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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Shukaran Allah...Eid Mubarak


Eid Mubarak...

Eid Mubarak! I was able to celebrate Eid today in Bangalore with the Ismaili Muslim community here, I am very fortunate. Being a part of the community of celebratory days like today makes me realize how fortunate I am. The Ismaili community is located all over the world, for me, this community provides comfort, its home, if I can call it that. The prayers were this morning and after the prayers there was rice pudding to break the fast and celebrate this auspicious day. Needless to say, since this is the first time in 30 days that I have eaten while the sun has been up, I did have the rice pudding and it was soo GOOD!

When I was in Delhi, I had a chance to visit Humayuns Tomb - a world heritage site that was recently cared for by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. I bring this up today because it was, not only a great trip with a great friend, but a very spiritual place. The experience for me was great, not only because there was a connection with His Highness the Aga Khan, but the space, the peace, the architecture and reflection that took place for me while I was there. This structure is located right in New Delhi - five to ten minutes from the Imperial Hotel where I was staying. Finding a place with such beauty, with such history and that can provide a feeling like I experienced in a city as large as Delhi is amazing! This is what India is all about. Its about a feeling - feelings in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and in the outskirts. 

Thanks for reading...gonna upload a video for Eid in a sec. 

Peace!

Bangalore...the Garden city

I am now in Bangalore after a whirlwind couple of days. Sunday, I left Delhi and headed to Pune for a night for work, then to Hyderabad for a day on Monday and Bangalore on Monday night. It was intense, but it was great. I did "see" Pune and Hyderabad, kinda...haha, as much as one can see from a cab or bus :P

I am so happy to be in Bangalore for a few days. Bangalore is the garden city of India - so much greenery, great climate, amazing temples. Tomorrow will be great because its a late start for Eid. My fasting ends tomorrow as well! I have really been blessed this past month because I have been able to adapt my fasting while in Vancouver and on the road. It has been challenging, but I feel like I have gained strength through this as well. Eid Mubarak everyone! Thanks to all of supporting me during this past month. 


Back to Bangalore now...haha. I am staying at the Taj West End. Its an amazing hotel. When I arrived at the hotel, I was exhausted. I had been up since 3 am that morning and all I wanted to do was sleep. When I got to the Taj, the hotel staff was prepared for myself and my colleagues. Prepared isnt the right word - its like they knew we were all going to be tired! They greeted us with a Hindu tradition of candles and a blessing for prosperity, put a thika on our foreheads and gave us a necklace of jasmine, this was all done outside of the hotel main doors. When we walked in, we received a mithai (Indian sweet) and a coconut with a straw to drink the fresh coconut water - so refreshing! It was delightful and exactly what I needed! Thanks Taj West End - you made my night!


I will update you on Bangalore a bit later and share a bollywood video with you as well - I cant forget about that...


As always, thanks for reading!


Peace!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Indian Train Song...


All aboard....

Good day everyone! India is still an amazing place! I have one more day in Delhi...truly a special place. Anna is still fasting, roads are closed and the government is taking measures to move the Jan Lokpal bill through the process. There is a lot happening!

Yesterday I had the opportunity, if you can call it that, to travel by train in India. The group I am with travelled to Dehradun, just north of Delhi. The Shatabdi Express was our mode of transport - left at 630ish am and reached at around 1230 pm, we came back that same day. Dehradun is a lively place. Its a smaller town with lots of activity! The protests even reached there. There are some amazing schools that are up in those parts as well!

The train was an experience...I am not sure how many reading this have been on a train in India, if you have share your experience. I traveled in First Class, which dont get your hopes up high, its nothing like Air Canada first class, but its first class none the less. I was expecting an experience like Dil Se's Chayya Chayya - dont worry, I will post the vid. There was no dancing, no songs, no bollywood hero...however there was a mouse. You have all heard about Snakes on the Plane, well the sequal may as well be called Mouse on an (Indian) Train! It was some scary stuff. The locals were not phased at all by this...I was, and I know the other Westerners were also! The locals I think were entertained by our behavior...it was pretty funny looking back at the whole thing...however, needless to say, I am going to stay away from the train for a bit!

Enjoy!

 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

be the change...

