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Tag: Hindu

August 1, 2010 Posted by tahir in Travel

Raining cats, rats and dogs

In Mumbai…

Where I can’t remember the monsoon fiercer than it was yesterday. Torrents of water cascading down from the graphite sky… waterfalls ripping through the streets, pedestrians wading, pyedogs huddled miserably in doorways, traffic even more gridlock than ever.

How wonderful though to be back in this mesmerising city, one that I have watch change through twists and turns over two decades and more. The place is booming, although every layer of humanity can be found on each street corner. India defies description and sings to the imagination in ways that most countries could only hope to do.

This morning flying up to Delhi with Rachana and the kids… and planning to visit the Taj Mahal. In all the dozens of times I’ve visited India, I’ve never been there. In a strange way it all seemed too easy.

Overwhelmed with a childlike excitement.

June 29, 2008 Posted by tahir in Travel


Each evening just before dusk I climb up to the top terrace and stare out at the ocean. I have never lived by water before and, as a result, I have never really lived.

As evening gives way to night, night to day, and day to dusk, the waters change. They are never the same. Not for a moment. Visit the shore once in a while and you might think that the ocean was something monotonous, something fearful, or bleak. But live beside it, learn to appreciate its form, and you see that water is the most magical element. It is liquid but it is the earth.

In Arabic the Atlantic is called Badr Adulat, the Sea of Darkness. And on cold winter nights that’s exactly what it is. It broods with a blue-black rage, a ferocity that only nature knows. But then on summer evenings there’s a gentleness, an evenness about it. As I stare out in wonder, it’s as if I’m being beckoned down to the waves.

Last night when I climbed up onto the terrace, I found myself half a world away on the shores of the Arabian Sea. My eyes were fixed on the waterline, and my mind was on a sight I saw long ago. The memory is carved in stone, one that’s so much a part of me that it’s somehow rooted to my soul.

A figure as tall as a house is being carried into the water. It’s on a wooden dias, carried by a multitude of people, struggling with the weight at first, as they hurry towards the waves. The figure has the head of an elephant and the body of a man, four arms, and a mouse as a steed.

All around there are other figures, some smaller, others larger; and all around there’s a sense of something important, ancient, something we will never quite understand.

When I first set eyes on the festival of Ganpati, the immersion of Ganesh, I wondered why man might be driven to submerge something so precious as a great painted clay statue in the sea.

But last night as I stood there, the last strains of pale yellow light reflecting off the surface, it all made sense.

The ocean is a memory in itself, the pendulum of the world, a fragment of all that is alive, and all that is dead. It’s a part of us, and separate from us. It’s a friend, an enemy, a giver and a taker.

But most of all, it’s a constant, a reminder of a time when our world was simple, pure… a place free from the foolishness of man.