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Ode to the Indian subcontinent…

Yesterday marked 70 years of independence for the Indian subcontinent. For many, the memories of the partition which followed – a tragic moment in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh’s history which gave birth to at first two then three nations – have become faded over the years.

Earlier this month, we joined a remarkable Remembering Partition project  organized by Godrej India Cultural Lab  with:

  • A pop-up museum of precious items brought with families
  • Stories captured through the India Memory Project
  • Recordings of families recounting of their journey from the Pakistan side of the border to India…
  • Art installation
  • Panel discussions
  • Imagining partition through fashion
  • The poetry of Kabir set to music by Kabir Cafe
  • 1st viewing of Gurinder Chadha’s film – Viceroy’s House (English) / Partition: 1947 (Hindi)… in which my husband can be seen as Jinnah

While acknowledging the blood, sweat and tears that was part of history, I’d also like to extend a personal thanks to India for giving many the opportunity to be ‘adopted’… this marvellous, maddening and at times mystifying country India has been kind enough to let me – and many others – call it ‘home’.

Here are a few images from the Remembering Partition events…

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Holiday headaches – competing cacophony

You must be kidding!? There is yet another religious celebration to be fetted at full volume!

2013-04-Goat1This time it happens to be Ganapathi and the clanking of bells, thrum of drums hasn’t relented for hours. And soon it will be joined by the Bandra Fair celebrations (aka Mount Mary feast) with folks walking down our lane with kazoos at 2am. Seriously… Plus Eid with all the goats that have been trotted around for their walks now trotting to a different destination…

During a different festival, there was a hilarious moment on a Skype call to get the background on a project. My buddy could hear the ever increasing decibel level. And this after all the windows, doors were firmly shut, curtains drawn and extra ‘sound proofing’ added! I was even using my noise cancellation headset so I could hear clearly…

My partner has railed against religions blasting music at ear bleeding levels. More than once he has burst out in exasperation with “Does louder equal a bigger d#@k?” (more…)

Cricket fever in Mumbai

Folks who know me well know that sports just isn’t my thing.

After decades in India, I have yet to be converted to a cricket fan.

So imagine the surprise that I… someone who doesn’t follow cricket landed up at a coveted T20 cricket match in Mumbai. The game was a few days ago when West Indies trounced England.

Tonight most of India will be glued to their TVs… tonight the fate of the India team will be decided… tonight I almost wish we still had cable… I may not have cricket fever but I’m curious to know what happens!

T20 England vs West Indies

T20 England vs West Indies, Wankhede Stadium

Other Sunday Snaps:

Aakash Odedra – Rising in Mumbai

Living with an actor means our lives are full of lots theatre, music but less of dance. Growing up in Winnipeg we had the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and  Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers… where I studied as a child. I love watching the art form and when there is someone truly talented taking to the stage, you can be completely transported.

While there are opportunities to see traditional forms of Indian dance, and Bollywood aplenty, the kind of modern dance I knew growing up rarely makes it to these shores.

Thanks to British Council, Sunday changed that. My friends and I reached St Andrews and wondered what we were about to get in to… the entire auditorium foyer was running amok with students from local dance schools. It felt like we were about to step into an amateur school show.

We were wrong. Completely wrong.

Held as a tribute performance for Aakash Odedra’s two dance guru’s, the show had four pieces – each unique, each remarkable in a distinctive way. (more…)

Confessions of a recovering academic

Once upon a time I flirted with becoming an academic. Perhaps a serious affair is a better way to describe it… but after a decade I had commitment issues.

Sure I loved teaching, I could even handle the hours of meticulously marking papers, gobbling up thick heavy tomes? No problem! Regurgitating papers and essays? Well… I would start by procrastinating then spew out content – sometimes with passion and sometimes merely intellectual curiosity.

You need to understand, the University of Manitoba (U of M) environment was where I grew up. I was a professor’s brat which meant the University was where I went to nursery school, where I learned to swim, where we went each summer to Mini University for ‘camp’, where I used to hop a bus from school to attend piano lessons… in short it was always home.

Photo: UManitoba.ca

Photo: UManitoba.ca

(more…)

Blowing bubbles over bikes in Bandra

Up next in our random posts about Bandra street art is this hallucinogenic pink wonder blowing bubbles over a couple of scooters.

This one is literally steps away from our flat smack dab in the middle of an old village that once upon a time sat on the edge of the water before Bandra Reclamation sprung up to weave together Bombay’s islands and support its greedily growing population. (more…)

Red carpet specimens

I will admit that our social calendar is often full.

Some are the normal live music shows, festivals, friends and family celebrations but peppered amongst these are ‘EVENTS’ (yes in caps) where they roll out the red carpet. Film and theatre premiers, _____ (insert brand, book, whatever) launches, etc. Where the point is to see and be seen – to have the shutter bugs snap and flash as guests enter.

For the first 40+ years of my life, such ‘EVENTS’ (yes those caps again!) were rarities rather than regular affairs. However the hazard of having a partner in ‘The Biz’ means these are a normal part of life in Bombay.

There are times at such ‘EVENTS’, I’m reminded of a short section in Fahad Samar’s book FlashPoint(more…)

Glorious Graffiti by Gomez

If you wander around Mumbai you will come across some pretty spectacular graffiti.

Particularly in Bandra’s Ranwar village, there are stunning examples of street art. Given traffic conditions, the best time to stroll along Chapel Road, Veronica and Waroda Road is on a lazy Sunday when people not vehicles rule the narrow lanes….

Which is why I’ve decided to feature on the occasional Sunday an image from many months (nay years!) of wandering and clicking a pic here and there. What you spotted yesterday may be fading today to replaced by something new tomorrow. The only constant is change… with multiple flashes of creativity unleashed for a moment or two.

One such initiative occurred late 2014 with the St.art Mumbai project that brought artists from around the world to India. (more…)

Sunday stroll on Juhu Beach

OK… I know it is mid-week not Sunday. However I also know we live near the sea yet for some strange reason it is rare to find us strolling by the water.

So we when we arrived on Sunday slightly early for a private preview of Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet, conveniently located at Sunny Villa in Juhu, I took the opportunity to wander along the beach and thought today to share some quick snaps.

For those not familiar with Mumbai’s Juhu beach, it is a weekend favourite for families, blushing couples, energetic adolescents and hawkers… one of the few places free to come out and play. There is a long stretch of sand with plenty of room to jog, play soccer, enjoy a picnic with a multitude of vendors catering to the crowds that grow until sunset the gradually slip away. (more…)

Personalising Bombay’s Paparazzi – Fahad Samar’s Flash Point

When you think ‘paparazzi‘, you think of mad shutter bugs hounding celebrities going about their everyday activities…

However Mumbai’s breed are rather more civilised. “Please sir… just one more sir! Thank you sir!”

Before I met my partner, I was completely oblivious of Mumbai’s paparazzi.

With him, I discovered there is often a warm symbiotic relationship between photographer and photographee. What isn’t captured on camera are the greetings by name, teasing exchanges and general camaraderie. (more…)

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