Sunday, 31 August 2014

My 7 top Goa Monsoon Moments

Every time I have been to Goa, the sky has been blue. The sun has been shining and it has been filled up with tourists from all over. Hectic, busy, fun and a bit exhausting.

This week, when I went, the sky was grey. The clouds were dark and rain was pouring constantly. But you know what, dear reader: I totally loved it.

Back in Norway we say: "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing" - so I put on my monsoon plastic shoes and headed off to explore monsoon Goa. These were my top favorite moments:

1. Nothing beats the vibrant colors and the freshness that the rain brings out. The coconut trees seems taller, the rice fields seems brighter and the nature comes to life again. And as I was strolling around in the fields, mesmerized by the green beauty, clicking away - I just hear my friends going: " - Oh, we are impressed Eli - see you walking around without fear for all the snakes and crocodiles." - Eeeeeeeeeeeeek....

2. Having Chicken Cafreal - and lots of other goodies at the local Florentines restaurant. I like the Goan cuisine for their smart use of spices. The restaurant is great: visited by locals, genuine and clean, cheap prices and most important: very tasty food:

3. Feeling the amazing and including atmosphere at The Miraculous Cross at the Holy Cross church in Bambolim:

4. Shopping the best cashew nuts (in the world ?)- in Sawantwadi. A long drive, but totally worth it. A beautiful place - and back in "my" state - Maharashtra.

5. Being the almost only (playful) tourist in a normally very crowded tourist area. How peaceful and calm to go for a stroll along the sea - feeling the breeze and rain at the beautiful Dona Paula beach area - famous for the myths of the Portugese lady Dona Paula and for shooting of the Bollywood films Ek Duuje Ke Linge and Singham. Usually packed with people, but not this week. Not even possible to buy the Fresh Lime Soda with Singham Masala  and Bombay Masala..:-) Hm - gotta come back here:-)  

6. Being invited to new friends' homes and feel happy when they show me their gardens with blooming flowers, the little birdie that they saved, their new kittens, the newly born calf or their old Portugese home which has been in the family for centuries and that they preserve with love, respect and pride.

7. Just sitting there, watching the rain pour down - feeling relaxed and happy - and knowing that the sun is waiting. Patiently. Because over the dark clouds, the sky is always blue..

Bye for now, dear Goa - see you again:-) 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

And then the Prime Minister came to town..

Our eyes turned wider the further down in Colaba we drove .. There we were - in the back seat of the car cruising down the street - but where was the usual vibrant Colaba causeway scenery? No shops open. Hardly any people around. Cafes closed. Stalls closed. Streets closed. Only police. Heavy armed police in their khaki uniform and soldiers with bullet proof vests.

- The prime minister is in the area, they told us. Yes, it turned out that India's prime minister Narendra Modi was also in Colaba that Saturday morning, so what did we do? Well, I for one, suppressed my instant urge to drag up my camera. I politely listened to advice given to me - and I did not start to click pictures of that highly unfamiliar scenery...

And in the end - what a beautiful perfect south-Mumbai day it became....

We strolled around, viewed some sights, architecture, green spots, did some shopping, had a good lunch and lots of good laughs. And with my enthusiastic friend Alice - we also decided it was high time we had our names written on a grain of rice. And ta ta: a new key chain for 20 rupees... How awesome art is that?:-)

And after a good lunch and some parsi refreshments (with a guarantee: contains no fruit:-))...

... we were still in an artistic mood, so we decided to pop by one of the many amazing Art Galleries that are in this part of Mumbai. Great decision! So many young artists showcased their work, and I got hung up in this one painting: "Fairies taking away the books". The artist, Shahed Pasha, was there himself and it was so fun to talk with him.

And then - what could be a better way of ending the day - than on my good friend's balcony - sipping a cup of tea, chat, and watch an amazing day turn to evening in this way...:

PS: And if you have been wondering throughout this whole post what on earth the Prime Minister was doing in Mumbai on that particular Saturday - check out Times Of India:-) Wouldn't want to leave you sleepless dear reader:-)

Hope you had a good weekend and I wish you a good start of the week:-) We have the amazing Ganesha festival coming up- and for me also some traveling... Stay tuned:-)

Ta ta from Mumbai!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Mumbai and Me - a guestpost

 - Eli, you make me miss Mumbai like hell - he writes in his comment. And I know it is him, the outspoken Vishal, whom I share my intense Mumbai - fascination with..

