Almost 8 months after my last entry I decided it was time to update my blog, only to realise I hadn’t published a bunch of photos from India last year, so here they are, 12 months late! All from Mumbai.

I’ve never been to another country where religion dictates so fundamentally, and where it’s ingrained in the lives of people to such a high degree.  All the national holidays are religion-based, and you can find signs of ‘God’ – be it graffiti, mini temples and shrines – on literally every single street – whether on walls, the floor, or trees.  I walked through a slum area and someone had drawn a picture of a god which was used as a temple.  There is one fundamental thing that connects everyone in this country of extreme wealth and extreme poverty – religious beliefs.

During my short stay there were 2 major religious festivals (there always seems to be something happening) – Navratri (a Hindu festival which culminates on the 10th day where people go to the sea to submerge statues of the goddess Durga), and Eid Bakri (a Muslim goat-sacrificing festival).  The only way to avoid either of these is to stay indoors in a soundproof building and have no contact with anyone.

Navratri involves dancing each night outdoors for 10 nights. How people do this in the Mumbai humidity I have no idea. There’s no AC out here.

This book has literally taken over the world.

Tea for 5p. Beats Starbucks any day.

Took this next shot (with some difficulty from a car window) for its irony.. a pet shop in a country with the highest number of stray dogs in the world, one of which is sat just outside its doors with a street family. Something so wrong about that.

Angry birds has taken over the world!

This next woman told me I shouldn’t take a photo of her as she’s ‘holy’ in some way. She had a whole group of followers who were sort of worshiping her. I took the photo anyway and she claimed there was no way the photo would come out. I showed her the image on the camera and she said it wouldn’t come out on the computer. Seems like a pretty clear picture to me.

Happy smiling people are everywhere : )

Haji Ali area:

I looked Gauri Bhonsle up online later – turns out it’s an advert for a show, except people took it seriously (who wouldn’t? Looks pretty convincing to me) and apparently people were even arrested for her disappearance!

Still trying to sell 50 Shades of Grey.

Eid Bakri. I walked through Dharavi for this (accompanied by someone who lives there). You can read more about this festival here, when I first photographed it in 2010.

When I look at these photos, I realise that 7 years after I first went to India I’m still struck with awe by this place. The skyline might change on a daily basis with buildings going up as quickly as they fall down, but the wonder of this place remains; even with its blatant irony, corruption and rich-poor divide. I’ll stop typing before I end up launching into an essay, because quite frankly there’s just far too much to say about this place that even pictures can’t depict.

I also took a video of each festival – my first time using video functionality on an SLR:

Thanks for looking, as always.

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