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Jodhpur stepwell… stumbling into history

Living in Delhi means stumbling across slices of history all the time. Walking from the rose garden to Haus Khaz, you could literally trip over evidence of past eras. It is a city built on many previous cities, harkening back to the 6th century BC.

Jodhpur clock

Jodhpur clock – Ghanta Ghar

Living in Bombay fast forwards to the 18th and 19th century. Once upon a time a series of islands, it was strung together during the British colonial period with most historic buildings hailing from that period. Want Victorian or Art Deco? Come to Mumbai!

Coming to Jodhpur, one expects to see the remarkable 14th century Mehrangarh Fort perched over the city, pass the clock tower (Ghanta Ghar) and visit stunning Umaid Bhawan palace.

What we didn’t expect was to accidentally come across an ancient stepwell… possibly around 1,000 years old or more.

Post our shopping, we headed to Raas Hotel to enjoy a late lunch. Our plan was to walk off our meal wandering around the area then return to Raas for sunset drinks against the backdrop of the Mehrangarh Fort.

Braving the late afternoon sun, we aimlessly strolled and heard the roar of a generator and something else… coming closer we discovered efforts to restore and clean this remarkable structure. (more…)

Heat, dust and… shopping! Jodhpur style

Yes – I opened Door No 1 and jumped on a plane to Jodhpur.

When folks think India, they have images of heat, dust, noise, colourful clothing, the shopping, palaces and forts. Jodhpur has that in spades!

Lucky me – my excuse for going to Jodhpur was to join my partner who is part of a film shooting there.

My first day, another member of the cast wanted to head out shopping. She had already sussed out a place that purports to do mostly bulk export trade with some local retail.

Now… I will admit… I’m not much of a shopper. Get me in and out quickly with whatever is needed and I’m a happy gal. Especially malls – shudder!

However there is something engaging about the more traditional trading banter… it was good fun joking, bargaining, swapping stories with the folks at this place.

Here goes a few photos from our shopping escapades… (more…)

Travel time! Door No 1, 2 or 3??

I booked a flight!

And there may be another one or two on the horizon.

All domestic.

All places I’ve been before.

Yet for each, it was long ago and the one constant in a country like India is change.

I can’t wait to board that plane… (more…)

Expat Focus on ‘Everyday Asia’ & AMWF advice

Check it out! Expat Focus featured Everyday Asia as a Top 5 Expat Blogs – India. For those not familiar with Expat Focus, it is a website that provides all sorts of resources for expats plus also features expat blogs and discussion forums.

They also just published an interview with me. Woo hoo!

Hello Mumbai

Hello Mumbai

Here’s a quick ‘cheat sheet’… for details read the full interview here:

  • Who the heck are you? Check out about
  • Where, when and why move? Travel tales… how I got hooked on going away!
  • What challenges did you face? Typical starving student stuff but all good fun
  • Other expats in your area? Originally almost none. Now oodles! In stumbling distance even…
  • What do you like / dislike about life where you are? Lots and nearly none 🙂
  • Biggest challenge? Eve teasing… the other side of my love affair with India
  • What advice would you give to someone following in your footsteps? Extract below…
  • What plans for the future? More of the same!

(more…)

Urban development – Gurgaon vs Manila

I’ve ramped up to a higher gear on the working to get work front (i.e. business development for a client)… which found me hoping on a plane last week to Delhi. Except this trip, I didn’t actually spend any time in Delhi.

Nope it was all Gurgaon for me baby!

Welcome to Delhi Airport

Welcome to Delhi Airport

Believe it or not, the first time my feet touched ground in Gurgaon, Haryana was 25 years ago. Yup! Back in the day when this massive, teaming, constantly growing city spawned outside of another megalopolis was merely a crazy idea with the first skeletal buildings starting to spring up in the middle of nowhere.

I was on a Shastri summer study abroad program and learning, amongst many other things, about India’s urban development plans. (more…)

Eid Mubarak!!!

For all my friends around the world who finally broke their fast – Eid Mubarak!!

There is no mistaking the joyous celebration that comes with Eid.

INDONESIA

A couple of years ago I was in Indonesia during Lebaran (Ramadan). I will never forget meeting a friend at a mall, lining up for food with the throngs. All places to sit were full, plates heaping with delicious smelling feasts.. with everyone waiting.. waiting… waiting for the ‘gong’ to signal the sun had set and it was time to break the daily fast.

During that period, I stayed in a penthouse apartment in the central part of Jakarta. I had the most amazing view of the non-stop fireworks that started in the build-up to Eid then an ear splitting crescendo that kept roaring back over and over in jubilant bursts all night.

INDIA

Back in Bandra, Mumbai, we live next door to a mosque. The call to prayers weaves its way into the daily fabric of our lives. So it was no surprise when the spattering of fireworks signalled it was finally time…

Even better. a friend from Karachi / London invited us to his mother’s home in Mumbai for the feast! It was a carnivores carnival of delight…

So to all my Muslim friends here (India), there (Indonesia) and all around the world – Eid Mubarak!!!

Celebration time!

Celebration time! (Islamicartdb.com)

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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…)

ABCD vs CBAD – “You don’t belong here!”

Most would have heard of American Born Confused Desi (ABCD)… but what about CBAD? Canadian Born Adopted Desi?

No one fits into a simple description. Country of origin and cultural heritage are just a couple of pieces of a very complex puzzle that makes up a person and then distinct people into a community.

I enjoy stories of others, like me, with a longer term embrace of a country other than the land of their birth. Beyond the traditional ‘expat’ is something else. In my case, if it was the reverse – India to Canada – I would be considered an ‘immigrant’. Comfortably settled into my ‘adopted’ country where my everyday ‘lingo’, cultural reference points, life experience and reality is… well… Indian.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I tried to join a forum for India bloggers. I’ve seen it featured on many blogs I enjoy so thought – why not give it a whirl?

Apparently I don’t belong. (more…)

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

What fun! This weekend was the ‘Indian Premier’ of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with a special viewing for cast n crew. (more…)

Silencing “India’s Daughter”

Quickly before yet another version of India’s Daughter was blocked, I watched the documentary lest I be tempted to comment on something without actually seeing it.

I needn’t have panicked I’d miss the opportunity… like rabbits, as soon as one is blocked, another link pops out of another YouTube hole.

Banning "India's Daughter" on YouTube

Banning “India’s Daughter” on YouTube

Social media and mass media alike are abuzz with reactions to the decision to not permit showing the BBC “India’s Daughter” documentary in India. And catapulted its viewing via YouTube in a way a mere airing on BBC TV alone could never have accomplished. (more…)

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