You see, dear reader, an amazing and unexpected joy of writing this blog has been connecting with fellow writers/bloggers. Vishal's blog: Scripting the story of life is a pure addiction to me. Vishal writes with humor, depth, style and strength and he has an incredible ability to cover a wide range of subjects. And he is, like me, in a passionate relationship with Mumbai. It was meant to be. I just knew that at some point I had to ask him to guest post. So, guess what he chose as a theme..? 

Please dear reader: buckle up for an emotional, funny unforgettable ride, when Vishal takes us to his Mumbai:


Mumbai and Me

When true-blue Mumbaikar Eli- that’s how I call her- asked me to do a blog post for her, the idea that popped in my head was, Mumbai. No prize for guessing. Now, what do I write about Mumbai? A city that fascinates me to no end, where life is celebrated unplugged throughout the day and night.

I was not born and brought up in Mumbai. Like millions, I came with aspiration to chase my dreams, owing to my fascination for this amazing city where I know I can make my life. Mumbai struck my senses on Day One as I stood, amazed at the towering and iconic Chattrapathi Shivaji Terminus, less known as CST but more as VT, dating to the colonial era, yellow-and-black cabs, Best Buses and, of course, fake Gucci bags, sold at Colaba causeway. It was a life-long thrilling experience where we made memories drinking to heaven at the cheap Gokul, Leopold or Sports Express Bar. It was love at first sight.

The local trains became my life line. My first tryst with local train was when I hopped on a jam-packed local from Churchgate to Santacruz. As the train ambled past Bandra, I became shit scared. How can trains be so crowded? How on earth I am gonna get out! I wriggled my way, shoved by the crowd and finally pushed my my tiny body out. I felt like the Olympic champ, fighting the human masses to breathe free. Don’t they say if you fight the crowd out of the train, you’ve won the first Mumbai battle. How true!

I would spend two and half years in Mumbai, making friends with two twin sisters and street urchins at Marine Drive who would call me, ‘Seth’ (Boss). We became friends. What I like best about this cosmopolitan city is that no matter where we belong to, Mumbai welcome us with open arms. The cute twin sisters, no matter how battered they were with life, would always delight me with a smile on their faces. For the rest of the world, they are beggars but for me, they were two sweet friends who are an inspiration. I still miss them!

Once I reached Mumbai past midnight and was clueless where to go and find a place to sleep. At that time, I was still in Pune and but had to travel to Mumbai every week for my Post Grad’s admission. The time I reached Churchgate, I couldn’t find any place to stay but went straight to the University hostel, International Students Hostel (ISH), trying out my luck to find a shelter for the night. The security guys didn’t relent but some boys, somehow, convinced them to let me in. Finally, I was accommodated on the dining table in the mess. Yesh! In Mumbai, you can sleep anywhere if you got the pace to survive, be it the pavement, Marine Drive or a table. Deep inside, I decided that I have to be in Mumbai no matter what it takes and even if it means, sleeping on the streets to survive.

Experiences! There are many. My first encounter with the beggar, who skillfully hid his right hand under his shirt, walked to the taxi I was sitting in, asking for money. I readily gave him ten bucks, feeling sad that the poor man lost his right hand. The next day, the beggar-actor pulled another coup but this time, the left hand was lost. I felt like an idiot. This is Mumbai for you.

I call Mumbai, my city. Maximum City, as it is called, gave me so much where I experienced and learned so many things about life. Right now, I am not in Mumbai but the addiction that it is, grows on me every single moment, reminding me that I’ve never left and not once, I don’t miss Mumbai. It’s my muse. No matter where you go, the city will grow on you so much, reminding you that it’s waiting for you with open arms. I shall be back. It may take me some more time but I will embrace my muse. 

That’s the power of Mumbai. You cannot bid good bye forever.

Once a girl told me at the time, I was starting my life in Mumbai, “If you got the pace, you survive.’
My muse! I’ll be back soon to make new experiences and memories.

