Perhaps, the best way to explore a city is to observe it through the lens of art, theater and culture and the social movements deeply rooted in the history.
One such event which is synonymous to the city where I am born and brought up- Mumbai is the Kalaghoda Arts Festival which takes place every year in the month of February.
What does Kalaghoda mean?
Kalaghoda literally means ‘Black Horse’ . A black stone statue was built by a Jewish philanthropist David Sasson and King Edward 7 was mounted on the statue.
The area at Kalaghoda has art galleries, museums and libraries. This part of the town, is also one my favourite places to just be.
I leave you with wandering pictures that I could relate to.
Bastar, is a district in Chattisgargh, a state in central India. Many Indians assume that the place is unsafe and it is labeled to breed Naxalisim. The hobo feels that at times, you have to look beyond the obvious to do justice to the rich art and cultural heritage.
Bastar artifacts are made by the tribal’s and many of them depict the rural lifestyle of the tribals. These artifacts are prepared from Dhokra technique and use cow dung, paddy husk and beeswax and red soil to prepare the handicraft. The process to see these being made is worth a watch and calls for a visit!
I saw a poster -‘Lost? Learn Geography’ with a world map and this led me to one of the stalls. After a bit of interaction with the owner, I learnt BrownBox Toys created some interesting illustrations related to travel. It makes books and toys which take children on ‘trips’ to exciting destinations around the world.
What an interesting way to teach children about Geography through some fun activities. I really wish when I was a child, I had these things to learn from.
Event: Kalaghoda Arts Festival
Where: Kalaghoda, south Mumbai
When: February 6-February 14
Disclaimer: There is a lot to the festival apart from the travel things I spoke about. The festival is worth a visit to see the vibrant side of Mumbai.
When the hobo gets nostalgic
While these were some of the travel related things, some of the iconic places at Kalaghoda have shut down or on the verge of shutting down. Simply because they are not able to keep up with the competition of commercialisation or have had management squabbles. For instance, the iconic Samovar Cafe located inside the Jehangir Art Gallery that shut down after five decades.
Rhythm house, another iconic shop for music lovers shut soon and has a goodbye sale going on.
Feels odd to see these iconic places to shut down which were once the heart of the city.
Do you have some art and cultural stories to share? I would love to hear them.