Blessed relief

Garden at Prince of Wales Museum

View from the cafe at Prince of Wales Museum. If you haven’t been to Mumbai, it might be difficult to appreciate what a cool drink of water this view is. The museum is well worth a visit, but it’s worth paying the admission price to sit in peace and relative quiet and have a cup of tea and a cool drink. However, I’m not the first person to think this way and I think they have trouble with lingerers… [Read more…]

Too soon

C and I went to the movies last night  at Phoenix Mall, to see Skyfall. On the way back out to the street, I saw a girl who must have been around 18 months-2 years old, and certainly still a toddler, wearing the hijab.

I first caught sight of her from a distance, and she was so small that for a second I thought she was a doll. She was still young enough to have that tottery baby walk. It crucifies me (no pun intended) that this baby isn’t allowed at the very least some respite in childhood from ideas of modesty and restriction. When did her parents get it for her? When she took her first step?

As Hawa, a friend wiser than I commented, it sexualises these pre-pubescent girls and prepares them for a lifetime of effacement.

Facebook didn’t invent documenting the mundane


Several weeks ago now, we went to the Prince of Wales Museum (now known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya). One of the exhibitions was devoted to Indian miniature painting, and I was quite taken with this one – “Balwant Singh getting his beard trimmed”, circa 1755-1760.

And from the same exhibition – although it is a terrible picture, I am in love with the jauntiness of this elephant.

BMW tuk-tuk series

You can just barely make it out in the picture, but I do love the BMW badge on the back of this autorickshaw.

A visit to the car show

I know precious little about cars. Including how to drive them. But travel will do strange things to you, and it was my idea for us to go to the Autocar Performance Show 2012, at Bandra Kurla. We’ve also been watching a lot of Top Gear.  On a side note, Charlie told me he’d read that Jeremy Clarkson believed the congestion charge zone in London was extended to target him personally. While I haven’t been able to find any mention of this story, I wholeheartedly endorse the principle as the man seems to feel rather more aggrieved than a rich man with multiple platforms to propound his views needs to be.

This picture is of the Mahindra test circuit for 4WDs, where if you bought Rs 200 worth of merchandise (about AUD $4), you got a spin around the course. Setting up a dirt course at a Mumbai car show is really playing to your strengths. Sagar (our driver) drove us to and from the show, and we paid for him to come in with us. Sagar is about 19, from a village in Maharashtra, and although he is both reliable and just about bursting with eagerness, is not so great on street directions. We’re not really in a position to help him, and the whole thing is complicated by street numbers being rarely used. Smaller streets don’t tend to have names. So, we bought a satnav at the show that gives directions in Hindi and Indian English. The expression on Sagar’s face when the first direction came through the speakers was absolutely priceless.

More pictures after the jump. [Read more…]

Street level Mumbai

My friend Liana asked me to post more pictures of typical Mumbai scenes. I can’t speak to how typical these are, but they were all taken in the space of about half an hour this Sunday, on our way back from the car show.  More after the jump.

[Read more…]

A kitten in the Asiatic Library


A kitten that lives in the Asiatic Library, Fort, South Mumbai. We went on a walking tour of Fort with the excellent Mumbai Magic. Recommended.



This is a fairly typical view of traffic – a tuk tuk, and incomplete construction with monsoon stain. Taken near the domestic airport on my way back from the post/customs odyssey.