Loove you, Mumbai

There, dear reader - what did I say... ? Amazing huh? 

Vishal is a freelance journalist and runs the blog Scripting the story of life. He also do book reviews and can be contacted on He stayed in Mumbai for two and half years, is fascinated about Maximum City and calls it his muse. Mumbai is an obsession for him. He is passionate about movies, books and loves writing short stories.

Well, I hope you enjoyed Vishal's journey as immensely as I did? And what do you know: tomorrow is another day, and yet another celebration here in Mumbai... Human pyramids coming up..... Happy Janmashtami everyone! 

Thank you so much Vishal! I am so happy you accepted my invite for a guest blog. It was such a pleasure to have you here.

Ta ta from Mumbai! 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Happy Independence Day 2014!

- Do you do anything else than celebrating? - my friend from back home asks me on Skype... - Because judged by your blog - you do not..

Hmm. Do I sense a bit of envy in her voice? She obviously thinks that I do nothing else than moving gloriously from one colorful festival to the other - cheering and laughing as a part of a dancing/drumming/laughing river of happy smiling people dressed in bright shiny bling bling clothes...

Well. To tell you the truth: this time of the year is quite busy - festival - like here in Mumbai. And today we celebrate Independence Day, and I am about to cheat a bit now, because looking back I quite enjoyed my own words from last year's Independence Day. Hope you will too:


- India is a great country with many temples and famous things to see. India is beautiful. All Indians are my brothers and sisters. I love my country deeply.

The kids in my class have been asked to give a presentation on their home country. They talk with pride and passion. About India. About the temples, about the mangoes, about the music and about the village where their grandparents live. And about their city, Mumbai.

15 of August we celebrate Independence Day here in India and what a country we are celebrating, dear reader! One country which is home for around 1,3 billion people! A country with 28 states, 7 union territories and where over 1000 different languages are spoken! The birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism and of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. And around the world: who hasn't been to an Indian restaurant to taste yummy Indian food? History and culture...

And as I sit there, listening to the kids, I feel it. They care for India. We care for India. And they show it - for example- yes, when we go to the movies, we do stand up for the national anthem before the film starts. That's the way it is. India.

India got its freedom from the British rule on 15. August 1947, relatively peaceful, at least the events leading up to the Independence. So, how does the Indians celebrate? Well, the Indian flag has been for sale everywhere for the last few days, there will be some parades and flag-ceremonies and otherwise people gather around a good meal.

Wikipedia says it like this: Indians celebrate the day by displaying the national flag on their attire, accessories, homes and vehicles; by listening to patriotic songs, watching patriotic movies; and bonding with family and friends!

I wish all my Indian friends, known and unknown, a Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Monsooney Mumbai

Rain. Rain. Rain. The rickshaws pull down their raincoat curtains. The roads turn into rivers of brown water. You leave your fancy shoes at home and wander out in plastic flip-flops and jump (as elegantly as you can) over lakes of water gathered in the middle of the street. It doesn't stop. All day. From morning till night. And till morning again. 

And then the joy. The kids playing in the rain. That breeze of freshness in the air. That lovely moment when you see the glimpse of blue sky up there in between the old trees in the deep green forest. The joy of just throwing the umbrella away and feeling your bare toes getting all wet in the green grass. Because it is still warm - all hot and humid in the Mumbai monsoon. (ya ya, we look out for snakes and leopards..:-))

And then the joy of getting back home inside. Dry up, cuddle up on the couch, watch the rain pour down out there, put on some nice music, have a cup of tea and maybe some pakoras - (remember - the onion ring's exotic cousin)?

And then thinking back to when we first arrived in Mumbai, also on a rainy day, over two years ago. How the intensity of the rain and wind blew me away - (literally). And then how months and months without rain made me longing for it... How happy I was when the first raindrops came, and how happy I was when the sky again turned from grey to blue...

And then how happy I am that no matter how grey the sky is, or no matter what for that sake, there is always a cause for celebration over here in India. So also today!

Because if you have a sibling you love - today is the day to show her/him that. Please read more about the celebration on my post from last year.

Happy Raksha Bandhan, dear reader. I wish you all the best.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Happy Friendship Day!

