Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kandivali Durga Puja - Thakur Village Bangiya Pratisthan

By far the best of the 3 Durga Pujas we checked out @ Kandivali ... This one is in Thakur Village on the right side of the Western Express highway as you approach Kandivali from Andheri.

Chandrabindu one of the more well known bengali rock bands was the attraction for the evening and we stayed on for a few numbers and also gorged on some neat egg-chicken rolls from the snack stalls.

However the rockstar of the evening was one of the committee members who was the stand-in master of ceremonies, though a stand-up comedian would be a more accurate description. Check out what he had to say while announcing the winners of the children's painting context which probably had been organized earlier in the day, "Abhi hum us bacchon ka naam bulayega jo bade hokar bada bada artist aur painter banega. Yeh bachcha sab humara bada dada se upohar lega. Hum aap logo ko anurodh karta hai ki jaise jaise mai bachcha ka naam bolega aap sab jor jor se taali dekar us bachcha ko protsahit karega !!! **" Needless to say the audience was in splits by then ...

**Loose translation for folks who dont know bong+hindi ( we need to have a name for this lingo ... just like "hinglish" is the unique combo of hindi+english ) ... unfortunately the humour is always lost in translation, "Now I will announce the names of the kids who will grow up to become famous artists and painters. The kids will collect their awards from our big brother ( refering to the president of the committee ). When I announce the names I request you to clap loudly to encourage the kids".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Powai Durga Puja 2009

The Pandal near Hiranandani @ Powai is a replica of Konark Temple. Its a few hundred meters from our home so this is where we're offering pushpanjali and having the all important bhog.

Lots of options ( on the food front ) in the evenings ... in fact Bijoligrill, a well known Kolkata based caterer ( mom says they'd done the catering for her wedding ) has set up a counter here. Tried out the fish-fry the other night, priced at 100 bucks the price seemed a bit steep but it was really scrumptious ... planning to try out the biryani tonight. One of my rants has aways been the lack of authentic biryani in Mumbai ... lets see if Bijoligrill lives up to its reputation :-)
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chakala crossing choked

With the mumbai metro WIP there's a perpetual traffic snarl at the chakala crossing ... Painful ...

Monday, September 21, 2009

From Russia with Love


Moscow is a surprisingly beautiful city ( even beyond the Red Square ) with a distinctive architecture ... specially the skyscrapers commissioned by Stalin ... you see them and you know you are in Moscow. 

Then there is the Moscow metro famous for its exquisite beauty ... apparently the communists created them as the underground "people's palaces" and did not spare any extravagance, quite in contrast with the spartan quarters they allocated to the people to live in.

Just returned from a business trip to Moscow ... managed to check out some of the major landmarks in the evenings ...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Getting ready for Durga Puja 09 at Powai !!!

The Hiranandani Durga Puja is now a stone's throw from our new home and this is where we'll spend most of our time this year ... the pandal is getting ready ...

This year again we'll not be going to Kolkata for Durga Puja ... but this time both Baba & Ma are visiting ... and with the learnings from last year's pujas we should have a great time !!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hills on the right and the left ...

Powai Hills ( above left ) in front of our apartment complex ... and there are these highrise apartment blocks on the other side.

Wonder which was the inspiration for the name of our apartment complex "Gundecha Hills" ... the natural ones or the man made concrete hills.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Morning walk @ Juhu Beach


Early mornings are the best time to visit the Juhu Beach ... you have the beach almost to yourself and can contemplate the rolling waves and the changing times in peace ...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Surviving Mumbai Locals


Morning crowd building up on Andheri station bridge, Vada-Pao stall on Platform2 Andheri, A relatively empty train on Platform3 Andheri, A local pulls up at Grant Road station

One needs to survive the Mumbai local trains in order to survive in Mumbai ...

Thankfully over the years my personal dependence on this most important of Mumbai's lifelines has gradually diminished ... but there was a time when I was one of the 6.6 million daily commuters !!! No other urban railway system in the world handles ( or is capable of handling ) such mind-boggling numbers. 

In the peak hours, there are trains every 90 seconds, each packed with 6000+ people vs capacity of 1500. People spilling out of the doors and somehow hanging on with a toehold somewhere is common sight ... the chilling statistic here is that more than 3500 people die annually due to local train mishaps. 

That was the gory part ... so what makes these locals indispensible ??? Mumbai is a linear city with the business district concentrated at the southern tip and suburbs mushrooming northwards. As a result traffic is primarily uni-directional ... in the morning there is a mad rush southwards and viceversa in the evenings. Roads are perennially clogged and the only way to get to work is on the local trains ... 

So you get the drift ... you need to work to survive in Mumbai and to get to work you need the local trains :-)

I used the local train last week after ages as I had some work @ Napean Sea Road and had to get back to my Andheri office before lunch time for some urgent meetings ... the local train was the only way I could be sure I'd make it on time ... so I parked the car in the office and took the 8.20 Fast from Andheri to Grant Road ... and was back well in time for my meetings at noon !!!

Couple of tips here : 

1) If you're new to Mumbai / have not mastered the art of boarding locals ... plan to take originating trains, if necessary travel for a few stations in the opposite direction ( at any point trains in the oppostite direction will be relatively empty ) to get to a station from where there are originating trains ... In Andheri there are always trains which go to Churchgate and start from Platform 2. 
2) Buy a vada-pao from the platform vendors before boarding your train ... gives you instant energy and these are the yummiest vada-paos in Mumbai.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Bengali Sweets in Mumbai

I dont think I have a "Sweet Tooth" as such but then you cant keep a bong away from his beloved ilish and mishti for long. After all we bongs live to eat ...

So when the urge to dig into a nolen gurer shondesh, kheer kodombo or mishti doi+rosogolla gets really strong ( and it happens about once in a couple months ) "Sweet Bengal" is where we head off to ... the only joint in Mumbai where you get authentic Bengali sweets.

There are quite a few branches ... the nearest to our home is the one @ 1st Floor Galleria Mall, Hiranandani - Powai and others on JP Road Andheri West, Napean Sea Road ( pictures above ), Inorbit Mall-Malad etc ... The quality and taste is consistently amazing and the ambience is pleasantly bengali with Jamini Roy prints, copies of Desh & Sananda for sale ... The salesmen are usually bongs themselves and once they make out you are bong will give you a nice toothy smile and start chatting in bong and urge you to have the extra mohan bhog or plate of rosomalai ...

Getting tempted to go and have some koraishutir kochuri and chhannar shingara today ...