Friday, July 9, 2010

Taj revisited

Had been to south Mumbai (Bombay) recently.
Took a walk around the Gateway of India and the Taj Hotel early in the morning.
Its been more than two years since the 26/11 attack took place, but it has left its scars and tell tale mark.
The earlier blog on the same subject was in a lighter note with a bit of sarcasm sprinkled in.

Sauntered into the Leopold hotel to have tea. As it was just opening time for them there were hardly any customers. While having my Toast and jam with tea, I realized that my table was right next to the glass pane which had three bullet holes (they have preserved it as it is)

For a minute I was just trying to imagine how the scene must have been once the guns opened up. Noticed the owner Mr Farhang Jehani behind the counter, but I did not speak to him regarding the subject. Not a nice thing to bring back bad memories early in the morning. While coming out of the Hotel, I clicked this which has a good vintage look.
Leopold at Colaba Bombay
(some how I like these old Coke ads, though I don’t like any of these aerated drinks)

The paper man was just lining up the morning papers


Whenever I am in that area, I don’t miss a chance to peek into Mondegar (another hotel in the next lane) Just love to look at those colourful murals by Mario Miranda.

In 1925, the Yezdegardis, an Irani family, bought the home of a French sailor Monsieur Monde. Inspired by its Hindi reference ‘Monde Sahib ka Gar’ (Mr. Monde’s house) the Yezdegardis soon converted it to a cafĂ© called ‘Monde-Gar’. It started off as a typical teahouse that also sold tobacco, foreign liquor, wine, breads and specialties from Iran like saffron, almonds, and pistachios..

In fact the ambience of this hotel is really good, complete with a juke box. About 5 years ago I had posted another picture of Mondegar in my Flickr account which had some 84 comments and 3300 views.
It was good to see that life was getting back to normal in and around the area, with some extra precautions. (had never seen the Gateway of India before with an armoured vehicle parked permanently next to it)

Saw some tourists going about their normal procedure of checking out of the Taj Hotel.

A balloon vendor was trying out his luck with prospective customers.


Many of us have seen the Taj Hotel from the east side but this is a view of the main dome from the west side
Taj main dome
One common sight in front of the Taj hotel is the flock of pigeons that sweep down to feed on the grains provided by the tourists.
But this time the jostling and the fluttering (of the birds) was too much and I discovered the reason. Apart from the normal tourists there was one guy who came in his car and took out a sack of grains from the boot of the car. (yes one huge gunny sack)

He then just scattered the contents of the sack on the footpath. The swoop of the birds was so powerful that I was reminded of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds”


And this time there were crows too. One observation I made was that the crows dined separately and the pigeons had their own group. No mixing up. It was also funny to see some of the crows perched on this guy’s car (with the dicky open)
Talk of trying to take the loot directly from the granary!!
Crows on Car
© Photographer: Joezachs | Agency: Dreamstime.com

I have put up this picture for sale on Dreamstime. Wonder if any one will like it.
(click on the image to see large)

33 comments:

Haddock said...

Had some problem with the "comments" which I hope is sorted out now.

Arundhati said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Excellent pics too. Mario Miranda's murals at Mondegar, 'The Birds' and racism!

Indrani said...

Great visuals, I am glad things are back to normal functioning.

Sue McGettigan said...

Very fun visit, someday I hope to walk in those places too!

Gauri Gharpure said...

When I went to Colaba, I went to Mondegar and Leopold and yes, my sister pointed to those bullet marks. Isn't Leopold a favorite with Gregory David Roberts too?
nice photos, esp the separate dining areas of crows and pigeons.

radha said...

Very nice account. Literally, birds of a feather flock together!

Amrita said...

wow, Thats quite a crowd of birds there!
This indeed was quite an interesting account. Yes, the Taj, the Leopold and the Gateway of India...all seem to have gotton back on track...but the scars are still evident in the shape of the bullet marks on the Leopold window. Ever since I read "Shantaram", I have had a wish to visit Leopold someday. But now if I visit that place, it will not be "Shantaram" that will come to my mind but 26/11
Loved the Mario Mirinda Mural :)

Bikramjit said...

Hmm crows is new cause I went last year september time .. did not see any .. and yeah things are coming up now.. the terrorist attack seems to be forgotten now .. people have moved on ...

loved the pics ...

Samvedna said...

thoroughly enjoyed the post! and I am happy to know that things look normal there, as thats the only we can show the strentgth to terrorists.

Marie said...

Like that Coke Ad.

blueapple said...

enjoyed reading! good pictures too:)

padmaja said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and the feed back for my Canyon, I appreciate it!
Quite a lot of interesting stuff to read here and I went through most of them, loved your style of narration.
Didnt know about Mondegar, will check it out when I visit there next. Recently I had been there and the new addition from the vendors are little soldier toys with guns crawling all over, being sold to little children,felt sad.

The Ketchup Girl said...

so glad to be here. you make me feel wistful with these Mumbai pictures. Esp those of Leopold's.

anamika said...

Hie...

i really wante to visit these two places..I liked yur idea of putting pics on sale..I will try it too:)

Thanks:)

Haddock said...

Hi Anamika,
Its easy on Dreamstime.
Just click on that picture (of the crows sitting on the car) and then you will find the option "Sign up for free"
If one is creative with Vectors or actual photography, then it is challenging and fun (and you learn a lot along the way)

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

These are wonderful photos...and I really enjoyed reading all that you wrote. Your words were full of details that captured your trip. Your post was interesting and made me want to see more of your trip to Mumbai.

Blessings & Aloha!
(thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment)

Rajesh said...

Taj Gateway and the places around it are amazing. I have fond memories of the place.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Greetings:)

Very interesting information and I enjoyed the pieces of information you have provided along with lovely photos.

Best wishes:)
Joseph

HaRy!! said...

hiya first time here... nice pics btw... have never been 2 a * hotel and taj.. never!!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Lovely post, Joe! I'd love to visit India. Thanks for stopping by my blog and joining in on my random question/contest. :)

P.N. Subramanian said...

Lovely post and lovely photographs as well. I liked the birds having a feast. Specially the crows dining together without mixing up. Thanks also for dropping in and putting some encouraging words.

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Really interesting post, Joe! You manage great visuals and the inside story always!

Katie Wilson-Bernatas said...

Your blog looks very interesting and creative. I'll have to check back often. Thanks for your comment on my blog.

Shalini said...

I like the crows-pigeons bit..:)

Destiny's child... said...

Lovely pictures...the murals, the pigeos, the crows, the taj..and yes the coke ad too :)

Priya Joyce said...

lovely pics specially the one with the pigeons!

Being Pramoda... said...

Hello...first time here..

thanks for catching me at my blog.. makes me happy..:)

Here, in this post, its nice pics of course and I liked ur feelings behind the words..

Yeah..Mumbai attacks left so many mixed fears ..

enjoy..:) keep in touch pls..

Gulmohar said...

Glad to see that everything is back in track :-)

sangeeta said...

You have a lovely blog Joe...

Loved this post with all the gorgeous pics , have been a Mario Miranda fan and the murals by him made me smile.

Will be back to read everything on your blog for sure.

Madhuri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anamika said...

I read morarji desai comment of your on comment section of ramesh..lolz...

Summer said...

You take some great photos. I adore the picture of the Hotels. Just beautiful!

A said...

I was at the exact same place recently. I will post pictures....let us compare :)