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Dr Ambedkar Road, Byculla East, Chinchpokli, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400027, India
Veermata Jijabai Bhonsle Udyan was formerly known as Victoria Gardens. The entire garden is spread out on approximately 42 hectares. This whole property was owned by the wealthy Jewish businessman called David Sasoon. He later donated it to the Municipal Corporation of Bombay. The garden was laid out in 1861 and possesses one of the richest flora, some of the trees are known to be very old and endangered. It also houses the Bhau Daji Lad Museum and the Mumbai Zoo. Information courtesy: WikipediaJijamata and her son Shivaji’s statue at the garden The clock tower at the entrance
Victoria and Albert Museum was also built by David Sasoon which was renamed as Bhau Daji Lad Museum in 1975. The construction of this Victorian style building was started in 1862 and was completed in 1871. It underwent renovation from 2003 to 2007. It contains a large number of archaeological artifacts. At the entrance of the Museum lies a stone elephant which was picked up from the Elephanta caves and sent to Britian in 1864, then later brought back. Imagine the haul it must have taken! There are clay models, old maps of Mumbai, silver and copper wares, ancient jewelleries, etc. It also has won the UNESCO Award for Excellence in 2005.
This is the Baobab tree. It is a native of the island of Madgascar. It looks weird with huge trunks that stores water and slender branches. This garden is a botanical treasure.
This zoo is one of the oldest in the country. Animals activists have often complained about the sorry state of the animals and the utter carelessness of the zoo officials. The animals in captivity have known to be dead because of lack of hygiene and adequate care. There are only few animals in the zoo and they don’t look happy. It has taken me six visits to finally see the one-horned Rhino rising from its tank. The single Rhino was sulking along the fence and avoiding the limelight, definitely not people friendly. Don’t know if you can blame the zoo officials for this. I haven’t yet seen the Lion, who is known to be there but have to see it to believe it. There are plenty of monkeys and deers.The ornamental archway entrance
The fake one
White Pea hen
The big blobs of black are actually Bats
Hopeful to see the crocodile which isn’t there
The number of empty cages are much more than occupied ones. These cages seem to wither away under the vast canopy of the trees.
The black stone statue of King Edward VII was also made by David Sasoon when the King was visiting. This statue was shifted to this garden after the Indian Government’s ruling that none of the British leaders’ monuments were to be kept in the public.
The Central Zoo Authority has sanctioned the revamp of the zoo which was underway since the last few years. After the revamp, the zoo is planning to exhibit 18 Indian animals like hyenas, jackals, wolves, sloth bears, wild dogs, porcupines, mouse deer, sambars, common otters, Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers, leopards, jungle cats, and five exotic species like emu, hippopotamus, jaguar, zebra and Humboldt penguins. The renovated zoo will be open to public in March 2015, if at all the works start like planned in September 2013. Information courtesy: Hindustan Times
This is the approved plan for revamping the zoo, that is put up at the entrance of the zoo. But I have my fingers crossed!
This is one of the oldest gardens in city of Mumbai. Construction of the garden started in 1869 and was completed in 1872. Then, it was a unique design to plan an open space with buildings all around it. Trees were planted at the periphery with wide walkways for public use. This place was originally known as Elphinstone Circle, named after the Governor Lord John Elphinstone. A huge ornamental fountain was placed in the center of the garden, which later was changed to an Art Deco iron pipes design as of today. After the independence, it came to be known as Horniman Circle to honor Benjamin Horniman, editor of Bombay Chronicle newspaper, who supported the freedom movement. During the pre-independence times, this place became the favorite meeting place of the elites and cultural events were held here. Information courtesy: Wikipedia and a plaque at the garden. This board at the park narrates its story. Surrounding this park stands heritage office buildings like The Asiatic Library, Reserve Bank of India and The Times of India.
