scene and when I requested the kids to wear it, all I received was a 'Mom, are you serious ?' look.

But anyway next Ganpathi, they have to wear those hats to go out on the streets or else I will, at which point I am hoping they would say 'Mom, you look totally ridiculous, never mind, we will wear it.' And I would say 'Ridiculous or not, I paid good money to buy these hats, so either you guys wear it or I will '. What do you say ? ;)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Only In Mumbai

Only in Mumbai can you find such lip smacking delicacies stacked on top of each other, yes you guessed it, due to space constraints.
Pictures taken from a very yummy food store in Khar West - Neelam Foodland.

I was shocked when this lad lifted my basket from my hand and said 'Mein pakadoonga, aap shop kijiye.' I was not at all sure what that meant. All I knew was that I wanted the basket back. With the basket in mind, I went in and picked a couple of namkeens. He asked me to drop them in the basket, Maggi packets, drop them in the basket, khatta-meeta, drop it in the basket, wafers of all kinds - drop it in the basket, kept following me, read out the innumerable items atthe counter and helped me pay my bill. I was still not sure what to do, should i take over the basket? but he asked for my car, put the contents in and waved me goodbye. I was shocked beyond belief as to what had happened. 

That was by far the most regal shopping experience I have had, not in HongKong and not in the USA. And a falling in love moment as well, with Mumbai. By now you guys must have figured out that Shiv did no such thing back in the States, come rolling the cart behind me, in true puppy dog fashion. (sniff sniff, fingers flicking tears). Nor did he get me a real puppy to do just that. Well what about the kids you ask and till date, only I have been running behind them, they are unleashed, wild and free as the day they were born.

Anyway, that is the kind of service you get at Neelam Foodlands. 
Not in all shops, but only in Neelam, only in Mumbai.

Only In Mumbai

I've handed crisp 500 rupee notes to vendors, two notes instead of one, and have always been returned the stuck note, no matter how badly an extra 500 would have helped them.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ganpathi there ghar aathe hain ?

When Ganeshji came to my home, not only did I worship him, but somewhere in between I fell in love with the Ganesh idol. He stayed with me for 5 full days and he gave me company when all the children had gone to school, it was like having a son.

I always wanted to have another son, but only after seeing my twin girls being so close to each other. I wanted the same for Tejas but was met with ice cold stares from Shiv. And yet, here he was, albeit for 5 days, my second son, or in fact my older son who would keep company for my little Tejas.

I loved him, we enjoyed his beauty by adorning him fine jewelery and clothes, feeding him delicious modaks and sweets, filling the home with fragrance and flower arrangements. I dedicated myself to him reading his favourite poems and hymns, and he was becoming so much a part of this household I couldn't bear to part with him on Visarjan day. But like all good things have to come to an end, for my son himself to teach me a valuable lesson that life is but ephemeral and you have to let go to let live and there we did, immerse him in the ocean and bought back a piece of clay of which he was made. A remnant reminder of my beloved son supporting the soil of my tulsi maadam.

I enjoyed being with him so much and only I have Mumbai to thank for.

Only In Mumbai.


Ganesh Visarjan 2012

Was a very intense experience for me. Standing at Girgaum Chowpatty at 1 a.m, seeing the streaming processions of Ganeshas, some big and yet some very big, some huge and some large, the city was flooded with street lights, people and their favourite - Ganeshas. During the first few days, I was thirsting to see Ganeshas, running around between several pandals to catch a glimpse of the lord of the lords - Ganesha.

And here I was on Anant Chaturdasi night, watching procession after procession of Ganeshas. As i stood inches from the Arabian sea lapping on the shores and saw a number of Ganeshas standing eerily still, in the waters, I could only notice the silence that fell on everyone's ears as we all watched the Ganeshas. There were people talking but nothing went into ours heads. It was completely silent and we were but silent spectators of the Visarjan. It was a bone chilling experience as I witnessed the Visarjan of several Ganeshas getting into the water, people going on a motor boat deep into the water to let their Ganeshas immerse in the sea, and the experience was unique as it was just the Ganeshas and me, and not a drop of sound reached my ears and I am sure all the onlookers ears.

We were kind of united in the silence, witnessing a miracle, man made, yet one, as the Ganeshas slowly sunk in.

And that is when I precisely fell in love with Mumbai. That is when all I could say to Shiv was 'Only in Mumbai, Only in Mumbai'.

He did it for me. He came along as he didn't want to send me alone into the night. And he mumbled some words like 'Yes, only in Mumbai , no where in the world can you see such a sight'. And even in my stupor, i said 'lets not say no-where in the world, lets just say only in Mumbai'. It didn't feel right talking about other nations just now. This was Mumbai's moment. I wanted to think of only that night, that moment. All nations have their own miracles. And for me that night captivated my heart and Mumbai had my soul from then on.

Only In Mumbai
Mumbai Meri Jaan.

Mumbai Meri Jaan !!

Its been a year.
Yes, a year since I moved to Mumbai.
I decided to love it even before I came here, because, just because...
I decided to love it, not knowing what love is, not knowing what I am going to love or how.

And when I landed here, there was no me deciding to love it. The city completely takes over and you have to be, but in love with it. There is nothing about me in this quotient. It is Mumbai. Mumbai is love. And thus I have come a full circle, deciding to love it and to find out that it is nothing but love itself. It is itself. It is life. It is Mumbai.

Mumbai Meri Jaan. Mera dadaktha dil, something I would have reserved only for my children.
But here it is - My child, My teacher, My mother, My earth - Mumbai Meri Jaan !!