global travel shot: my best friend sends her season’s greetings

mountmary_basilica1

Did you have a good year? Was it placid and calm or one roller coaster ride? No matter which, it helps to have a friend to talk to. One you can unburden yourself to, without the “I told you so” or a bunch of preaching.

The lady above has been my closest friend since I moved to Mumbai. I have gone to her with tears rolling down my eyes, bursting at the seams with anger, and starry eyed, in love with every colour and nuance of life. I have had conversations with her where I have poured my heart out or just sat in stony silence, confused to the core with life’s mysterious incongruous ways. And at the end, before I left, I’ve looked at her face, and whispered “Thank you.” Thank you for listening and giving me whatever she felt was best for me.

To a non-believer she is merely a wooden statue of Mother Mary in The Basilica of Our Lady of The Mount, brought all the way from Portugal to Bombay in the 16th Century. To a believer she has miraculous healing powers. Continue reading

the 158-year-old whimsical parish church on pali hill, bandra: st. anne’s

st_anne_church1

This week I want to share with you a little gem in my neighbourhood in Mumbai.

I live in Bandra on a hillock called Mount Mary. Around me, literally, are an abundance of historical churches, of which three stand out. Across the road is St. Stephen’s Church built in 1845 by wealthy English entrepreneurs who made Bandra their home during the British Raj. A couple of hundred yards away is the legendary Roman Catholic Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount (1904), the locus of the Bandra Fair and a place of spiritual refuge and comfort for people of all faiths. Down the hill is Bandra’s oldest church which transposes one to Goa with its whitewashed Portuguese facade—St. Andrew’s Church—dating back to 1575.

And for long [in my case] and for many [including me] these three comprised the Christian heritage of Bandra. But there is more. There is always more! Continue reading

art focus – curated bandra street art walk – st+art mumbai

st+art_mumbai1a
If Bandra’s charm could be codified, I guess this would be it. Cats and silver leaves—collaborative mural by Anpu Varkey (India) and Tika (Switzerland).

So what happens when 20 internationally renowned street artists from all over the world, and two passionate people from Delhi get together and decide to bring the power of art as a medium of creative expression to the streets of India, free and accessible to all? St+art happens.

From the 7th to the 30th, this November, over 30 murals in Mumbai transformed, otherwise drab edifices, into vibrant thought-provoking compositions. Luckily for me, a bulk of them were painted in Bandra, my home in this city. 🙂 Continue reading

the prettiest church in bandra

ststephens_church1
Just across the road from where I stay is a quaint, whitewashed 19th Century Protestant Church with red shutters, exquisite stained glass windows, and wooden rafters holding up the ceiling. Just across the road is a little bit of England.

The St Stephen’s Church of the Church of North India Diocese of Mumbai, was built in 1845 by wealthy English entrepreneurs who had made Bandra their home during the British Raj. In the mid-19th Century, Bandra was but a small village with Kolis and Kunbis. To cater to ‘the spiritual needs’ of the British Protestant Christians in the area, the British parishioners got together and pooled in a then magnificent sum of Rs. 8,000. This was, however, not enough. John Vaupel, a high court judge at that time, pitched in with the balance. Continue reading

photo essay: the ‘un’hidden graffiti of bandra

chapelroad_graffiti8

i want to infest
the city with
trees.
free all the horses.
lay down
on the floor and
lick it.
cigarettes keep
burning.
so disturbing.
flames are
for candles only
he told me
let the grime exist
in my mind
~ TCC

A poem that recurs amongst the graffiti on Chapel Road… Continue reading

churches of bandra

mountmary_church4

5:30 a.m. and the Mount Mary Basilica opens its doors to the world with bells ringing from its grey stone clad towering twin towers. It’s a beautiful wake up call. Beats any alarm clock any day. 🙂

Bandra’s soul lies in its centuries-old Portuguese churches dotted around its four square kilometers. In the 16th Century, the Portuguese Jesuits were given ownership of Bandora, as it was then known, leading to six parish churches working zealously, right up to present times, towards meeting the spiritual and communal needs of its inhabitants. Continue reading