Sunday, December 15, 2013


The Mahim Nature Park is full of butterflies!

Simply Blue

The past few weeks have seen a lot of music in Mumbai.  The Thanksgiving weekend we went to Fatoumata Diawara at the Blue Frog.  She is a musician from Mali, though now living in France.  She is full of energy and sang and danced the night away.

The following weekend we went to Bandra to the Simply the Blues concert.  The highlight of this was Dana Gillespie who was really, really blue!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Giving Back

Today was a really special day!  A couple of weekends ago at the Google Summit that was hosted at ASB I ran two sessions about taking and editing photos and turning them into an eBook.  We took a photographic walk through a local neighbourhood close to the school, photographing the colours, shapes, textures, patterns and light - and lots and lots of photographs of the local people. Following our previous Day 9 experiences with photography, I was keen to print out, laminate and give these photographs back to the people.  Today it was such a joy to walk back into the village with the photographs those people in my sessions took to see if we could find the people in our photos - some were very easy to spot as they are wearing the same clothes that we had in the photo.  My sessions at the Google Summit were entitled Powerful Photography, and today I saw just how powerful photography can be - especially when seeing the surprise and pleasure on the people's faces when we gave them back their photographs.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The HideOut

We went away to the HideOut for the Thanksgiving weekend.  The HideOut is an organic farm, a very simple place a couple of hours north of Mumbai where I spent the time resting and relaxing and reading.

The farm grows a variety of different things including pineapples. I've never seen pineapples growing before - they are so colourful.

It was an extremely rural area.  We walked down to a lake and these were the scenes on the way.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Seeking Green

It's hard to find green space in Mumbai, however just a 50 rupee richshaw ride (less than a dollar) ride away from where we live is the Mahim Nature Park.  It's right across the mangrove swamp/creek from BKC.

Home to many species of birds and hundreds of butterflies.

Fishing communities in Gorai

Our Lady of Vailankanni at Uttan - built entirely by the fisherfolk.

Everywhere, as far as the eye can see, there are fish drying and then being swept up.

The Golden Pagoda

The Global Vipassana Pagoda is a Meditation Hall near Gorai. It is built on donated land on a peninsula between Gorai creek and the Arabian Sea. The pagoda is to serve as a monument of peace and harmony. The Global Vipassana Pagoda has been built out of gratitude to the Buddha, his teaching and the community of monks practicing his teaching. The shape of the pagoda is a copy of the Shwedagon Pagodain Yangon, Myanmar. It was built combining ancient Indian and modern technology to enable it to last for a thousand years.

The center of the Global Vipassana Pagoda contains the world's largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars. It is twice the size of the previously largest hollow stone monument in the world, the Gol Gumbaz Dome in Bijapur, India. The inside of the pagoda is hollow and serves as a very large meditation hall that seats over 8000 people.

The aim of the pagoda complex is to express gratitude to Gautama Buddha for dispensing what followers believe is a universal teaching for the eradication of suffering, to educate the public about the life and teaching of the Buddha, and to provide a place for the practice of meditation. 10-day vipassana meditation courses are held free of charge at the meditation centre that is part of the Global Vipassana Pagoda complex.

On the set of a Bollywood movie

On our second day in Gorai we drove out to the set of a Bollywood movie.  

Looking across the creek to the Golden Pagoda.

The ferry landing at Manori.

The temple on the cliffs is being built entirely of coconut fibre mixed with mud and set in molds. It only takes a few days to build an entire Bollywood set and it will be ready for filming "Two Streets" on Saturday (this will be the wedding scene). The film will be in the cinemas within 6 months. The temple will be dismantled next week.

Making cow statues out of coconut fibre and plaster

Lifting a few walls into place.

Gorai Beach

For the Diwali weekend, Lex and I decided to get out of Mumbai.  Someone who used to work at ASB has inherited a home in Gorai, about an hour and a half north, and she rents it out as a home stay.  On our first day we went down to the beach and walked.  Gorai is made up of fishing communities.  The beach itself was very quiet.