Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Special Is Starting: Sunil's India

DSCN8257For the next two months, every Sunday my good friend Sunil Roopchand will lead us by the hand through vast, colorful India, as he revisits the high points of his March 2008 epic journey of exploration in the land of his ancestors!

Most Indian journeys begin and end in the country's largest and most important city, Mumbai, known for centuries as Bombay until the Indian government restored an ancient name to delete vestiges of colonial rule... Here's
a great William Safire column about how the press digests such name changes....

1. View of Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai... In central Mumbai, along a strip of Indian Ocean, sits the city's most famous public beach. "By day, it's a sleepy hangout with many snoozing under the shade of its stunted trees; but in the evening it's more like a carnival, pony rides, astrologers, monkey shows, and gymnasts passing around the hat. A row of bhelpuri stands hawk Mumbai's most popular snack: crisp puffed rice and semolina doused in pungent chutneys, all scooped up with a flat, fried puri"

2. Sunil: "Usually the poem says
the woman who lived in a shoe had many children, but in this case it was a family from Bengal, all nicely dressed, at the park in Mumbai"

3. Sunil: "In India one can
walk among gods and here it was Hanuman, son of the Wind God.."

4. In Delhi, the Jama Masjid, or Friday Mosque, the city's largest and most important. Delhi's landmarks are mostly Moslem in origin, as the city was never under Hindu rule until 1947 - it passed directly from the Moslem Moguls to the British Raj...
Sunil: "These guys weren't mosks but were give robes as they were wearing shorts." Visitors to mosques must not show much skin - immodesty in a mosque just isn't done....

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