This fountain is the signature symbol of this garden. The archaic entrance gates from the Raj era. Today this is just like any other garden in the city. Lost, battered and beaten! Though the garden is quite green. The credit for which don’t go to the BMC because it is not something that they had planted, but they did the least to not screw it up. Flora in the garden is quite varied, with gulmohars and copper pods The lone duck in the fountain, looking for company I don’t understand what it is about see-saws particularly. They are never seatable. No seats at all. If they can’t repair it, they can remove it atleast, so that it won’t hurt anyone. This garden often is the venue of the annual Sufi concert called Ruhaniyaat. There are several other cultural programs held here throughout the year. Most of the times its open for public, but sometimes we have seen the gates closed, like the one below. I wonder if its legally correct to use a public property on a public holiday for private purposes and not allow the aam aadmi inside? This calls for a PIL, what say?
Mumbai Samachar Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India
This is one of the oldest gardens in city of Mumbai. Construction of the garden started in 1869 and was completed in 1872. Then, it was a unique design to plan an open space with buildings all around it. Trees were planted at the periphery with wide walkways for public use. This place was originally known as Elphinstone Circle, named after the Governor Lord John Elphinstone. A huge ornamental fountain was placed in the center of the garden, which later was changed to an Art Deco iron pipes design as of today. After the independence, it came to be known as Horniman Circle to honor Benjamin Horniman, editor of Bombay Chronicle newspaper, who supported the freedom movement. During the pre-independence times, this place became the favorite meeting place of the elites and cultural events were held here. Information courtesy: Wikipedia and a plaque at the garden.
This board at the park narrates its story. Surrounding this park stands heritage office buildings like The Asiatic Library, Reserve Bank of India and The Times of India.
This fountain is the signature symbol of this garden.
The archaic entrance gates from the Raj era.
Today this is just like any other garden in the city. Lost, battered and beaten! Though the garden is quite green. The credit for which don’t go to the BMC because it is not something that they had planted, but they did the least to not screw it up.
Flora in the garden is quite varied, with gulmohars and copper pods
The lone duck in the fountain, looking for company
I don’t understand what it is about see-saws particularly. They are never seatable.
No seats at all.
If they can’t repair it, they can remove it atleast, so that it won’t hurt anyone.
This garden often is the venue of the annual Sufi concert called Ruhaniyaat. There are several other cultural programs held here throughout the year. Most of the times its open for public, but sometimes we have seen the gates closed, like the one below.
I wonder if its legally correct to use a public property on a public holiday for private purposes and not allow the aam aadmi inside? This calls for a PIL, what say?
Abhinandan Swami Jain Mandir Road, Sion West, Sion, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400022, India
No I am not a treehugger, so my reaction to my own determination was “uhh…are you sure?”. The rot, slime and stink, am I ready for it? I live in one of the suburbs of Mumbai where the BMC garbage trucks show up just once in a while. The swollen black trash bags on char-rastas and foothpaths have become part of our streets. Crows pick on them and leave behind the spewing leftovers. If you look at it technically one can figure out the character of the household by the garbage it throws. Tetrapacks, cereal boxes, imported fruits lay lavishly around the tree trunks, as if its some kind of offering.
Where my parents live in Kerala there no garbage trucks at all. They compost all their kitchen waste for their garden. No I am not saying they are great. If you happen to live in a house that has a backyard, chances are that you would also do it. That doesn’t mean their streets are ultra clean. Non-biodegradable waste for lack of any alternatives get burnt or is thrown at street corners. The tattered plastic bags hover on the roads. The real problem of waste in our cities is lack of segregation. Almost 65% of waste from households are biodegradable. So my intention was to fix this 2/3rds of waste that comes from my household.
So I started googling and Youtubing. As I was sifting through the countless how-to videos and pictures it seemed to me that it would not be that difficult. With few pictures on my smart phone, I straight went to Khumbarwada, Sion the hub of pot-making, to make a prototype of a composter. I deduced that terracotta is the best material for this purpose. It retains some bit of heat necessary for decomposition but doesn’t get too hot. I found a lady, Jayaben who makes pots of 25 ltrs capacity and quickly ordered three. Jayaben was forthcoming so asked her if she was willing to make some changes for my purpose. Before baking them, I asked her to drill holes on the sides for aeration. When I demanded few holes on the bottom, she looked at me suspiciously and guess thats when she raised her price. I don’t think she understood my purpose. But I was least bothered about that and the price, my fear was I quitting in the middle.
I got three pots and decided to put them one above the other. Strategically I put them on the terrace of our apartment, away from people’s eyes and their questions.
