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Aspirations of becoming a ‘zamindar’… sort of…

When you have spent your entire adult life in rented homes and apartments, owning your own little slice of property is a dream.

Living in India with my current status means there are considerable hurdles to ownership, however as an Indian citizen, my husband can.

Right from when we met, he was looking at land outside Mumbai… after a few near hits, misses and – let’s face it swindles – it seemed at long last we  found our little slice of heaven on the road from Mumbai to Goa.

Our ‘blue room’ aka study/guest room

Until our landlord threw a spanner into the works!

He has regretfully given us notice… our beloved Bandra home will be sold over the next 2-3 months.

Very kindly, he’s given us the 1st opportunity to buy it… knowing that after nearly six years, the building society is happy with us and even the secretary keeps urging us “Ask your landlord to sell to you!” 

We also know what to expect… cognizant that every decade or less, there will be upheaval as infrastructural repairs take place. We’d be only too happy to remain.

Alas, his expectations are double our current capacity and yet, with his announcement, we halted our plots and plans for land outside Mumbai to shift focus completely to our backyard.

A rare remaining Bandra bungalow… naturally 100 times outta our league…

To make an interesting discovery…

What was once completely out of our reach has now become a difficult but not impossible.

Thanks to demonetization, home purchases can be made with ‘white’ money.

Thanks to GST and further slowing of the economy (no matter what may be said publicly, this is the case!), prices have come down considerably.

And biggest surprise to us both, free-lancers like ourselves may actually be eligible for a modest mortgage… as banks are crying out for ‘assets’.

So… if anyone knows of a decent 2BHK (translation 2 bedroom, hall, kitchen with 2 bathrooms) anywhere in Bandra West, East, Khar and even a bit beyond… let us know!

And don’t laugh at our budget… it is small but sincere.

PS – Turns out it was a ‘false alarm’! No sooner had we decided against buying, found a new flat, were about to sign the lease… our landlord decided NOT to sell after all. Given our overall comfort in our current abode, hassle and expense of moving, we’ve decided to accept his change of heart and renew for another three years. Our aspirations remain unquenched… just now back to our original plan to get a wee plot of land in the country.

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Garbage bricks? In Bandra

Years ago a Turkish diplomat getting ready to leave India shared that one thing he would not miss about Mumbai was the constant cacophony of the crows.

I was puzzled as this was not an issue for me… at the time I lived in Kalina. While there were birds a-plenty, crows weren’t specifically a problem.

Til we moved to Bandra.

That’s where the fun began.

And I remembered the crow comment… Oh how I remembered his genuine frustration at the constant, relentless cawing… What trouble they were getting into homes, garbage… the nuisance and nonsense of these feathered devils.

It was a frustration I began to share.. particularly as we have several crows who have adopted our building.

bandra-crow

One does get used to all sorts of noises and sounds, so after time, the cawing simply blended into the noises that make everyday life here.

However there is another aspect to the equation.

The humble garbage bin.

Why you may ask is this at all relevant?

Because in addition to the sharp cawing, this is a further element of angst with these scavengers.

They LOVE garbage. They LOVE even more making a mess of things. All your unmentionables strewn about for all and sundry to see… Our building crows boldly open bins to unearth your hidden edible treasures.

Enter the brick to the rescue.

In my climb up the stairs I discovered a simple yet smart way adopted by several neighbours to combat the crow garbage scourge!

bandra-garbage-brick

Just like the odd cones on our building pipes that keep the rats and mice away, a simple brick on top of the garbage bin makes it sufficiently challenging to the crows.

Voila! Garbage crow deterrent!

Now I gotta go get me a brick!!

Other Sunday Snaps:

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…)

Bagel Shop ‘Adda’ in Mumbai

The concept of an ‘adda’ in India is broadly a gathering of people in prolonged conversation. What primarily comes to mind when I hear this word is a group of guys in Kolkata in animated earnest debate, perhaps over a cup of chai collected by the side of a road.

In Mumbai, you can indeed find pockets of the ‘adda’ culture and my partner can often be found hanging out at his ‘office’ aka The Bagel Shop

So often that it is well known which table is ‘his’ and there is even a photo  next to ‘his’ table with a quote from him about the Bagel Shop being his ‘adda’.

2016-01-30 Denzils Adda

Any local hang-out spot near you where you can count on a good conversation?

Other Sunday Snaps:

Big B in Bandra

India’s greatest superstar of all time remains the “Big B.”

For those who never heard of Bollywood (is that possible?), Amitabh Bachchan, is the ‘angry young man’ who took Hindi films by storm in the 1970s and 80s. Who made “Kaun Banega Crorepati” (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?) the ONLY show you heard blaring from every single home, with streets deserted so all and sundry could be glued to the TV set. Who remains film royalty even in his 70s.

Amitabh Bacchan (Aug2013)

Part of the Bollywood Art Project, this image can be found strolling along the bi-lanes of Bandra.

Other Sunday Snaps:

We have our home back!!

I cannot even begin to describe the amazing pleasure it is to FINALLY have our home back! No lingering construction work, no workers crap cluttering our balcony, no walls waiting for plastering, no unfinished painting to be done. Nada!!

The work only began on our building in March 2015. And was only supposed to take 2-3 months. Hmmm….

We aren’t yet truly ‘home free’ as work continues on other flats so we still contend daily with the whir and whine, pound and bang, however our home is blissfully worker free. And back to normal!! (more…)

Vienna Store’s Elephant Sized Surprise

Once upon a time there was a humble store on Hill Road in Bandra, Mumbai, India.

Then along came an artist who transformed it into a great big happy blue elephant! Festooned with red, this pachyderm attracts smiles from passerbys.

Vienna Store

Vienna Store, Bandra, Mumbai

A young friend recounted the tale how excited she was to check out this amazing quaint little place.

And what exactly is it? A cheerful cafe? A cute curio shop? An artful daycare?

Nope!

It sell eggs. As in wholesale eggs. As in cartons and cartons of eggs. That’s it.

They say not to judge a book by its cover but… in this case one can be forgiven for not instantly connecting elephants with eggs!

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Christmas Concert to get the merriment on!

Back in Canada, there would be no escaping all the Xmas bombardment of advertising, buying frenzies and more. There would also be a niece and nephew to spoil too!

Even last year when I was in Europe, the signs of the season abounded even in early November.

A couple weeks ago in Singapore, the Christmas spirit was ‘kick-started’ with a delightful evening with friends decorating their tree! In CBD the streets were lit and Christmas trees in most buildings.

Whereas back home in Mumbai, it’s been a bit… well.. quiet. It used to be that good old Catholic Bandra would be bursting with lights, nativity scenes and more. Has every Sandra from Bandra escaped to Canada, UK, Dubai and other shores?? (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…)

It never ends… shrug and sigh…

For those just tuning in… our building in Bandra is undergoing structural repairs. This is the latest instalment of our ongoing experience!

Ding dong! The doorbell rang and a mumbled “Close your windows” was delivered quickly before the worker moved on to the next flat to repeat the message.

It has become such a regular request, we essentially have shut ourselves in as you never know when falling debris will come tumbling down. We have more than one cracked window now too. This is all just part of life now… (more…)

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