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Walking through Panjrapole- A Photo Essay

"Where do you live in Chembur?"
"Panjrapole"
"Err, where is that?" 
"You know, where the Freeway begins?" 
"Ah that. I never knew"

(Excerpt from many conversations I have had with friends who are residents of Chembur)
Last year in June, I took up admission for an MA program at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar. It made sense to move into a house closer to college. So I chose to live on Din Quarry Road, in Panjrapole, a seven minute walk to the old campus. But I live at the foothills, and I take a detour while the road continues to climb right to the top, going all the way above the tunnel of the Freeway. Last evening, I skipped my detour and walked up the slope, as high as the road would take me. 
Panjrapole, which loosely translated means an enclosed yard, typically built to care for cattle, birds, and other small animals can be found all over India. The Bombay Panjrapole at Bhuleshwar was established in 1934 following the Dog R…
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Life at TISS: Reflections

My laptop is down. It seems to have caught a cold. It refuses to come on. The battery is fully charged, I checked, but it still doesn't come on. In the foothills of the BARC hills where I spend most of my day it rains incessantly, much to our delight and disappointment. Delight because the TISS campus and the surroundings have turned resplendent in green so peculiar of the monsoons. And disappointment because our underwear doesn't dry. If the humble loincloth can take two days to dry under a fan, one can imagine the state of our clothes. The laundry service on campus is kind enough to wash a bucket full of clothes for a sum of Rs. 20 per bucket but the damn sun doesn't appear. It is on a paid leave that we at the HR Department don't approve of.



From the highest floor of the library building #LifeAtTiss #BombayRainsA photo posted by Rushikesh Kulkarni (@rushikeshgk) on Jul 13, 2016 at 12:05pm PDT This is a interesting phase in my life. I am being reflective about it be…

Reimagining Futures - Journey Begins at TISS

When I was in school I remember seeing print ads of Childline. The number was 1098 and a child holding a phone was the logo. What a great idea it had seemed to me back then, I could simply call up a number if I was beaten up at school, I thought. Several years later, sitting at the Convention Centre of the TISS, Bombay campus I found out that it all began there. What was meant to be a personal project of Jeroo Billimoria has now transformed into a global movement, along with the Ministry of Women and Child Development adopting the programme as its own
The occasion was the Director's Address as part of our Orientation for the academic year 16-18. Dr. Parasuraman was to speak about the various Field Action Projects that are undertaken at TISS by various faculty members and students belonging to the myriad centres that call this campus their home. It was amazing how candid, sensitive and witty the talk was. Apart from the fact that many of the programmes which began here were then lat…

Scalding Hot Water

"Burn in hell"

What does that even mean? Have you wondered? It sounds painful, of course. But there may not be anything such as hell. However, the said thing to do in hell is a real life, actual thing. But why not drown in hell or why is hell full of fire and not simply a gas chamber? Because fire hurts. Immensely. It is worse than a deep cut. And infinitely worse than a bruise. My tryst with fire has been very limited. Never played with the red flower, you see.

Your skin is a wonderful organ, the biggest organ overall and also externally. Internally that position is occupied by the liver which for many of you, I am sure bears the brunt of your life's ups and downs. Coming back to the skin, it is made of many layers primarily to protect your inner machinery from any damage. It has plenty of other responsibilities but it is the first line of defence for any external attacks. Such as boiling hot water. Or Scalding Hot Water.

As I was to discover one Sunday morning of Janu…

The Story Of Santacruz

A little while ago, I found myself on the SV Road stretch near Santacruz. It was rush hour and I didn't want to negotiate my way through the vendors, shoppers and commuters thronging on all the approach roads to the station. So on a whim, I turned right into a quiet lane that seemed going towards the station. One of the address boards of a shop read - Chapel Lane. Fifty meters later, I knew why it was called so.

A small cross encased in glass stood high in one corner. Below, I noticed a marble plaque. This site was significant. After all this is what lent the entire neighbourhood its name.


Here's what the plaque read

This site is sacred & historic to the suburb of Santa Cruz. 

The words Santa Cruz translate as Holy Cross in Portuguese. Legend has it that the East Indian natives of the village Khulbowree erected a crudely made cross on a hillock which became a landmark because it could be sighted for miles amidst vast paddy fields. The original inhabitants, who were cultivat…

A Chapter from a Dog's Life

Stray dogs are amazing beings. They are happy to live off the leftovers found in the garbage dumps or on scraps thrown at them. They find shelter under a parked truck in the day or curl up like a ball in a corner at night. Rain, sunshine, disease and hunger don't deter them. They aren't owned or cared for by anyone but they fiercely defend the territory that they live in. It is not hard to imagine how the idiom - it is a dog's life came into existence. Pet dogs lead a far comfortable life, irrespective of the breed.

As much as I'd like, I have not had a pet dog except for this one short time when I was 13 (Suzie died within 6 months). To make up for it, I have always forged friendship with all the stray dogs I come across on a daily basis. Feeding them occasionally, playing with them and picking their ticks off their hide means time well spent. Sometimes we have even helped secure a corner for their new born puppies and cared for the minor injuries. But when Whitey, t…

The Portrait of a Photographer

Early January of 2015.

It had been a good day. A meeting with a friend had helped clear out a lot of things in my head. The way forward from there on, seemed a bit clearer to me. The Starbucks where we had met was a new one, located not very far the chowk. I wandered back to the bus stop to catch the 266 back to the station. But the sun had not set and it had been a while since I had visited the lake.




The lake, for most, simply cannot exist. For Lokhandwala can't have a lake. A lake in Lokhandwala? Lol. Just too many cross roads and shopping streets they say. But walk down on the Backroad as it is known, towards the jogger's park but don't enter it. Keep walking straight and within a few meters, look to your right. A small clearing opens up into what looks like a small pond but a healthy one. The Lokhandwala lake has over 70 species of birds, 50 % of which are winter migrants. It was a late January evening and I was very happy to see many ducks, a few raptors and also what s…