India Chapter 4: Juhu

Juhu beach is a famous beach in Mumbai. You won’t find people in their swimsuits sunbathing on the sand though. In fact, I’ve been told that you could find yourself having to explain yourself to a policeman if you gallivant around in a bikini.

To be honest, with the levels of attention that foreigners are given by the local Indian men, I wouldn’t really want to go to the beach skimpily clad.

Juhu Beach

I took this shot of my friend Meera getting mendhi painted on her arm on the beach. Local men soon gathered around us and stared like zombies. The scariest part is, when we asked them what they were looking at, they continued to stare at us completely expressionless.

We came across a man selling flutes.

Buying flutes on Juhu Beach

He started to show me all the different kinds he had. I accidentally gave him more money than he had asked for, and I was surprised by his honesty when he corrected me. It’s common for tourists to be ripped off.

By coincidence, it was Dussehra (the tenth and last day of the Navratri festival), and traditionally on this day people go down to the beach and throw statues of the goddess Durga into the sea, along with flowers and other holy material.

Some of this had been washed back onto the shore.

These boys picked up one statue that had been washed in with the tide, and went into the sea to re-immerse it.

They noticed me taking a picture of them and posed for me

This couple were getting their picture taken by one of the photographers who are constantly trying to persuade people to get snapped by them.

Something about it made me laugh – I think it’s the way they’re standing in the sea, almost like they don’t want to be there.

We came across a game where you try and throw a ring around a prize, just like you find at funfairs. The difference here is that the prize is a bar of soap

A beggar with her child..

The mother had the most beautiful turquoise-coloured eyes.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, it began to rain. When I say rain, I mean monsoon-style torrential rain – something I had never experienced before, and certainly not while being outdoors. The rain is so heavy it’s unimaginable and incredible. People started running away from the sea towards the road, shouting ‘Chalo (come on), chalo!’. We followed them completely bewildered wondering where we’d go for shelter.

Everyone ran towards a building and stood by the wall, which wasn’t really much help since there was no roof over us. We were obviously completely soaked (wearing a white top was not such a great idea either!).

This shot doesn’t really demonstrate how heavily it was raining, but I took that standing from what was apparently meant to be shelter.

All around us the pervy men were still staring, and after I took the above shot, one of them asked if he could take a picture of us. I thought it was strange but I let him take it. It didn’t come out well though (have you ever tried showing a complete newbie how to use a DSLR?!)

Since there was no real shelter, we decided to walk and try and catch a rickshaw so we could get back into town where we were meant to be meeting a friend, except there were no free rickshaws. So we walked some more and the rains fell harder. The roads were now beginning to flood and being completely unaccustomed to rains of this magnitide, we decided to gatecrash a nearby gathering of Hindus who were celebrating Dussehra.

They were having this outside but under a makeshift roof. As we walked in, everyone stared at us, probably amused by the sight they saw. We told one of them that we were stuck out in the rain and didn’t know what to do. They were really accomodating, and asked us to stay with them. They gave us food and showed us the temple.

This was the man who helped us, outside the temple room.

I called my friend who was stuck in the city in the horrendous traffic, and told him where we were so he could pick us up.

In the meantime we stayed under the roof and observed the chaotic scenes around us. To add to that, the makeshift roof collapsed causing everyone to scream like girls and run in all directions.

People passed by dancing in the rain, on their way to the beach to throw statues of Durga into the sea. I stood under a tree to take a video on my phone.

Yes, I know it’s not very clear. It was exciting and wonderful to see scenes of this sort though. Monsoon rains would not stop these people from celebrating the festival. Due to the rain I wasn’t able to take anymore pictures outside.

This was the last one

Thank goodness for that UV filter I bought just before I left for India :D

After my friend had picked us up, because of the flooded roads we couldn’t get back to the flat, so instead he took us to one of his relatives’ houses where we had to change our drenched clothes. We had no choice but to wear a 14 year-old boy’s clothes. We looked like a mess.

It’s hard to take emo-type shots using a DSLR. Maybe I just don’t have enough practice yet. :P
We went to a posh restaurant later looking absolutely awful.

This was one of my friend’s relatives whose home we went to to borrow some clothes. She’s holding what’s known as a garba, and was about to leave, in the awful weather, to head to the beach to immerse it. Now that’s called dedication.

The boy in the blue is whose clothes we had to wear.

His family were lovely. Oh and that woman in the previous shot made us the best Indian tea ever!

There are a few more stories from the monsoon saga that made this day unforgettable. I did think I’d never complain about the rain here in the UK again, but today I did just that ¬__¬

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