Bandra, Mumbai

Very very India

Star and Superstar.

2009. The year Indian municipalities discovered the wall.

From Mumbai to Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar to Bangalore, 2009 saw the city authorities giving painters, people and graffiti artists permission to paint the walls.

In Bangalore, it was started as a way to stop film posters from being plastered on the walls. In Mumbai, it was to keep the Tulsi Pipe Road from returning to the stink hole it was. And in all places it was an attempt to showcase the city or the state or spread a message.

In Bangalore and Bhubaneshwar, the wall paintings are straight out of the Govt. Tourism Department brochures but they did manage to get some good artists from the art colleges. Luckily, Mumbai is different. Here people have been allowed the freedom to paint whatever they want. (Pictures of the Tulsi Pipe Road paintings by Surendra Chaurasiya)

The writing on the walls of these cities are clear. All over India, the governments are still stuck in the Pre Berlin Wall days. The days of Government control and censorship. They are afraid to let the people speak their mind out.

Luckily, Mumbai breaks that mould. Even if it is only few privileged ones who went to paint on Tulsi Pipe Road, the style for the paintings came from the poor gallis off D'Monte Street.


And across the border in Lahore. They have discovered the walls too.

NH 3 Chunnabhatti

Meet a couple of Indian Road Romeos and their dream Juliets.

Pazahveedu, Alapuzha

There was a time before when everything, including homes, were built mostly from wood.

And the best wood in the country was supposed to grow in Kerala. From homes to sea faring dhows, the wood from this verdant land was considered the best of the best.

These pictures are from one among millions of ordinary homes built with wood, in Kerala, in the mid 20th Century.

The couple who built this home.

Two generations later, like a piece of driftwood that has found its way back home, a granddaughter visits the old wooden home.

In Kerala, since independence, the first thing youngsters do as soon as they finish their education is leave.

This wooden house is from a time when the people put the picture of the nation's leader on their walls.

In the old days, this was the place where coarse ash from rice bran was hung in a pot, to be used as tooth powder. It's been replaced by tooth paste and brush.

Everything was made from wood. The grills, the window panes, everything. We used up enough wood to eat up most of our forests until wood became an expensive commodity. Today, the wood for our furniture come from Malaysia and South East Asia.

We are eating up their forests now.

Parel, Mumbai

People of Mumbai Series: Face in the crowd.

It's the main characters that make or break a movie or a television programme. But what happens in the background can be equally and sometimes even more interesting. Like the buildings and sets in the background that add to the storytelling becoming the recorded history of the times we live in.

Similarly, the character of the people who work as extras can tell a lot about the times we live in too (Remember the dancers behind Jitendra and Jayaprada in those Telugu movie remakes?).

This kid makes a few extra bucks when he is not at school working as an extra for movies, television programmes and commercials. He's a face in the crowd. He's represents 'us' in a movie by mimicking the motions of our life.


An 'A' Grade or young, good looking extra is paid about Rs. 1000/- a day. Depending on your looks, style, etc. the rates differ. The minimum rate is approximately Rs 300/- a day plus the breakfast, lunch or dinner on the sets (depending on the shift).


A few Mumbai movies to watch for what's in the background:
Jaane bhi do yaaron: For seeing the India of the early 80s. The Osibisa posters, etc.
Chalti ka naam gaadi: For seeing the streets of Bombay.
Bluffmaster (new): Mumbai during the monsoons, in a different light and not the usual angles.

Are there any other movies you like for the same reason?

Sion-Panvel Highway, Mumbai

The best seat to watch India from.

NH 4: South of Karad

Making idols was once a very profitable business and the moment you have thousands making them...

Dharwad Market

The silent clock at the heart of Dharwad Market.

This frozen clock pretty much explains Dharwad. It's a a town that is instantly like-able and it's no surprise that it has a special place not just among the people of Karnataka but the Government of Karnataka too. According to locals, the Government is always trying to build a bigger, modern Dharwad by giving it universities, colleges, government offices, etc. But it's the twin in the plains - Hubli, that grows. And that's because it is a railway terminus and a better road 'junction', geographically.

RV Road, Bangalore

A message from another age, in another country, survives in Bangalore.

Shivajinagar, Bangalore

Snuff sellers.
They do exist.

SR: Trivandrum - Bangalore Express


Blue, night light. Upper Berth. Sleeper Class.

NH 4 (Bangalore-Pune Road Pit Stops)

Fresh and Local: Tender coconuts near Shamannur Cross, North of Davangere, Karnataka.

Fresh and local. 'Oos ka juice' south of Islampur Textile SEZ. (Oos - Sugarcane in Marathi)

Not so local: McD. Surmai from Cochin. Chicken from Pune (?). Lettuce from Ooty. Tomato and Aloo from Punjab. Buns from Navi Mumbai (?).

