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