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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

A couple days ago, I was presented with an awesome proposal.. a one-day 36 hour no holds barred trip to Mumbai!

My friend's sister gets a bunch of frequent flyer miles from her work thanks to the credit card she buys the tickets with, and she realized that a whole bunch of them were about to expire if she didn't use them literally in a couple days.

So my resourceful friend said that he'd graciously use them up and me, him and another friend booked a 36-hour return trip to Mumbai. Though as luck would have it, I still haven't bought a digital camera and my friend's awesome SLR was appropriated by that same sister for some project or another. I consoled myself it was the least we could do :(

Anyway, it was my 2 friends first trip to Mumbai, so they didn't particularly care for my plan of a 36-hour photo orgy of dodging security and clandestinely taking pics of construction sites. So instead we met up a cousin who took us on a whole 2am-10am Tajma-Gateway-Elephanta-Chowpatty tour for 10 hours straight, then another 8 hours doing the required visiting of family, then 10 hours of clubbing in and around Powai and then drunkedly making an abortive attempt to sneak into film city by scaling the hills.

Anyway, the last 5 hours of time was spent trying to walk off a hangover over 24 hours of straight partying by visiting another cousin at IIT Mumbai, and then, finally relenting to my pleas, spending a half hour taking a couple shots of Powai from a hotel we pretended to be guests of.

The camera was my cousin's from IIT. I just got emailed them


^ Lake Powai



^ IIT hostels














By this time we were all exhausted and made the 3 or so hour trek back to the airport and slept all the way back to the States.

Sorry for the quality of pics. I had a cripping hangover and still am surprised I managed to take some ok shots despite the fact I really wasn't aiming at anything in particular and everything was a blur.


Next time I go to India, I will deck myself out with photgraphic equipment I'll hopefully someday buy and take some more interesting photographs

Peace,
Jai
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Well 36 hours in Mumbai, not including flying. I convinced my friends before that they should go to India with me, so when the opportunity came, we jumped on it. Especially since the tickets had to be booked by a certain date (and I had exams coming up.) It was good too to go to India (an exotic place to them), though it woud mean a day less in actual trip time. It was my first trip to India since I was a little kid, and first time without any family

Sun,
Powai is awesome, lush, green, sort of damp. Theres a lot of construction, and the roads are unfinished, as is a lot of the landscaping. I was really sad to see a lot of virgin jungle being cut down and violent looking gashes cut from some hills used as quarries. It was really hazy so I couldn't really see Hiranandani gardens. Not smoggy, just rain from the previous night being evaporated. Powai is really clean, but really (way too) gentrified. A lot of gated comunities. Not the kind of India I like

Mumbai itself is a lot nicer than I remember. A lot cleaner and the roads are better. There's a lot less visible signs of poverty, but granted we only stuck to the tourist traps. Also there are a lot more varieities of cars and trucks in India then several ys ago. There is better lane discipline, and people now do a rolling stop for red lights at least. There are also a lot more flyovers, and are a lot better than what I remembered. A lot of Mumbai has changed, and I didn't recognize many landmarks

Also, from what I seen (mainly at night) many of the skyline photos we post on the forum are not very recent. I wasn't in a good perspective to see the Marine Drive skyline as it was night, foggy and rainy. Powai is impressive at night.
 

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Wow, Jai. You really do incredible things, I must say! Good for you. :)

Hari_R: the most posh residential neighbourhoods in Mumbai are still Napean Sea Road and Cuffe Parade, despite many of the new developments being nicer. Location, location, location. Things may change in the future though, but not yet.
 
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HariR said:
Nice pics dood. BTW is Powai one of the poshest residential area in Mumbai.
Not really . I think the residential rates there are mediocre compared to South mumbai or Bandra , Juhu
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys.

I dunno, although the posh areas of southern Mumbai are more expensive, Powai has this altogether patrician air to it. (Except IIT, which has a very academic air to it.) I really didn't like that feeling. I honestly felt much more at home in the lower-middle class neighborhoods in Malad and Borvili (I think that's where we were) where my relatives live.

Anyway, IIT is a very cool univeristy, that radiates a smug smartness, and I felt more and more stupid when walking its halls. We tried to find my dad's hostel (he's an IIT Mumbai alum) but couldn't find it as our guide, my cousin, had to leave for class. The class sizes are similar to my university, at least the lecture sections. And a lot of the teaching it seems is done in English.

Powai, not the Hiranandani part, but the rest of Powai is beautiful, but the roads are a muddy quagmire in rain. The busses there seemed to be bad even for Mumbai standards, and at least half of them had visible chassis damage.

