mumbai from another eye

Growing up as a child, my parents took me on multiple trips to Mumbai to meet family and friends.  Inevitably, we would end up rushing from one wedding to another party to somebody’s house for dinner. I saw the city through the backseats of cars and taxis as we drove down Walkeshwar or to Mazgaon.

There were brief glimpses of the Mumbai you see on the Incredible India buses; a day spent at Byculla zoo (Bhau Daji Lad) or buying cheap bangles amidst the bazaar and feeding pigeons peanuts at the Gateway of India before being whisked away to a family brunch.

Then, when we moved to Mumbai, I saw the city in a completely different light. Going to the YMCA for after school practices, meeting friends at restaurants to party and shopping, eating, movie-watching at Inox and mall ratting at Palladium.

It took me three years and months from various visits to realize something: I hadn’t seen Mumbai- and I desperately wanted to. The small roads and back lanes tucked in with art galleries, the street food culture, colonial buildings with vintage shops and cafes, streets of nothing but knockoff shirts, temples, churches and museums, bazaars and markets. I wanted to see my city properly, and not through the tinted glasses of a student but through the eyes of somebody who wanted to explore every nook and cranny.

As summer was here and I had plenty of time to kill, I decided to rediscover Mumbai, or at least parts of Mumbai and then publish it on this blog to share with all of you. Sitting at my computer, I’m not quite sure how to rediscover a city, but I do know that I’ll go on walks, tours, confront these big coffee table books we have about photography on the city and take pictures all while at it. Ending, or beginning rather, with a quote by Jerry Pinto whose ‘A Bear for Felicia’ introduced me to Mumbai when I was younger.

In this city, every deserted street corner conceals a crowd. It appears in a minute when something disrupts the way in which the world is supposed to work. It can disappear almost as instantaneously. -Jerry Pinto

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