It’s a little before 7 on a muggy Saturday morning in March earlier this year.
At Bandra’s Basilica of Our Lady of The Mount, otherwise known as Mount Mary, the morning service is in progress. The stalls outside the Basilica are already open for business. At that time of the morning, there are hardly any people out on the roads; an occasional rickshaw, car or jogger pass by stopping for a quick prayer before going on their way.
I had wanted to attend the morning service at Mount Mary, but the bus that got me to Bandra from Navi Mumbai got delayed. Not wanting to enter the church midway through a service, I decide to wait at the Oratory of Our Lady of Fatima, which is across the road from Mount Mary.
With me is a friend and together we plan to explore Bandra’s Christian heritage that morning by visiting some its places of worship. I pick up a pamphlet on the history of Mount Mary from one of the stalls outside the Basilica and settle down on the steps of the Oratory to read.
Bandra has suddenly become the place to go to for me. Thanks to a combination of work and a friend moving to this area, I have made more trips to Bandra in the last month than in all the 21 years I have lived in Mumbai ! The visits to Bandra have also been more relaxed and I’ve had a great time walking and discovering interesting facets of this beautiful and charming suburb.
Take Bandra’s graffiti or street art for instance. I’ve been aware of them, read about them in newspapers, seen a few in passing, but never really stopped to have a look at them. So, a couple of weeks back, when I came across a series of them painted on the compound wall of St. Peter’s Church on Hill Road, I stopped. I looked. I read. I photographed. And now I’m sharing the best of them with you.
All the images I saw were on the theme of falling sex ratio and gender selection in India and part of a campaign initiated by Population First on the girl child called “Laadli”. According to information given on the campaign’s website, this is “a means of creating mass awareness and raising public conscience against the reprehensible practice of sex selection.” One might wonder, why such a campaign is being run in posh Bandra, in Mumbai even. Till you read what the campaign website has this to say:
The commercial capital of the country – Mumbai, has a sex ratio of 898.