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Bombay: Exploring the Jewish Urban Heritage by Dr. Shaul Sapir

4 Feb

I read “Bombay: Exploring the Jewish Urban Heritage” by Dr. Shaul Sapir on the recommendation of a Swapbook friend, Aadil Desai. Aadil is an avid reader, collector of antique books, maps & collectibles and a Mumbai story-teller. He leads many walks around Mumbai and shares stories about the city, its history, architecture and culture. So when Aadil recommended this book there was no doubt in my mind that it was a must read.

Bombay: Exploring the Jewish Urban Heritage by Dr. Shaul Sapir

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The Bombay Balchão walk with author, Jane Borges and Swapbook in Mumbai

24 Jan

Walking around in Mumbai, especially in the older parts of the city, is like walking through a treasure trove of the city’s history. In some instances, these treasures are hidden, just waiting to be unearthed. But in many cases they are in plain sight and all you need to do is pay attention. I love exploring my own maximum city and whenever I am not traveling and have the time, I join a group or some friends to walk around some of Mumbai’s old neighbourhoods. On one such weekend I joined a group of friends from Swapbook and author, Jane Borges, as she took us on a quick tour of the various locations featured in her recently released book, Bombay Balchão – talking about the old Christian neighborhoods of South Mumbai, their history, culture and the people.

Dabul, an old Christian neighbourhood of South Mumbai, Maharashtra

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Best Travel Moments from 2014 (The Year of many Firsts’)

31 Dec

Bidding goodbye to any year is never without mixed feelings. On one hand there is an excitement about planning for the new year anticipating new possibilities and potential opportunities. While on the other, there is a sadness like bidding goodbye to a good friend (time!), who has been a constant companion through the year, seen us through life’s ups and its downs, taken us to new shores, helped us grow another bit and discover that one other aspect about ourselves which we didn’t expect to find.

Clouds in water, Shudu Lake, Potatso National Park, Shangri-La, China

Clouds in water, Shudu Lake, Potatso National Park, Shangri-La, China

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Street art, murals and graffiti in Dharavi, Mumbai

28 Dec

Anyone who has ever heard of Dharavi knows that its famous for being one of the largest slums in the world and the place to go for slum tours (for tourists!). But since November this year it has added another feather to its cap – its very own street art and graffiti. For this project, 20 internationally renowned street artists from all over the world (with different art styles and techniques) came together along with the St+Art Foundation and brought street art to select areas in Mumbai – mainly Bandra and Dharavi.

One of my favorite murals by Gomez

One of my favorite murals by Gomez

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My First Chinese Kunqu Opera – The Peony Pavilion

14 Dec

On my recent trip to China (in October this year), among the many must do things was “attending a Chinese Opera show”. But time and expected language limitations made me drop this one off my to-do list. So just imagine my excitement and surprise when I heard that one of the oldest forms of Chinese Opera was coming to India and that too, in Mumbai. And finally on Tuesday, my sister and I joined other theatre and cultural enthusiasts at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre of the NCPA to witness the Indian premiere of the legendary Kunqu Opera, The Peony Pavilion performed by the Northern Kunqu Opera Theatre. This was my first show at the Jamshed Bhabha theatre and I must say it is one of the best halls in Mumbai. The entire lobby is beautifully done with intricately carved marble staircases, chandeliers and pictures with background information on the opera all along the walls.

Shao Zheng as Liu Mengmei

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Photographing my way through Chor Bazaar (Thieves Market) in Mumbai

19 Feb

Mumbai has some interesting and unique nooks & corners, one of them being our local Chor Bazaar. “Chor” in Hindi means “thieves” and “Bazaar” means a “market”, hence literally translated “Chor Bazaar” means “Thieves Market”. Per Wikipedia this market is one of the largest flea markets in India and has a fascinating history. Apparently this market was originally called Shor Bazaar, meaning “noisy market”, but with British mispronunciation “shor” became “chor” and the name stuck. Eventually stolen goods started finding their way here and hence this market started living upto its name. These days Chor Bazaar is famous for all kinds of antique / vintage products and other interesting things ranging from clocks, all kinds of instruments, furniture, glassware, brassware, lamps, ceramics, Bollywood posters, ceramics, coins, miniature cars, etc etc. Basically its possible to find anything here from cute to bizarre to the regular. 🙂

All kinds of knick knacks

All kinds of knick knacks

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A walk down the heritage lane in Mumbai

20 Jan

As part of my “Mumbai Local” series, I am always on a look-out for Mumbai’s hidden nooks and corners, often the non-touristy parts of the city which we as residents either take for granted or don’t notice while going about our everyday lives. Recently I came across Raconteur Walks, a group of Mumbai enthusiasts who organize theme based walking tours around Mumbai and show people a new side of this city, that we call home.

The iconic VT Station, Mumbai

The iconic VT Station, Mumbai

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