Benjamuna's Blog

Stories…. with a touch of India….

Murals in Mahim February 14, 2023

Filed under: INDIA,Travels — benjamuna @ 11:52 am
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Mahim East is perhaps not an area in Mumbai that attracts tourists in hordes. As the train approaches Mahim Junction, I’m struck by the extreme and poor settlements along the railway line and the amount of garbage is overwhelming.

Mahim East is also home to Dharavi, for many years known as Asia’s largest slum. Slum is a broad term and not always about poverty, but also entrepreneurship and – surprisingly for many – wealth, as in parts of Dharavi. The way people choose to live doesn’t always reflect their general standard of life.

We are on our way to Mahim to look at street art, largely huge murals in strong colours and vigorous expressions. We walk around with our necks bent towards the sky to be sure not to miss anything, and we admire what we see.

What primarily characterizes the murals is their size. Entire end-walls of many buildings are covered with colourful drawings and you must have a good wide angle on your camera to capture it all. Over the years, the rainy season has been putting its mark on the buildings’ facades. The rain, mixed with pollution, has mixed new lines into the art and given it a completely new texture.

The Mahim Junction railway station is entirely devoted to the pandemic and the paintings go by the name ‘covid fighters’. As long as these paintings remain, it will be difficult to forget these years.

Mahim East, like so many other districts in Mumbai, is almost a city of its own. The lower middle class as we know it in India lives and works here, and the district is partly characterized by poverty. The large murals are part of a project that wants to beautify the decrepit expression of the district and many different artists, including foreign ones, have contributed.

Some tour guides will take you to Mahim East as part of a visit to Dharavi.

The Zamorin of Bombay took me to Mahim East.

 

Come to Madh Island! February 8, 2023

Filed under: INDIA — benjamuna @ 3:55 pm
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It’s no point denying it, I’m not fond of fish. Or the smell of it. But the sight of it …? Give me an Asian fishing village and I’m ready to go any minute. Madh Island in the north of Mumbai is such a place. Here, you’ll find clean beaches and expensive resorts – but also a smelly and heavily polluted fishing village. If you’re new to it, it might be quite a challenge to your senses!

Going from Versova to Madh Island takes just a few minutes!

I’m travelling in an autorickshaw with my guide through another fishing village, Versova. Roads are narrow, lanes even more so. It’s crowded, people carry heavy loads on their heads or transport even bigger loads by handcarts accompanied by likewise heavy shouting and everybody seem to be in each other’s way. Dogs are scuttling here and there, on the look-out for a free meal – which shouldn’t be hard to find.

Endless quantities of shrimps!

The barge that is going to take us across makes me slightly apprehensive. People stand shoulder to shoulder and jump off together with a few two-wheelers. Next, it’s our turn, we board and the crowd is less – which means that my idea of sinking becomes less intrusive … And before I know it we have reached the other side, a few steps lead us to a turnstile where we pay the fee which is so small I have to look twice! (ten rupees if I’m not wrong). And we’re at Madh Island.

An autorickshaw takes us along the main thoroughfare of the fishing village which is lined with stalls. People are selling fish and other food, after a while we jump off and walk the last part to get a better feel of the atmosphere and to speak to people on our way. It’s crowded, it’s smelly, it’s energy at high speed! Just what I was looking for!

We’re aiming for the pier where boats unload fish. Today there seem to be shrimps and more shrimps! All the way along the pier people, mostly women, are working with shrimps. Some children are helping, or maybe they just want to be close to their mothers.
The ground is full of shrimps. Together with the setting sun the world takes on a pink-ish look. Beautiful wicker baskets, waiting to be filled, surround the women.

I have forgotten all about the fierce smell pushing its way through my nostrils as we make our return to the wharf. The market is still lively, buying and selling – and cooking – will take place for many hours still. A barge is on its way as we reach the jetty, we stumble on, ready to return to the city.

The http://www.zamorinofbombay.com/ took me to Madh Island.

More photos below.