The jungle in Powai was beautiful, and there are large wild flocks of big, green parrots who some of the local kids from, (well, I wouldn't call it a 'slum' per se, but more 'unregulated housing') were demonstrating would eat fruit directly from your hand. On that note, there are lots of kids in Powai. Lots. I don't know if it was some holiday or something, but jesus christ there are a lot of them. And this was like at 6 or 7 in the morning. My friends (one of whom was african american and another who was white) was literally mobbed by them. (I was wearing my cousins sandals so I guess I blended in and remained untrampled.) Some of the kids were telling me how most of them had never seen a non-Indian before. I guess tourists don't come to that part of town. There was very little pan-handling, so that can be taken as anecdotal evidence for that.

Also, what are the large pipes you see in this pic
http://img183.echo.cx/img183/3122/25sf.jpg
They seem to be everywhere in that area
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hmm... I wish they could have built them underground. It's an eyesore. And surely having them above ground would invite damage/vandalism/etc. Oh well
 

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Fred Jones
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Wow, Jai, how did you manage!!! Great idea to spend international weekends, and if the "international" location is your own country then nothing like it...

The photos are quite good. IIT Bombay, btw, sees a number of leopards coming down from the adjacent wildlife park. In fact, the leopard menace spreads till Mulund and Borivoli, I have heard. In 2004 alone, I believe they had netted around 9 leopards inside IIT Bombay. I remember one incident where a leopard had found its way twice on the same day in the Computer Science and Engineeering Department and had met the same guy on both occassions back in June/July 2001! But the number of leopards are on the fall, and the forest authorities are worried about them. Interestingly in 2002/3 (don't remember the year), a guy had actually managed to take a snap of a tiger in the same forest, I mean, the bigger brother of leopard, which, in turn, had sent a shock wave among the localites...

Powai is beautiful in general :)
 

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Fred Jones
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probably trunk water pipelines from powai lake.
I believe they are from Vihar lake. And there is a narrow guage railway track that runs parallel to it till some distance (though I don't know the two ends of the railway track). I have never seen anything run on it, but I used to hear that there is one goods train per day that passes through it!
 

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Fred Jones
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planemad said:
IIT hostel looks awesome, like a five star hotel! How is it inside?
There are 13 hostels in IIT Bombay. The two newer ones (no 12 and 13) are in picture. They were completed in 2003. Hence they are decently modern. Their shapes represent ships. And they are not bad inside, but absolutely no comparison with 5-star hotels.

Hostel number 1-11, to be very polite about it, suck. Most of the rooms are decades and decades old, and they need immediate and serious renovation. There are some newer rooms in many of the hostels, and they are quite good. Hostel number 1 has a dubious record of bathrooms being infested by snakes at times. Hostel number 4, 5 and another residence called Tansa (outside the 13 main student hostels there are some residential places as well for research scholars and staff) often see leopards. The stretch betweem hostels 8 and 9 are particularly dangerous (prone to leopard) in the night. Thankfully the leopards don't attack people, they focus more on dogs. And btw, IIT Bombay campus has endless number of dogs and cows/oxen. This leads to a dangerously slippery (full of cowdung) gound in the rains. I have even known an accident where someone had run his bike straight onto an ox sitting in the middle of the road on a dark night in an unlighted (probably lights had gone off) section of a road and fractured his shoulders...
 

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Distant glory
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Good job with the pictures Jai; I am still amazed you managed to take such decent shots after all the partying. ;)

I'm glad you see improvement in Mumbai from last time. Would you believe it, I have never been to Mumbai proper yet. Courtesy of Air India (read: they messed up my connecting flight) I have seen CSI and the Centaur hotel, spent a very hectic three days there as they continued with their bungling. That was perhaps somewhere between 1997 and 1999. Back then, it struck me as the worst I'd ever seen in India.

Given AI's bungling and the fact that the airport area is supposed to be quite a jarring sight for non-locals, I am not surprised I got a bad impression of the city. Today, I suspect I would see what you've seen: improvement, but much remaining to be done. And I would like to see the whole city. Hopefully I will run into this sort of luck. :)
 

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The pipelines (or at least a bulk of them) date back a century. It is not surprising that they are the way they are. Further, trunk water pipelines are never built underground. The cost and the lack of access make underground water pipelines undesirable. Distribution pipelines (within the city) are of course built underground. Remember that even a decade ago, Powai was the back of the beyond.
 
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