He was a prophet without imprimatur in his own city. Charles Correa, who passed away late on the night of 16 June, was among the great architects of our times. His institutional buildings across the world are all iconic. Yet, Mumbai, his lifelong home, boasts just one* residential tower designed by him – an irony as much as a travesty. Though the cubist Kanchanjunga is eye-catching, it’s still high-rise: a genre caustically savaged by this patron saint of low-slung architecture.[more inside]
Tour the mega-slum Dharavi, one of the most materially deprived places on earth, transformed by TED-like pundits into a "most inspiring economic model" that gels quite well with their vision of a world without public aid and guarantees to needy.
Upping the Aunty, a photography project by Indian-born, Toronto-raised artist Meera Sethi [more inside]
Poor Little Rich Boys: The Art of the Mumbai Circulating Library, by Ryan Holmberg, The Comics Journal's resident Indian comics specialist.
Men in Saris: Mumbai's new lavani dancers Lavani is a folk dance, traditionally performed by women for men. The popularity of Bin Baykancha Tamasha (or Performance Without Women) and other female-impersonation groups in Mumbai suggests that the city may slowly be getting comfortable with flamboyant expressions of male sexuality.
The Mumbai Parsi community is hoping to return vultures to their traditional and religious role of eating the dead by building aviaries near the Towers of Silence where the Zoroastrian dead are laid out to be stripped clean by vultures. For the past fifteen years, there have been barely a dozen vultures in Mumbai, and members of the community have increasingly turned to cremation (especially during the rainy season), which the religion considers unclean. The community hopes to have vultures return to eating the dead by February 2014. [more inside]
Mapping Toilets in a Mumbai Slum. As part of an initiative by the Harvard School of Public Health, a team of students is researching life in the Mumbai slum, Cheeta Camp. They started by studying sanitation and water use. Their results? This map of toilets.
Once Upon a Time in Bombay "It is said that Bombay is the Alexandria of India. Its geographical position and commercial relations bear evidently some resemblance to the great eastern entrepot of the Mediterranean. As the swampy Rhakotis, a mere fishing village which Alexander the Great transformed into the splendid city of Alexandria, the desolate islet of the Bombay Koli fishermen was changed into the present capital of Western India." -- J. Gershon da Cunha in Origin of Bombay (google book) [more inside]
"Uniforms have been stolen in the past for this kind of thing." An update on the investigation into the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008. (Previously)
The newest and most exclusive residential tower for this city’s superrich is a cantilevered sheath of steel and glass soaring 27 floors into the sky. The parking garage fills six levels. Three helipads are on the roof. There are terraces upon terraces, airborne swimming pools and hanging gardens in a Blade Runner-meets-Babylon edifice overlooking India’s most dynamic city. There are nine elevators, a spa, a 50-seat theater and a grand ballroom. Hundreds of servants and staff are expected to work inside. And now, finally, after several years of planning and construction, the residents are about to move in. All five of them. [more inside]
Follow that Dabbawalla For nearly 130 years, Mumbai's Dabbawallas have been delivering lunches from customers' homes to their workplaces and taken the empty tiffin boxes back again. The service, with its origins in the mid 1880s when a single textile mill worker paid an errand boy to bring him his lunch from home, is a complex system with in which color coded lunch boxes are passed from Dabbawalla to Dabbawalla to reach their destination, creating a network that, in many ways, resembles the Internet itself. [more inside]
It has been nearly a year since the Mumbai terror attacks. Journalist Jason Motlagh has written a four part article about them for The Virginia Quarterly Review. The first part is about the initial attacks and the history of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist organization responsible. Part two continues describing the events of the first night as well as police and media responses. The third is about the events of the second day and includes intercepted phonecalls between the gunmen and their handlers as well as recounting the initial interrogation of the sole terrorist captured alive. The last part is about the last day of the attacks and the aftermath. The article has a large number of photographs and is a harrowing read.
Even if you're one of the richest persons on the planet, there ought to be a limit to your ostentatiousness.
First, a bit of an introduction to the game of Cricket (youtube) for those of us who may not be familiar with the sport. Next, a few clips (1, 2, 3, 4) on how awesome the Gentleman's Game can be (and you thought we didn't do anything but roam around in our white pants and cotton shirts...). But, if that wasn't enough for you, then here's a taste of Twenty20 Cricket (the fast, fast paced version of the game), and the new DLF Indian (pdf) Premier League. (This is in addition to the One Day Matches, which were instituted to bring in a bit more excitement into the game during the 1970's, prior to which the match only consisted of Tests. However, some purists still maintain that the game would've been better served had it not been commercalized to the extent that it has, and still prefer the leisurely pace of the original format to its current incarnation.) [more inside]
The Traffic Police of Mumbai (formerly Bombay, India), one of the most densely populated and traffic-ridden cities in the world, are becoming media savvy. They post billboards, answer traffic complaints sent via sms and have even started a scare campaign against drunk driving that places bloody drink coasters in bars. They are definitely taking their jobs seriously. And so far, some Mumbaikars seem pretty happy with their work.
Tuesday, July 26th, 2005, was a wet day for the city of Mumbai, India (formerly Bombay), to say the least. Within 12 hours, it rained more than half the average annual rainfall. Upwards of 400 people are believed to have died, with more in adjacent regions. In many regions, the water rose as high as five feet. All transportation links to the rest of India were severed. Within the city, many commuters who left work, for home, on Tuesday evening, didn't reach home till Wednesday night. There have been substantial financial and ecological damages. The state apparatus was caught offguard and proven unprepared; the police were nowhere to be found, and the meteorological department found wanting with their warnings. The rumour-mongering of an incoming tsunami or cyclone also didn't help, as 24 people died in the resulting stampede. Alas, just as one is relieved that the ordeal is over, it appears there's yet more to come.
The Bombay(Mumbai) blasts. Why detonate two car-bombs in Bombay? Destabilize the economy creating a climate for terror. Terror attacks have become commonplace in parts of India. The US condemned the Bombay attack- Powell called Indian officials. But, it seems like India should do more before if it wants broader US support. As the WSJ editorial page put it- "We think India could have helped build even closer U.S. ties had it decided to send troops to Iraq. The U.S. has driven a wedge into the center of Muslim terrorism with its occupation of Iraq, and it is looking to see who its friends really are." What is the lesson from all of this to the Indian government? What would you do if you were running India?
About 2, if not more blasts rocked Mumbai on Monday afternoon. About 40 people are dead, and numerous injured. The bombs were apparently placed in taxis, and the two confirmed explosion sites are the historic Gateway of India, a huge tourist spot and the Mumba Devi temple, after which the city get its name. The city has been prey to a string of deadly bomb attacks since December last year, with the most recent, on a bus, killing three in July, and suffered a simliar serial blast back on March 12th, 1993.
Brown Cloud threatens SE Asia Having flown into Mumbai a couple of times over the past years, and to Singapore once, I thought I saw this, but passed it up to gunk on the windows. Turned out it was gunk in the sky.
From the You Learn Something New Everyday file: I had no idea there was such a huge move industry in Bombay, India, known worldwide as Bollywood. I need to get out more, I'm becoming quite the ugly american lately...