Mumbai Halloween Posse

Posin' not posers, trick-o-treaters for life! Copper, Pirate, Scoundrel... Jolly Rancher. No candy? Step back!         ##

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Ozymandias and the Alter Ego

Dunking Ganpati into the sea is all about dissolution (more). Even so, witnessing his mortal remains embedded in the mud tonight brought to mind the enormous ego of past Lords: 'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, … Continue reading Ozymandias and the Alter Ego

Ganpati Visarjan

Toward sunset ahead of a near-full moon, the tide far out on the Arabian Sea, Ganpati marches shoreward. Carried through the streets on trucks surrounded by throbbing drums, hoisted at the beachhead on a multitude of shoulders, carted across the sand to the edge, then towed, bobbing on the waves, by Zodiac. Ganpati topples into … Continue reading Ganpati Visarjan

Mumbai Standstill

Who owns this day? This town? Nobody. The rains come across the bay, halt awhile, move along. They leave behind a soaked humanity, anonymous. The brightest among us are alien. Forbidding.         ##  

Writing for Children

HarperCollins India, Avid Learning, and Mumbai children's book promoter Lubaina Tyebji Bandukwala put together an informative workshop on writing children's literature this weekend. As I begin the search for a home to publish my own middle grade novels, I thought I'd confirm my take on the genre with people who actually know what they're talking about. A … Continue reading Writing for Children

The Elephants’ Thunder

Every night I hear the drums. Out there, on the fairgrounds in the dark, the big drums throb and the high snares crackle. Two weeks from now Ganesh will march the streets, Gunpatti’s thunderous procession to the sea shaking the city’s windows and doors. Hordes will carry idols of the elephant deity in waves across … Continue reading The Elephants’ Thunder

Twinkle for Gents—A Close Shave

I ask around about haircuts. Authoritative Mumbai sources say: Twinkle for Gents. Five weeks into our stay, haircuts are essential. But am I to test Twinkle for Gents? I take a 2 and 3 across the sides and top. My sons buzz down to 4 and 5. Not haircuts, so much as a few quick strokes … Continue reading Twinkle for Gents—A Close Shave

Another One Bites the Dust

All in one Mumbai day we enjoyed these musical interludes. At Malabar Hill we toured the Hanging Garden (The Cure, Pornography, 1982). It doesn’t hang so much as stand upon a series of reservoirs that hold—depending on who you ask—30 or 90 or 300 million gallons of water. The garden’s benches and clocks and topiary fill the paths, … Continue reading Another One Bites the Dust

Mumbai Physics

I could be anywhere. Low in this cab the wall of traffic rises above and around me, looks the same and moves the same as it would in any other part of the city, dense and fixed. Rickshaws motorcycles Eicher lorries Uber sedans Suzuki Marutis Hyundais busses—including double decker busses—mopeds bicycles pedestrians  vendors traffic cops … Continue reading Mumbai Physics

The Sunday Straphanger

We hopped a train at Bandra Junction toward the old Victoria Station, now called Shivaji Terminus, ten stops away. The tidy compartment carried just a handful of passengers scattered about on a few padded benches. Overhead the silver handles shook as the train departed. I offered the window seat to my boys. Turns out it … Continue reading The Sunday Straphanger