Bandra by Night

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Bandra Worli sea link

Bombay, a city of dreams must see over a billion footfalls a minute, with every mode of transport jostling for space. How nice then – in the dead of night – to be able to take a quiet walk through the cobbled streets of its most famous suburb, Bandra. With film star mansions atop Pali hill, on to Carter road promenade via the 400 year old fishing village of Chimbai, Hill road & Bandstand. The promenade at lands end that boasts, the Salman – Shahrukh Khan mansions at either end with the best of Bollywood thrown between. Groups of people keep constant vigil outside the Khan homes hoping for a glimpse of their favorite star. Who knows when they may get lucky & see Salman rip off his shirt & display a Fab Ab

This is Bandra, in all its wild colors, as the graffiti boldly proclaims. Once a tiny fishing village it is full of restaurants, pubs, bars & high-end stores.

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Outside Mount Mary Church

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Sandra from Bandra

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old homes

old homes

christian neighbourhoods

christian neighborhoods Chimbai village

A walk through the narrow by lanes is a joy & a must. It has many quaint & charming bungalows with tiled roofs, verandah & porch. Most of these are over a hundred years old & belong to the Catholic East Indian community. Bandra was indeed a Catholic suburb not very long ago. There is Mount Mary’s basilica, several churches & schools & over 100 -200 crosses & candle lit grottos at various inter sections of the road. But the skyline is slowly changing because of the land sharks buying up property for high rises.

The opening of the 8 lane Bandra – Worli sea link has contributed to escalating property prices. It is however both, a beauty & Bombay’s’ pride. Zipping through it past midnight can be a fun filled experience.

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Every Mumbaikar to my mind appears to be living a fantasy filled existence. Ask a simple question & get ready for a captivating narrative.

I called up the plumber to find out why he hadn’t come to work. “ I am under tension “ he informs, “ I cannot come today “

The next day he was busy doing a round of the temples. “ Right now I am at Siddhivinayak…. so you can imagine…”

His neighbor had committed suicide by hanging, on the third day. “ Therefore, we are all at the funeral & cannot say when we will be free”

TROY

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TROY

The winds bring wealth to Troy

May 16,2012

I was booked at the Kervansaray, a hotel that spelt old world charm & hospitality. It is nicely located near the clock tower &  Fountain Square, less than 100 meters away from the bustling life of the jetty & promenade. It is a beautiful heritage property once owned by Abdurrahim Efendi a member of the Turkish aristocracy & judge in Canakkale. It remained a family property for 3 generations until it was renovated & converted into a hotel some years ago. I had a room (no: 205 / 45 euro) in the heritage wing but alas it overlooked a side street . The rooms all had ornate mirrors & polished parquet flooring & ceiling. The bannister & the stairs going down to the main lobby, likewise well kept & maintained. The door knobs/ bolts etc. a shiny brass belonging to another era. Altogether the wood, mirror, brass combo giving a nice warm feeling. A modern annex has been added to the main building with a garden separating the two wings but the character of the place remains unchanged. Everyday breakfast is served in the annex & its rather a good spread with an array of breads & cold cuts along with the regular eggs, fruit, juice & jam. Best of all most of the staff speak English. They are good at their job & attend to matters promptly. A minor plumbing problem was immediately resolved. My trip to Troy fixed in an instant. There were maps available at the reception. Also the girl manning it had a lot of information that she shared willingly & with a smile. There was free Internet & Wi-Fi, a bar, library & lobby. Would certainly recommend the place. Highly recommended one & all.

If stones could speakTrojan horse replica

The Troy tour at 70 TL takes 3 hours. It includes AC transport, hotel pick up & drop along with the services of a qualified guide.  There were 3 other persons that day – Australians from Adelaide – as we drove the 30 odd kms from Canakkale to Troy accompanied by Mustafa our guide. He was distinguished, well spoken but looked a trifle bored. The result perhaps of our being such a tiny group. The one-hour drive past low hills & the Dardanelles is beautiful. Much like most of the Turkish countryside. It is a lovely day too, as we disembark to begin the walking tour of the ruins. The archaeological sites of the ancient city, Troy 1 – 1X are still being excavated. One wonders  what they will finally yield. For the moment there is just a replica of the famous Trojan horse, the ruins of the sacrificial altar, the senate building, the concert hall, sundry artifacts, mostly pottery & terracota from early times. And of course the spectacular old stonewalls dating back to 3700 BC. The impregnable defences of ancient Troy. A marvel to behold. If only the stones would speak ! This alone made the entire trip worthwhile, for there are hardly enough ‘remains’ to be seen. But like I said the excavation is still on. Who knows what it will reveal.

The legend of Troy has always held a strange fascination. Hence this visit at the expense of other more popular tourist destinations.  The excavated sites were not exciting enough, a huge disappointment no doubt.

And the sea, in the far distance would surely have been closer in Homeric times, one thought.

Yet it was strangely moving to be standing on the very ground where the brave & noble Hector fought legendary Achilles who had his body dragged in full view of aged Priam, lovely Andromache, beauteous Helen, Paris, & the rest.

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