If you have followed my blog for a while, you will know that I am an enthusiastic fan of the many Indian festivals... And what happens after being away for a while? Yeah - my feet has barely touched touched Indian soil - and whup: a celebration is coming up. Of course.

Today we celebrate Friendship Day here in India. A day to tell our friends how much we love them, care for them, and how much they mean to us. And I sit here reading the article  "Friendship Day not so cool anymore" in TOI Apparently, the social networks is taking over more of the celebration of Friendship Day, and it is less common now to gather with friends on this day to share a cake, hang out and celebrate their friendship live. Also if you see your friends and appreciate them every day, why make something special out of this day? And yes, maybe it's celebrated more among long distance friends?

I think back to the previous weeks when I was back home, and the time I spent with some of my closest friends. So many good talks. So many valuable moments. Nothing can replace that? On the other hand, what a blessing the social networks are for people like us - who have friends spread all over the world. At least we can keep in touch even though we are on different sides of the planet...

In India, I still get the feeling that celebrating friendship is still pretty cool though.. The first sms' ticked in this morning, and they keep coming:

Roterende hjerter TieRoterende hjerter
         Roterende hjerterbandRoterende hjerter
                   Roterende hjerterYourRoterende hjerter
                                Roterende hjerterbcosRoterende hjerter
                                Roterende hjerterWantRoterende hjerter
                       Roterende hjerterBe Roterende hjerter
           Roterende hjerterpersonRoterende hjerter
 Roterende hjerterwishRoterende hjerter
               Roterende hjerterHappieRoterende hjerter
                           Roterende hjerterDayRoterende hjerter
                                         Roterende hjerterpryRoterende hjerter
                                Roterende hjerterCarryRoterende hjerter
                     Roterende hjerterfrdshpRoterende hjerter
              Roterende hjerterTheRoterende hjerter
       Roterende hjerterOfRoterende hjerter 
Sløyfe"YEH SUCH"Sløyfe
Lys rosa"HAI "DOST"Lys rosa
Bukett"AAP JAISA"Bukett
Mann og dame som holder hender"FRIEND"👬
Glødende stjerne"KISMAT WALO"Glødende stjerne
Ansikt som slenger kyss"KO MILTA HAI"Ansikt som slenger kyss
Svart hjerte i ultrafet type" HAPPY  "Grønt hjerte
Svart hjerte i ultrafet type" FRIENDSHIP"Grønt hjerte
Svart hjerte i ultrafet type"  DAY" Grønt hjerte
Hjerte med pil∷∶*•*..∷∶*•*..∷∶*•*..Hjerte med pil

Svart hjerte i ultrafet type¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸Blått hjerteSvart hjerte i ultrafet type¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸Blått hjerteSvart hjerte i ultrafet type¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸Blått hjerteSvart hjerte i ultrafet type¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸Blått hjerteSvart hjerte i ultrafet type¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸Blått hjerte
Skinnende hjerte¸.•*•Fiolett hjerteHAPPYFiolett hjerte¸.•*•Skinnende hjerte
Skinnende hjerte¸.•*•Fiolett hjerteFRIENDSHIPFiolett hjerte¸.•*•Skinnende hjerte
Skinnende hjerte¸.•*•Fiolett hjerteDAYFiolett hjerte¸.•*•Skinnende hjerte
Svart hjerte i ultrafet type¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸Blått hjerteSvart hjerte i ultrafet type¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸Blått hjerteSvart hjerte i ultrafet type¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸Blått hjerteSvart hjerte i ultrafet type¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸Blått hjerteSvart hjerte i ultrafet type¸¸.•*¨¨*•
.¸¸Blått hjerte

So, I grab the opportunity for another celebration (of course). I embrace Friendship Day, and  I am sending warm greetings and thoughts to all my friends: wherever they might be: India, Norway, Greece, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, USA and anywhere else. Now, that can at least never be not cool? The joy and blessings of having good friends in you life, don't you agree? Warm hugs to each and one of you my dear friends: Happy Friendship Day! 

  • A friend is someone who sees through you, and still enjoys the view.(Wilma Askinas)
  • Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget. (unknown)
  • The best mirror is an old friend. (George Herbert)
  • A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. ( Walter Winchell)