Also, In Maharashtra, McDs have one single board in Devanagari script. This one is in Kolhapur.

Opp. Sangam Theatre, Dharwad

Sree Laxmi Savji Khanavali.

In the South of Karnataka, they are called 'Mess', Kerala Mess, Andhra mess, Bangla Mess, North Karnataka mess, etc. But in Dharwad and Bombay-Karnatak, they are called Khanavali, like Khanavals of Mumbai and Maharashtra.

Like the Mess and Khanavals, they provide cheap and often home-like food to migrants and students. People who don't have a kitchen at home. After all, Dharwad is a city where education is one of the major activities or business. It's home to the university, several colleges and students from all over India.

The Khanavali above serves a unique biryani. Its taste will take you to the city of Mahalakhsmi and hot spicy cuisine - Kolhapur which lies 3 hours to the north, across the border in Maharashtra.

SR: Kayamkulam Jn.

Travelling Salesman

Vashi, Thane Dist.

Gandhi Jayanti 2009. A procession to promote eye donation.

NH 4 - Hubli + Off Old Bazaar Street - Dharwad

Concrete monks on 9 planets. NH 4 Hubli

A traditional place of worship, Dharwad.

They pretty much explain the difference between Hubli and Dharwad.

Opp. Sangam Theatre, Dharwad

Sri Durga Prasanna Tea Club... right next to New Vimal Egg Rice Centre which is next to Vimal Kabab Corner. And they are run by brothers who have divided the menu between themselves so that they do not compete with each other.

Line Bazaar, Dharwad

An old Thakur watches time go by at the Babusingh's Thakur sweet shop.

Don't Say Dharwad Peda. Please Say Thakur's Peda.

Dharwad's old market probably has the largest concentration of sweet shops than any other place in Karnataka. And they all sell Dharwad's signature sweet, the Dharwad Peda too.

It's a very competitive business - selling Dharwad Peda. And most shops sport the name - Misra Peda. Misras seem to have more branches than I could count and on every main and patli galli. However, the locals swear that the best Peda comes from Babusingh's Thakur original sweet store which is actually an old house called Thakur's Building, off Old Bazaar. There's a queue outside the store at all times and on some days, they ration the sweets and sell only 500 gms to each customer.

However, the Misras seem to be the more enterprising of the two families and are stealing all the eyeballs with branches not only in the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad but in far away Benglur as well. However, the Thakurs are not giving up without a fight. A slogan on their sweet boxes have the following slogan - Don't Say 'Dharwad Peda', Please Say 'Thakur Peda'.

Off Shubas Road, Dharwad

Dharwad Market.

Over the next few days I will be bringing you little things I noticed in the better half of a twin city called Hubli-Dharwad, Karnataka's second most important urban area after Benglur. When I say that I noticed, it's strictly about the images. The things were mostly pointed out to me by a friend from school called Sam who is married to a Dharwarkar and who took me around the market when we went shopping for groceries. I spent an evening there with his wonderful family on my way to Mumbai from Benglur.

Today's pictures show the currency notes that the shopkeepers of Dharwad display at their counters. Many shopkeepers have a collection of international currency notes on display like in this chicken shop inside the vegetable market. The collector of currency notes and coins at this shop is the old man, Mian Shaik's son.

Jubilee Circle, Dharwad. Karnataka

Slogan on the wall: Art. The universal language.

The art teachers in Dharwad were protesting against the withdrawal of art education in Karnataka schools and this graffiti was a response to that action. It's an interesting location. Jubilee Circle is just a stone's throw away from Fr. Kittel's Basel Mission compound which is very important in the history of the Kannada language. Fr. Kittel compiled the first Kannada-English Dictionary and has a special place in modern Karnataka history.

Kayamkulam Junction

Parallel parking.

Kayamkulam Junction (KYJ)

Alight here for the Hugging Godwoman Mata Amritanadamayi's aka Amma's ashram (poster in the background). And the shopkeeper's frown is not because I'm poking a camera into his shop. That's a permanent expression many shopkeepers in Kerala seem to have. The petty bourgeois smile.

NH47. Punnapra, Alapuzha Dist.

When in Kerala, ride like Keralites do.

Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple

Lord Krishna Blue.

He opened his mouth
to reveal the universe
Then lifted the roof
to reveal his favourite colour


Sai Bandana.

The prefix Sai adorns everything that can be named in North Western Maharastra. Sai This, Sai That and Sai Everything. The devout claim that it brings good luck and wards of evil. And it's good to see a shrine where religion, caste, colour and creed doesn't matter.


Blogger news



Blogger templates