Then I started and have not stopped since the past three months. All bio-degradable wastes from our kitchen religiously go through me. Everyone in the house know that my watchful eyes guard the trash can. Plastic is forbidden and even the smallest of the green stub need to go in the can. Here are a few pictures of the stuff…
This is the fresh left overs from kitchen
This is after few days….when they slowly lose water
This is after a week’s time when they reduce to its 50% volume. Few visitors like bugs and insects come to visit the mix. But be assured they are not here to stay they just help in the process of decomposition. Once I put remains of watermelon and the mix became slimy and started stinking. Quickly, I googled for remedy and put dry leaves and some soil over it.
This is how it looks after 5 weeks. Completely decomposed, brown-black in color and precisely smells like fresh earth. Voila!
My next task is to get few pots and plant veggies in them. Lets see if I have patience for that.
I still have Jayaben’s number. Let me know if you feel like giving it a try, I would be more than happy to help.
Central Park Road, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra 410210, India
It is a long way to get here. If you live in Mumbai Suburban this might feel like going for an excursion. Central Park in Khargar is around 100 acres partly developed and yet to be. Abutting this property is the extravagant Khargar Golf Course. When I visited last monsoon, it was surrounded by greens and was relatively new.
The main building was still under construction. The park has lots of play areas for children of all ages. There is one specifically meant for toddlers with rubberised flooring. All the play equipments look new and unique. There is a huge amphitheater waiting to be rocked by a concert. At the entrance is a huge water fountain where kids seem glued.Now this blog is not really about how good this place is. But it is about how long this place is going to remain good. Here are a few pictures.
Toddlers’ play area
Women sitting on children’s swings
This is called stliding, which is standing + sliding
A middle aged man (looks somewhat on a heavier side) sitting on children’s car.
I understand she might have been deprived of the childhood fun
Heres a close up
Yes they all want to slide!
Saree and burqa laden women taking turns with their toddlers in the lap
I don’t know if you see what I see…heres another close up
He is swinging with a baby in his lapI won’t be surprised to see the slides broken and empty swing frames next time I go here. But I will be disappointed to see how fast it would have been degraded. It almost seems like gluttony of a different kind. Finishing it off before anyone else can have it.
Bhandardara to Ghoti Road, Maharashtra 422403, India
of Maharashtra! ….. Title is a bit over the top, yeah? Sorry it was delibrate. Amid the titles posted by my facebook friends who travel to Australia, New Zealand and Europe, this was my way to get hits or rather Likes! These pictures are taken through our drive-journey to Igatpuri, Bhandardhara, Deolali and Nashik. Just two and a half hours away from Mumbai and will not cost you much.
As you drive away you will hardly find people on the road. The roads are fine and completely pot-hole free, unless you are driving in the interiors. For lack of understanding or the use of it, some women dry clothes and crops on the roads. You can find them beating the dry hay to get the grains out. The striking thing is so much land for so less people and here you are living in a pressure cooker.
This is somewhere along the State Highway 44. An irrigation canal which abuts acres and acres of paddy fields which just turned golden.
This is a combine harvester. Thanks to K’s book “On the Farm”. These are huge and go chugging through the field. They sweep an average size field in couple of hours which probably take men and women days with their backs bent under the sun.More paddy fields ready for the harvester, either man or machine
Aah! now you know where all the money goes!
Somewhere along National Highway no. 3
Onlookers probably belonging to the women who was drying clothes on the road.
Along National Highway no. 3
On the way to Bhandardara dam
I attempted to count, guessed about 25 people in this jeep. No don’t conclude on the population density by looking at this, jeeps are probably a rare resource here.
My husband wants to start a company that will provide helicopter rides around here
Very ancient Champa tree near the Pandav-leni cavesEntrance to one of the caves
Gangasagar dam reservoir, Nashik
Would be happy to share info if you are interested in exploring these areas. Hopefully the next trip will be soon!
