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February 7, 2013

My many Indias: A week in Bombay

I spent a week in Bombay, the city where I was born. It was such a luxury to just wander around all day, stop when I wanted and settle down to as long or short a sketch as I wanted. Here are a few pieces from that week:

The iconic Gateway of India, built to welcome King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. Completed in 1924. By Indian standards, a very 'recent' monument. 

Gateway of India, Bombay

The Rajabhai Clocktower, a wee bit older, completed in 1878. What I love about these monuments is that they are at the very center of life even today. The clocktower stands by a large ground where there are hundreds of cricket matches being played simultaneously, at almost anytime of the day. The strange curved modern building behind the tower is the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Rajabhai Clocktower again.

Built around the same time is the huge railway terminal, Victoria Terminus. If the name sounds familiar it might be because this is one of the sites of an awful terrorist attack on Bombay. 2 million people (yes I checked my figures) pass through this station everyday.
VT Terminus

St. Thomas Cathedral at Hornimon Circle.  You're stepping back to 1718 now. Outside the church is about as noisy as it gets. Inside, it is shockingly peaceful. And the walls are lined with eulogies to fallen British soldiers.

St Thomas Cathedral, Hornimon Circle

This is Crawford Market, built in 1869 and until recently, THE wholesale fruit and vegetable market for the huge metropolis of India. I was served many cups of hot chai as I sat and sketched this piece.

Osmanbhai holds up a pomegranate.

This is Khotachiwadi, an old neighborhood in Bombay, that, miraculously, hasn't changed much in decades. It has narrow lanes and old Portuguese style homes. I visited on the last day of Sankranti, the kite-flying festival. Kite flying in India is a highly competitive sport. Kite string is coated with a mixture of rice paste and very finely powdered glass, and the whole purpose of kite flying to get your kite high up in the sky and then cut down another kite with your kitestring. This guy on the balcony to the left got 2 kites up in the sky while I was sketching, but both got cut down. I am told my dad was an expert kite flyer when he was a kid. And a ruthless kite cutter. He lived right by here, and as I watched grown men and little kids fly kite, it was not hard to imagine him running around the narrow lanes, flying his kite...

Khotachi Wadi on Sankranti Day

I have so many sketches from Bombay, I have 5 or 6 blogposts on my site sketchaway.wordpress.com about them.

18 comments :

Dailysketches said...

You have brought India alive for me! It is a place I have longed to visit.
You should get these wonderful sketches published in a book as they are exceptional.I really enjoyed the history,too.

bh yoo said...

I enjoy your great works in India every time!

Murray Dewhurst said...

Really enjoying your India posts Suhita!

Nickita Francisca Dias said...

awesomeee work Sunita ^_^...<3 the sketches..kisses

memi said...

All so lovely, Suhita...

arihoma said...

Totally blown away!

miked said...

These are stunning!
Thanks for sharing.

Cathy Gatland said...

Your sketches are bursting with life, colour and atmosphere Suhita, I so enjoy them!

Eugene said...

Pretty, lovely and lively sketches!

Shiho Nakaza said...

I love the liveliness of your sketches - makes me feel like I'm traveling to India!

Stephen Gardner said...

A delight to behold.

Veronica Lawlor said...

wonderful to see these drawings

VHein said...

Absolutely a wonderful series, Suhita--these are so rich and full of life!

Marcia Milner-Brage said...

You've created a remarkable, bursting with life tapestry of your homeland. The cats in these really captured my attention.

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