It was such a great coincidence that we arrived in India at the beginning of one of the biggest festivals in Bombay; the Ganesh festival, known in India as Ganesh Chaturthi. It’s 11 days of dancing in the streets, handfuls of colored powders being thrown in the air and an endless processional of loud drums. It’s an annual celebration of the birthday of Lord Ganesh. Each neighborhood builds their own enormous Ganesh statue, housed in a fantastic temporary shrine for all the locals to come and pay homage. The 11 days of celebration culminates in the dismantling of each shrine and a countless number of parades begin carrying the larger than life statues of Lord Ganesh to the nearest ocean, where they are immersed. For Bombay,Read More
I have now completed my third round trip to India, with each round trip totaling 38 total flying hours. Over the course of my three trips, I’ve learned a thing (or ten) about how to make the in-flight experience a bit more comfortable and how to fight off jet lag as much as possible. Here is a list of traveling tips, from items I never travel without, best ways to avoid jet lag, to ways to stay looking fresh when you land.Read More
This will be my last post from Bombay (for this trip). It’s been a wonderful month. For me personally, it has been the best India trip so far. Mainly because I have learned more of the language (Punjabi with my family and Hindi for around town) and found the courage to talk as much as I could with my family and the Bombay locals. This is a big step for me as for the six years I’ve spent on and off trying to learn Punjabi and recently a bit of Hindi, I’ve always shied away from speaking in public. However I had nothing to worry about. People always seem impressed that I was attempting to speak the local language and overlooked my child-like speech. One of the best experiences and yet most challenging was spending the first twoRead More
One of the joys of living in Bombay, is that even if you only make a modest income, you can still live like royalty. How is this possible? Well, due to the fact that there are so many people in this city, the jobs need to be divided up. This means there is quite literally a job for everything. Yes, I do mean absolutely everything. There is one man who sells the fruit and another who sells the vegetables. Another man delivers the milk. There is one store for the grains and wheat but you have to take them down to another shop to grind the wheat into flour.Read More
We have been walking around the narrow alleyways and crowded noisy streets of Bombay almost everyday. As a result of our daily strolls I have an incredible amount of wonderful pictures, from locals to the vegetable seller and popular chai maker who always seems to have a line at his tiny stand. As I looked through my array of photos, I was struck by the pops of color that a humble neighborhood holds, from the saris to a stunning blue wall, even the food. Join me on a photo tour of our teeming neighborhood and enjoy the energy and color of Bombay.
On my first trip to India I was told I would see lots of things I had never seen before: a ridiculous amount people cramped into one place, cows freely roaming the streets, colors, culture, high society, the slums, great food and the scariest driving I would see anywhere in the world. I surely had seen enough in the 30 minute drive from the airport to our home to give me a good amount of culture shock, but for some reason it was only once I was shown the shower, that I was finally hit with an overwhelming sense of feeling out of place. Why would a shower have such a stronger effect on me than anything else? Good question, but I think it’s because I was shown this…Read More
It’s official. I have finally celebrated Diwali in India. What a busy few days it has been. There are still two more days of the official five day festival, but I think the last two days are a little low key than the first three days. Although as I write this there are still firecrackers popping and exploding outside my window.
My first experience of Diwali was full of activity, close to exhaustion at times, but always fun. I have a feeling my experience was a bit more involved than is usually celebrated by my Indian family and friends, in an effort to give me a great first impression. Here is my round up of the festivities.Read More
Yesterday was the second day of Diwali and we celebrated by attending a banquet hosted by the company Hubby’s father works for. The banquet was held under typical Indian colored canopies with long tables of seemingly endless food, from appetizers, street food favorites, to entrees and desserts. I enthusiastically snapped pictures of all the caterers frying and cooking every dish. I think I held up the buffet line quite a bit but it was worth it! There’s always a danger at these large banquets to eat too much so I just had a little sampling of everything. I came away feeling full but not too overwhelmed. I bravely tasted unknown dishes including a curd rice served in a lotus leaf.Read More
The streets of Bombay are buzzing with preparations for the Diwali festivities. Diwali, or the “festival of lights” is a five day celebration, with the third day as the official date of Diwali, coming up this Wednesday (Oct. 26, 2011). Shops are packed with shoppers and filled with piles of tiny candles, colorful lanterns, bags of decorative powders and endless amounts of streamers and twinkling lights. I can’t help but think of Christmas when I see all the lights hung over shops and doorways. in many ways Diwali is much like Christmas. It’s the biggest holiday of the year, everyone throws parties and goes shopping for shiny new outfits to be worn on Diwali and gifts areRead More
Hubby and I must have caught a cold on the flight to India, as we were both coughing nonstop with stuffed up noses and a bit of a fever. We headed to see the family doctor who has been overseeing the family’s health for more than twenty years. It’s quite a long commute to see this doctor. You have to walk all the way down the stairs and walk down the side of the building two entire doors in order to reach the doctor’s office. That’s right, the doctor’s office is located in the same building on the first floor. If that wasn’t easy enough, there is no need to call and make an appointment. Unlike calling the doctor’s office in America, where if I ever fall sick, or am struck with some overwhelming injury, I am told “the soonestRead More
This last week has been all about adjusting. Waking up early in the morning, trying to get over jet lag and adjusting to the slower pace of life here in Bombay. It may seem strange to say the pace of life in a city of 21 million is slow, but life seems to slow down when you are removed from the daily distractions back home. My days are filled with waking up at 7 AM, enjoying a hot cup of chai with a few tea cookies, or biscuits as they are called here. Then a morning trip to the temple with Mummy-ji around 7:30 AM. Back home for another cup of chai and a plate of aloo parathas for breakfast. Then my day is spent reading a book, studying up on some more Punjabi or lounging under the fan.Read More
I figured some of you might like to see where we are staying for the next few weeks. Hubby’s family lives on the fourth floor of a large multiple building apartment complex called “Takshila”. Their apartment looks down onto the busy street below. On a hot day the whole family lounges in the master bedroom, where you can open the window for the best cross-breeze and hear the never-ending high-pitched honking of the taxis and tiny rickshaws on the street below.
I call the honking the “music” of Bombay. If I ever wake up in the middle of the night from jet-lag, I can usually judge what time it isRead More
Our month-long adventure in India begins with traveling a marathon of 24-hours. The flight itself is 22-hours including a three hour layover in Dubai Airport. Add in an hour commute to the airport and arriving 90 minutes early to get our bags checked in and the whole experience takes about a full day. Fortunately the flight itself is a fun experience. We now fly Emirates Airlines, recommended by frequent India travelers as one of the best airlines to fly with. The cabin is luxurious, with televisions at every seat and a significant amount of room to lower the back of the chair. The food is freshly made and flavorful. They even serve you chocolates and about any type of drink you could want. Hubby and I indulged in a few sweets and we each had our fair share of mango juice.Read More
On my first trip to India, Hubby and I traveled to Punjab, a small state in northern India where his mother and father grew up and where the majority of Hubby’s family still lives in a small rural village in the district of Ropar. Ropar is a farming community and during my time there I got to tour the family farm which included eight buffaloes (used mainly for their milk), endless green fields of winter vegetables and more colorful peacocks than I had ever seen in my life.Read More