The question is, what is the right way of parenting? When you read about successful people one thing that all of them refer to is the kind of childhood they had. Either they had motivated parents who laid a solid foundation or they had abusive or divorced parents that made their childhood miserable and the sheer vigor to get out of it made them successful. One thing is common among both and that is they didn’t have an ordinary childhood like you and me. Parenting has direct affect on how much successful you will be in your life. So, I turned to books of various kinds. For me reading parenting books turned out to be like therapy. Its less about children and more about parents.I recently finished Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua at rocketing speed in 4 days. This is the best I have done to a non-fiction book. Though by Amy Chua’s standards this might be a lousy effort. One of the reviewers has nailed her book correctly. Parent or not, lenient or strict, old school or modern everyone will have an opinion about this book. This is her story about how she raises her two daughters in a “Chinese way”. She follows an authoritarian style of parenting. She runs their affairs like a military camp preparing them for a war she calls their future. Rules are laid down crystal clear. No grades other than As, no sleepovers, no playdates, no boyfriends, no participation in school drama, they have to learn a musical instrument which can only be violin or piano, and finally they cannot complain about anything on this list. The list is pretty straight forward, no loop holes for rescue. You can’t do anything but submit to her. People who read her announced that she is a monster and said her children would resent her. Behind all this there is an uncomfortable truth. Her ways have rendered in my view the best her children could have accomplished at that point. She pushed them to maximize their potential. She believed in them and it didn’t matter if they believed in themselves or not. Being a Tiger Mom is not easy, it is heavy duty parenting. It is grueling, countless hours of nagging and cajoling can spin your head. She wouldn’t let anything come in between them and their practice. If sick then pop pill and practice, no time in the day then wake up at 5 and practice. They practice on holidays, weekends and heck, even when they are on vacation. This relentless pursuit to achieve perfection and an unwavering work ethic is what she wants to inculcate in her children. Honestly, I was not even ready to buy this book, thought it would wrongly influence my opinion. Our approach of parenting is very conservative and closed. I don’t blame the parents (including myself) I think they are confused. I recently went to check out a school (of a different kind) for my daughter and spoke to few parents. They were happy that their kids are becoming independent day by day, but many of them confessed to want to have controlled independence. I cannot but look back into my childhood. Being from an average middle class family, the only way to become successful in life was to get good grades in school. Pursue engineering or medicine and this was your ticket to elevating yourself up in the economic ladder. I studied well and was always in the top 5% of the class. But not well enough to ever top the class. Miraculously I always stood second or third. Thinking back I guess I never wanted to top. I was afraid. If I did too well the teachers would expect more and If I slacked then I will get noticed at home. So I simply stayed low and sailed through. Always got truck loads of sympathy, “Oh you nearly made it this time”, “you were just unlucky thats all”, etc. What I needed then was a mother like Amy Chua who would make me slog my back side. Instead my father would come and switch off my room’s light. “Enough of studying now”, “rest is best before the test”, he would announce and go away. I took pride in telling my friends about my father. Today I feel bad about it. I think he was not ambitious enough for me.Now turn the bottle upside down. Sudbury Valley School in US is unlike any other school in the world. Its not just about a unique way of imparting education but its a way of life. There are no time tables and no teachers taking classes. The school looks like its in recess forever. Children are buzzing all around and doing their things. No one to disturb or direct them. A book about this school describes a kid who does fishing for 15 years only fishing, mind you! Every year his father would go to the administration and express his doubts. They told him to wait and watch. One fine day he found a new passion, computers. He never looked back at fishing and found an internship with HP and his career took off. Not that fishing is by any stretch of imagination a lesser meaningful thing. May be he could have become the greatest Ichthyologist of our generation and did some important discoveries in marine biology. Simply put, in this school kids just do their thing day in and day out for years till they are 19 when they graduate. Looking from outside it would seem like an easy and fun life if you are let free to do anything you like. But imagine you are doing this everyday. There is enough time for everything you want to do. Nobody to tell you how much to do, how to do or what to do. I bet it would be a very difficult. This is a place where you learn from getting bored. You are responsible for your life. You take charge of your own education. And when you start them young, they are exuberant and fearless. The intensity with which they pursue their passion is enormous. And it doesn’t matter what their passion is. Most of us don’t even know where our interests lie. We just stay low. Not questioning the prevailing norm has become our subconscious trait. Going with the flow is safer and easier because tiding against needs courage and is uncertain. In the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, he says that unless you have 10,000 hours of hard work under your belt you can’t be successful. Let’s say you want to be a concert pianist. Ten thousand hours roughly works out to be a little less than 10 years if you practice 3 hours everyday (including the weekends). It is also crucial that you start young. So unless you have a tiger mom you’d rather play video games or watch movies. Finally, I don’t think there is a correct way of parenting. So, I don’t know yet what kind of mom I will be. Will I let her do soul searching for hours swinging under the tree? Or will I have a stop watch and a time table for her in my hands? The latter seems hard and cruel. But actually the former is the hardest. I think I will go for the hardest because I guess I am ambitious for her.
