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I lived in Mumbai, India, from 2004-2006. During that time, I did a lot of traveling throughout the country. I also came to love so many aspects of life in India, from food to festivals. Here are a few snippets of writing from my life there as well as posts on the latest sights, sounds, and style from the subcontinent.

On Republic Day, Starting Anew and Moving On

It has been almost nine months since I left India and last posted on the blog. (You’ll also notice I moved cyber addresses – from http://tblogs.bootsnall.com/miss to here.)

I was ready to leave India last April, but now I look back on that chaos quite fondly. Indeed, I was also fond of today’s holiday – Republic Day – mostly because it falls in late January, one of the most pleasant times weather-wise to be in India, and especially Bombay. Oh to feel those tepid “winter” breezes coming off of Chowpatty Beach!

So, as I was reflecting on my time in India, I decided to upload some of my best India photos on Flickr. These pics are by no means my whole collection of India photos; but, I will certainly be uploading more to this album in the coming weeks.

Enjoy!

Update and Great Photo

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I apologize for the long silence. In fact, not much has been happening around here. Well, not much except bird flu, temple attacks, and presidential visits. At this point, nearly two years later, India and Bombay have almost become everyday for me. And, sad as it may seem, there comes a time when you become used to (desensitized to?) chaotic driving, street urchins, milk deliverymen on bicycles, unnavigable, paan juice stained sidewalks, piles of burning trash, incense, crowds, poverty, nouveau riche techies, and holy cows. It’s almost time to move on.

That said, I occasionally see things here that I wouldn’t see anywhere else. Take a look at the photo above, taken by a friend of a friend. That’s an actual billboard (called a “hoarding” here) with statistics that aren’t too far-fetched. I don’t know why the designers of the sign used a coffee cup, but there you go.

By the way, as I seem to have run out of words about India, I may start posting some fun photos on occasion. If I put up several at a time, they may even amount to a feature-length article. Figuratively, that is…

I Heart Outsourcing!

Senator John Kerry came to India recently to discuss, among other things, his opinions on outsourcing. During the U.S. elections of 2004, Indians (or at least the Indian media) never quite warmed to Kerry, so I suppose this was a chance for him to go on a goodwill tour and to see outsourcing at its, well, source.

Of course, outsourcing is a very sore subject in the U.S. and its impact has unfortunatley turned some Americans against South Asians. Its short-term effect has meant that many Americans have lost their jobs to workers in India that can do their jobs, if not more efficiently, then more economically. I even have an Indian-American friend whose relative lost her job to an Indian in India!

After being in India for a while, however, I can’t help but be a little touchy when discussing outsourcing with my compatriots at home. The people that I have met here that work at BPOs (Business Process Outsourcing companies) are some of the most diligent, hardworking people. And they aren’t just involved in the telemarketing fields. BPOs such as Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, e-Serve, and Datamatics have stretched their tentacles to cover industries like IT, banking, finance, government, and entertainment. In fact, outsourcing is involved in almost every industry I can think of (which is even more than the average American can think of), so it isn’t going away anytime soon.
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Book Bans and Other Stupid Govt Tricks

Bombay is one of the most progressive cities in India. For most intents and purposes, both the New York and L.A. of India.

It is also the capital of of Maharashtra, a state that is proving to be more backward which each report of a book ban. On Monday, the Maharashtra government banned a scholarly book by James W. Laine on the life of Shivaji entitled, The Epic of Shivaji. The government had previously banned Laine’s other book, Shivaji: The Hindu King in Islamic India, in January 2004. The latter title is available for purchase here.
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Plus Ça change…

I don’t think I had ever planned my life beyond 2005, so New Year’s 2006 hit me from the out of the blue. We hadn’t made any plans for New Years, either, figuring that something low-key would come along. Ha! This is Bombay. Something came along, but it certainly wasn’t low key.

A friend of a friend of a friend got our gang tickets to the Viren Shah New Year’s Eve party in Worli. I still don’t know who Viren Shah is, other than Page 3 Material, but I’m grateful I was able to show up at his fully-catered bash with free tickets. Nevertheless, it was the epitome of Bombay excess that I have come to despise. (Forgive me for looking a gift horse in the mouth…)
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Queen of Clubs

Another sign that Bombay is booming: it seems like a new club opens each week. Since I arrived over 15 months ago, a number of new clubs, including Zenzi, Seijo and the Soul Dish, and Squeeze have opened in Bandra (north Bombay), the home of the nouveau riche, Bollywood stars, and the majority of Bombay’s decent clubs. Still other clubs, such as Enigma (at the Juhu Marriott), have reopened, cheesier – as I understand – than ever before. South Bombay has even gotten a few hangouts of its own, including the Intercontinental’s Dome, a stylish, white-couched restaurant-cum-lounge on the hotel’s roof with sweeping views of Marine Drive.

Bombay certainly loves its clubs, and the more vapid the better. Like New York or, say, Madrid, most locals prefer to go out as late as possible. The only problem is that many clubs end up shutting down by 1:30 because of assumed or actual police interference. It’s weird – you arrive at midnight and the music stops an hour and a half later. Though I love Bombay, I’ll never consider it a world-class city until it stops living in fear of corrupt cops or Shiv Sena goons.

Anyhow, although I have pretty much outgrown the clubbing urge, I have to get out of the house once in a while. For some reason, I often get questions from people who read this blog about the nightlife scene in Bombay. And, now that New Years is nearing, I thought the time was right to answer them. So, here’s a short run-down of some of Bombay’s clubs. Keep in mind that I am very biased and not easily impressed:
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