Good day from Delhi! This is the second stop on this tour of India....4 more more cities left in the next week or so.

Delhi is an amazing place...Mumbai is great - the energy, the youth, the water....there is something about Mumbai. But there is something about being in a country's capital - Washington DC, Ottawa, Nairobi, etc...each of these cities plays host to the political movers and shakers, where change has the potential to take place. In Delhi, if you have been watching the news, you will have noticed that there is one person who is trying to "be the change" and end corruption - Anna Hazare. He is on the 8th day of his hunger strike trying to get a message to the government...during this process, this very Gandhian approach, he has gained the support of millions of people....these are students, working class people, people from Punjab, Maharastra, all over. Could this be the next revolution in India? I am living at a very great time in this country's history!

To read more....check this out: 

http://www.annahazare.org/    
http://www.annahazare.org/anticorruption-movement.html



Thats it for now...India doesnt cease to amaze me...

Peace...

dehli hai..mere yaar


in delhi...more to come...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Another song and dance....

from Once Upon A Time in Mumbai :)


two things are invetible in Mumbai...

Thanks for all those that have read this so far, it may not be overly interesting, but its something...haha!

Mumbai is amazing. Yesterday I decided to leave the hotel and explore with a couple of colleagues that I was travelling with. We decided to go a part of Mumbai that I was really familiar with, so we went to Elco Market in Bandra off Hill Road. I highly recommend this area for anyone that wants to shop for clothes, accessories, and just random items...you can pretty much find everything in this part of Mumbai. We decided to take a taxi from the hotel we are at (Hyatt Regency Mumbai), this was great because it was air conditioned. We however did run into TONS of traffic...which is the first thing that is inevitable about India! Its really mess - its kind of hard to describe in words, I didnt take a picture, I will try to and post. I guess the easiest way to try to describe Mumbai traffic is to think of 100 cars in 10 lanes, all trying to get into 4 lanes and they all want to be first. Oh and they are all using their horns. Its actual pretty incredible how the horns work, its like its another language...Did I mention to add to the mix of traffic and cars, you have auto rickshaws, motorcycles and cows, yes....I did say cows. This chaos is so interesting for me to watch, because it works...I guess it reminds me that no matter how crazy my life is, its crazier other places...haha!

The second inevitable thing deals with food - its sooo good! I think most places in India are amazing when it comes to food. I went to Sheetal Bukhara yesterday - I mentioned it in my first blog - we had the butter chicken, chicken bhiryani and navratan korma. OMG, I loved it all! It was an amazing meal! I highly suggest this place!

Two inevitable things in Mumbai then kids....traffic is crazy and the food is amazing!

Until next time...

Peace!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

It wouldnt be a post from India without a song and dance...

Enjoy....its a classic....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alGISMo8qV4

S


Mumbai...meri jaan

I made it to India :) India is an amazing place. 160 years ago, my family migrated from India to Eastern Africa. There really hasn't been much of a connection with India, aside from the box that I would check on census forms or bollywood movies, but there is something to say about visiting an ancestral home.

Mumbai is a vibrant city, a city where you see class divides, where you find diversity, where one can be run over, literally and figuratively, if not aggressive enough. I got in last night, after the 27 hour journey from Vancouver. Landing at 1 am was amazing - seeing the lights of the city from afar, then getting off the plane and feeling the realness of the city through the heat and humidity.

Its monsoon season now in Mumbai...I hope I don't get washed away...haha! I haven't left the hotel yet, the rains have been strong, and they have been inconsistent. I am just watching bollywood movie now - there is something about Indian cinema that automatically gets my attention. I don't think its the comical fighting, or the cheesy sound affects...its def the songs and dances, and the hopeless romantic in me also fights for a happy ending (knowing that it will be there), so I wait three hours for the happy ending :)

Anyways, I do plan to get out and about and see the city and hopefully run into a bollywood star or two...

If you are ever in Mumbai, you should check out these places to eat - SO good:

Sheetal Bhukara: http://www.sheetalbukhara.com/history.htm
Mumbai's Elco Market: http://www.asklaila.com/listing/Mumbai/Bandra+West/Elco+Pani+Puri+Centre+And+Caterers/dup6hVIh/

Thanks for reading! I will post more later...for now...

Peace :)