Telang Road, Matunga East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400019, India
Like your yearly sales bonanza, this is the festive offer time for the good heavens! Across all religion and regions in India this is the season of the gods.Last week was Ganeshotsav and Mumbai knows how to celebrate it in style! Most Hindus consider it auspicious to begin any new activity with Lord Ganesh and hence this festival officially flags off many more celebrations. Soon there will be the harvest festivals Navratri, then Dussehra, Diwali, Makar Sankranti, and after a brief intermission start several regional spring fesitivities like Pongal, Vishu, Baisakhi, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Holi and others. With so many distractions, no wonder Indians can’t do anythng straight. Not just Hindus, Jains had their eight day long Paryushan and related celebrations (introspection?) which ended last week. Pateti and Eid was celebrated about a month ago. I guess all the gods like to be pleased in this coming good weather.
Ganesh idols are brought in with great pomp and jubilance. The artists often embody the god in themes that concerns our lives the most. Be it political or about people who influence us the most. I once saw Ganapati seated in the hot seat with Amitabh Bachchan, it was the 1st season of KBC. Long years ago my father took me and my brother to see a Ganapati that would come in and out of a trophy. What was the occasion? India had won the Prudential Cup! I don’t remember anything about it but he says I was in awe and my brother had fun. I took my daughter this year, she would scream loud only to embarass me, “Gampati is biggie biggie fat”. One of her friends would go in an iteration mode, “Ganpati bappa moya, Ganpati bappa moya” and would demand, “another Ganpati, another Ganpati”. They simply love it, this is their time to have fun.It was interesting to note how much economic activities these occasions were generating. A visit to Matunga’s Phool Galli (flower street) will show you how the godly celebrations are making holy business sense. At least a hundred workers weave garlands and other floral decorations for mandals across Mumbai. If you notice carefully they are seated in two tiers like inside the railway compartments, maximizing the per square inch space available. Working late hours, this is their time to cash in. The internal market streets are lit with fancy lights. Trees are hanging linear LED lights. It is no less than a mela, from big water fountains to merry-go-rounds, mini giant wheels, balloonwallahs and vendors with their plastic toys spread out. The cacophony of bugles, silly toys, honking cars and people will make your head dizzy for a while. After you find your ground, your gut will sound an alarm at the site of vada pavs and pani puris. Malai cakes, this I am seeing for the first time, are pieces of malai cubes sitting on a big piece of ice. The kusssshhh….sound of the dosa can make any determined person stop and look. Interested in having something cool to reverse the heat effect, then just follow the direction from where boys and girls are walking licking their kulfis. All inviting you to take a break and spice up your senses. All kinds of eateries and street food vendors work over time to feed the excited and hungry junta. Isn’t it their time? One thing that you will not be able to miss is the amount of political mileage every party is trying to sqeeze from such occasions. Hoardings with faces of netas (politicians) and their chelas (yes-men) and their symbols clutter the roundabouts and junctions on every streets. Even the entrances of mandals have their faces on them, smiling through their scam money. You can’t escape the mistake you made in the last election. I guess this is also their time!
The sound gets progressively louder and the nights longer, till the the last day, when the send off processions take place. The thumping of the drums and cymbals can make your heart beat a few more times. The sheer loudness of these instruments makes me gasp for breath. Teenaged boys and girls sing and dance like they are tranced. Or is this the Red Bull effect, cans of which are littered on the roadsides. Whatever it may be, the air is filled with gulal and scent of agarbattis. The rhythm of lejim practically takes over your body. You can’t stand still and your legs will move. Everyone around is dancing gaily. I guess this is everyone’s time in the name of god!