Mumbai, India

January 2010

I’ve photographed around Mumbai so many times, and yet there’s always something new to see or experience.  It’s basically impossible to get bored of this city – it continues to amaze and inspire, and every time I return there it seems to have progressed or changed in some way or another.

In India, it’s common for the dead to be paraded/carried through the streets to reach the destination of the funeral.  I’ve seen this once before at night, but this was the first time I’d seen it in daylight.  The procession passed the car I was in, and I discretely took this shot:

The picture has been the subject of much debate amongst friends.  Is it disrespectful to take such an image? Interestingly enough, all the photographers I have asked have said no, it’s fine to take such an image, and all non-photographers have been strictly against it.  For me, I was careful to be discrete and as far as I could see, no one noticed me.  I wouldn’t take a picture knowing I might deeply offend someone.

While it takes London Underground 6 months to fix one escalator (no joke), in Mumbai during this time a skyscraper has been built.  Like a friend of mine said though, as quick as the buildings go up, they also come down!

This sums up the obvious contrasts within Mumbai; poverty and affluence living side by side.

The same view, by night:

Smoking goat?! Looks like it.

A man asked me to take a picture of his kid:

That is one angry baby. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a picture of an angry baby.

Stumbled across these puppies.  As soon as you give them a little bit of attention they start following you around, so I bought them some biscuits.

That made them follow me around even more!

They reminded me of the time I went to Juhu Beach for Holi, and a dog there literally followed me for over an hour.

Kids playing on the streets love to be photographed.  It’s impossible to walk past with a camera without them asking to be snapped, and of course I do.

Look at their enthusiasm – how could I not! I suppose these kind of images are becoming a bit of a cliche but it’s impossible to ignore them and why would I?

I didn’t notice when I took the pic, but they almost knocked that poor man over!

I have never seen a single KitKat piece like this before, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t recommend it.  While India has some of the best food I have ever had, their chocolate isn’t quite so great. You’d think KitKat would taste the same everywhere.

Buying matching bangles for some saris:

Shopping in India is great, although after a while it gets tiresome.  For those who have ever shopping in Mumbai, you’ll know what I mean.  If you think Oxford Street is busy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The most bizarre kid’s ride, yet impressive:


One word – yummy.  It’s a South Indian dish and like a savoury pancake.  I’m drooling thinking about it!

One for the ‘Shooting From The Inside’ series:

I can’t really illustrate the traffic situation in Mumbai through images, but this shows the rickshaw I was in trying to make some kind of ridiculous u-turn against the direction of traffic.  In London, if you tried doing that there’d be road rage but over in Mumbai no one reacts badly.  It really is amazing to see the difference in drivers in these two places.

A crowd gathered outside a celebrity’s house, hoping to catch a glimpse of them:

My favourite place in Mumbai – the Haji Ali, or “floating mosque“.

I’ve written about this place every time I have been to Mumbai I think.  In fact, my first ever blog about India was on the Haji Ali in 2006 – – as I said then “These pictures probably don’t fully represent the serenity surrounding the Haji Ali, but it’s one of those places I’d return to whenever I go to Mumbai.”

This time I went on a Sunday, which is the busiest day and very crowded.

This man insisted I get a picture taken by him and thinking about it, I should have just for the fun of it:

I think he had a film camera on him.

Arguably the best place for fresh juice in Mumbai:

These guys dropped their ball outside the gate and asked if I could get it. I picked it up and said ‘nope!’ which they found funny. So they pleaded with me and I took a picture of them.

More street kids loving the camera.

Marine Drive:

The new Bandra Worli Sea Link:

In Mumbai, a sign like the above is needed as there is basically no concept of lanes.

This is a fairly new bridge linking Bandra to Worli and central Mumbai which costs 50 rupees one way (around 70p). It takes around 7 minutes to cross an area that would otherwise take 45/50 minutes, so it’s definitely worth it!

Some funky meaningful graffiti in the Mahim area:

This says “Roti, kapda, makaan aur condom”..

.. meaning “roti, clothes, shelter and condoms”.  I didn’t know what Amitabh’s face had to do with that but was just informed that he has a film called “Roti kapda aur Makaan”!

There’s more of this in on my Flickr page >here<.

Leg wax – Indian style:

Basically that involves rolling up your trousers,  standing up and being watched over by two policewomen. That’s right – they came in and watched, while they waited to get their eyebrows threaded, still on the job  I can’t say I’ve ever experienced that before – a picture had to be taken! The girls in the salon will probably never read this since they don’t know my site or full name, but they were so, so friendly.  I’ll make a point of saying hi when I’m next around.

I’m reading a great book right now – Shantaram, by Gregory D Roberts.  It’s an incredible true story and it describes Mumbai perfectly.  Everyone with even a vague interest in India needs to read it

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