Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy Diwali!
I went to Mangesh's house in Khar-Danda last night for Diwali. We lit some fireworks and ate lots of sweets from his neighbors, all of whom had different powdered decorations on their doorstep.

But the best part is that we decided to go to Mangesh's village in Maharashtra today! I can't wait to go.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Dharavi Tours

I took a guided tour (controversial, but highly recommended) through Dharavi, which is known as "Asia's Largest Slum."

However deplorable this place must have been, particularly during the communal riots of 1993, Dharavi today is relatively well developed (for a slum). Yes, living spaces are incredibly cramped, working conditions tend to be pretty deplorable, and there is virtually no waste management. But people do not seem destitute--almost everyone seemed employed. Industries range from plastic recycling to pottery to pastries.

The Recycling is quite impressive. In many ways, the combination of Bombay's poverty and trash-filled streets seems to lead to an efficient system of re-use and recycling. Ragpickers sell bags of plastic to recyclers, which grind it up, wash it, dry it, and melt it down again for plastic manufacturers. I took a panorama from the roof of a recycling 'factory,' take a peek in hi-res.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Ganpati!

This week is Ganpati, the celebration of everyone's favorite elephant-god, Ganesha. I strongly encourage you to enter the heaven at this devotional website where you can light some candles for Ganesh and do a virtual pooja.

This is the week when millions of Mumbaikers will take enormous statues of Ganesh and immerse them into the sea. Some are nearly 40ft tall!

I don't have any videos of this YET, but I did put together a video from Krishna's Birthday Celebration 2 weeks ago.

The video also features my first motorcycle ride in Bombay, a truck that is filled with more people than live in most apartment buildings, and ... DEVOTIONAL GLITTER GRAPHICS!! I love glitter graphics on myspace, and who knew they would achieve sacred status? When I was living in the hotel Shubhangan, I used to love watching this devotional television channel, though it would come on only after midnight. Honestly beautiful, though definitely smile inducing to westerners.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Street Tattoo

Now if you really love heavy metal, what better way to show it than to get a tattoo? (Or a blood-bourne pathogen, for that matter...?)

There were tons of these tattoo ladies at the Bandra Street Fair (which is right outside my house, and involves tens of thousands of people). Their tattooing device was powered by a chain of 6 D-Cell batteries that had been taped together.

Then thousands of Hindus and Catholics ascend the steps to Mount Mary Cathedral where they say a prayer and burn a candle. They buy candles to burn in the shape of their prayer--everything from body parts, babies, rickshaws, and airplanes.

And this kid was selling bubbles for rs5, in the form of old film canisters filled with soap water with a wire twist as bubble wand.

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Electronics Shopping in the Monsoon

Already missing Bryant and Shibin (who left last night), I've posted a video of us shopping for the electronics of the Sewing Machine Mobile Phone Charger. This was down on Lamington Road, which is composed entirely of small, random electronics stores. So bazaar! ;)

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Monday, September 3, 2007

Commuting in the Monsoon

I thought you would like to see what our commute is like in the morning. Not only is it way better than NYC gridlock, but I also think it would beat most Disney rides in terms of adventure and adrenalin.

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