Showing posts from May, 2013

Lady Frere's Shrine

It is often said that the modernization of Bombay began under the regime of Sir Bartle Frere, who as the Governor of Bombay transformed the island city with a natural harbour inhabited by merchants into a splendid and populous city. It is often said that this period of Bartle Frere was the most important period for the modernization of the city. One of the few good things that the British did for the city was construct these beautiful public edifices and structures that rendered the city of Mumbai in natural beauty. These buildings which would later contribute to the permanent convenience and a shade of legacy that would encourage tourism in the long run. 
The general architecture in Bombay had been seen as a standing reproach. The beauties and noticeable features were due to the "bounty of nature" and people had hardly done anything to enhance its beauty by constructing stately buildings or erecting statues. While insisting upon the necessity of sculpture Bartle Frere said t…

100 Years of Wisdom

This year 2013 marks the 100 years of Indian cinema. Movies empower audiences with the ability to visualize new scenarios and even new places. Together, we recognize that movies have been an integral part of the social milieu of Indian society. The past 100 years have had its fair share of learning that anyone could take home after watching a movie. As we celebrate 100 years, it would only be fair to say that they have certainly left an indelible mark on the history of celluloid. Here are the some top lessons that Hindi cinema has taught us over the past century:
* Indian airport security is sensitive to the demands of young boys and girls who wish to propose to the girl of their choice at the boarding gate. 
* Guns do not kill people. They just make them drunk, groggy and angrier.
* Reincarnations are essentially clones of the same person born even after their "death" .
* All the thoughts of a person's mind are narrated loudly by an invisible celestial fairy
* Hot girls give…

The Elephant of Elephanta

Few visitors who make it to Mumbai as tourists would possess the curiosity to pause and look for antiquities. In the absolutely time-starved rapid pace of Mumbai, there are many things we seem to ignore and fail to acknowledge the opportunity of observing many happenings around us. While many places in Mumbai have been described several times, the accounts of the lesser known places are hardly known.

The island of Gharapuri, which is nine nautical miles away from the Mumbai Harbour was renamed as "Elephanta" by the Portuguese from the life-size figure of an elephant built from an isolated mass of trap-rock, which formerly stood in the lower part of the island, not far from the present-day jetty. Many locals know that the elephant is no longer there and is often believed to have disappeared by the forces of nature. However, the elephant stood as a sea-mark and remained there till around 1864 when on the suggestion of Mr. W.E. Frere, it was to be relocated to a museum in London…

Elephanta Caves

It has often been said that most towns and cities somewhere have buried treasures. A layer of concealed earth whose natural outlines and waterways continue to shape the area's history even as the hills diminish due to quarrying or the valleys being silted with the rubble of successive buildings. Thus, in most towns and even cities, the basic material of the landscape is still perceptible to the interested eye, which is carefully moderated and cleverly disguised rather than totally transformed. It is still possible to unearth distinctive features of the 18th century that lie hidden beneath the 21st century one and below that again, a rural settlement from which the 18th century town grew.

Thus, a historically minded visitor can seek to trace the lost pattern of the islands that the British inherited as a dowry. If a visitor wants to see a brief vision of this past, one should take an hour's trip from the Gateway of India in Mumbai to the off-shore Elephanta Islands, locally know…

David Sassoon Clock Tower

One of the first things that strikes anyone about Mumbai is its overwhelming pace. It does not have to be so. Contrary to what you might think, the city does have its own rhythm that takes a little while to hear; its a complex but melodious flute that allows one to tap the music that all of Mumbai seems to know. Yet, we don't. Hence, why not stop and allow ourselves some time to learn and appreciate the city's chiming pulse? 

The David Sassoon Clock Tower which is located at the entrance of the Jijamata Udyan in Byculla is an illustrious addition to the heritage of Mumbai. The original architects of this clock tower were Messrs Scott, McClelland and Company. The cost incurred for the construction of the clock tower was a princely sum of Rs. 30,000 which was entirely borne by the Jewish businessman David Sassoon. The style of the clock tower is Italian measuring 12 square feet at the base and rising to  about 75 feet in height. The base plinths are firmly cast in trap stones whi…

Book Review: Durbar

Book: Durbar

Author: Tavleen Singh

Pages: 312

Publisher: Hachette India

The process of mapping the growth of a country has seen a decline to a point where we do not have many books that talk about the political scenario between 1975 and 1991 from an insider's point-of-view. Hence, Tavleen Singh's book "Durbar" is an extremely interesting book. Tavleen Singh is one of India's most experienced political journalists with a career spanning nearly three decades and having covered virtually all the major events that went on to shape India's political history and future between 1975-1991. 

The fact that we are in a country where Indian politicians slap a police official when caught driving on the wrong side of the road, it is not hard to guess that the concept of rulers and the ruled are coming back. Hence, there is little surprise when the most brazen law-breakers go on to become "law-makers" even as we continue to renew our faith in parliamentary democracy. …