India

Somewhere in Dehli

India travel stories

Remembering Varanasi

Remembering Varanasi

"I'm also from Uttar Pradesh!" I confess, in Hindi, to rickshaw drivers in Mumbai. Most of them are from Uttar Pradesh or Jharkand area. I don't look Indian though, so they shake their heads disbelievingly until I explain: I'm actually from Canada, but...

Bombay is not India

Bombay is not India

Every day in Bombay, one is provided with a few opportunities to forget where they are. This is because though Bombay is situated in the state of Maharashtra, on India's west coast, bordering the Arabian sea, it's actually its own place... and not like any other. A...

Ramzan before Eid in Bandra

Ramzan before Eid in Bandra

During the one month period of Ramzan, determined by the Islamic lunar calendar, those who are able fast during the day. This excludes pregnant or nursing women and the very elderly. Those young men that run the shops on Bandra west's Hill road in Mumbai, however, are...

Numbers in Mumbai

Numbers in Mumbai

Ones: One God, but this is debatable, depending on the point of view and faith. One child, a kid that is only a cement bag with legs coming out at the bottom. He walks slowly up a hill. The wind pulls through the pastic and he sways, almost falls, too slight to fight....

In the Bombay Rain

In the Bombay Rain

Even before it rains, water hangs in the air. The wind starts to blow, warm and persuasive. Palms are flattered: they dip and lower their heads. Long grass blushes and looks the other way. Women scramble to manage their fluttering dupattas. As the sky darkens and the...

In the Heart of Dharavi, Muskan School

In the Heart of Dharavi, Muskan School

In a hard-to-find school in the Dharavi slum, I never expect to find toddlers doing arts and crafts: but they are. I'm inside a warm room with a whirring fan, where children's feet stand on coloured circles painted on the gray ground. Oiled hair on each head is...

Dharavi, Slum?

Which place has 15 schools and several hospitals, imports plastics from all over the world for recycling, and is home to more than a million people in just over one square kilometer? That place is called Dharavi: a well-know slum that is the largest in Asia. A visit...

Haji Ali Masjid in the Mumbai Monsoon

Haji Ali Masjid in the Mumbai Monsoon

Visiting Mumbai's Haji Ali Masjid and Darga during the rainy season is nearly magic. The mosque was built in 1431 in the memory of Islamic merchant Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari (who is buried within the mosque) and has become a pilgrimage site for seekers from...

Learning Love from Orphans

Learning Love from Orphans

Whenever I come home from spending time in India, someone inevitably says "It is so good of you to give your time and your energy to help those those poor little orphan kids." The people who say this are those who have never worked with orphans. They don't...

The Hindi-Speaking White Girl

'Mai aur samajhti hoon, uske baad bolti hoon.' I understand more than I speak. It's a line I use when I've been present with Hindi speakers and listening to their conversation without adding to it, and always elicits great reactions. I surprise many people in this...

A Potpourri on Mumbai’s Trains

A Potpourri on Mumbai’s Trains

In the stations that stretch on and on, stray dogs touch their noses to commuters' hands, hoping for some food or love. Rats like small wolves cross the garbage goldmine in the tracks, fearless. Crows fly out of the way of barreling trains, just in time. More than 7...

Culture Shock: Banaras to Bombay

It only took a few hours in Mumbai to realize that I was in a completely different world than the ancient city of Varanasi. The majority of the many months I've spent in India have been in Varanasi: living with a family, eating simple pure vegetarian food with my...

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