Every year, a 9-day Festival of the Arts, ‘The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival’ is held in Mumbai. Initiated in 1999, it is a celebration of the culture and various Art forms of India, with an aim to involving the community and so helping in their preservation. The historic ‘Kala Ghoda‘ district is the hub of Mumbai’s Art World…lined with Art Galleries, Museums, Libraries, located in heritage buildings dating back to the days of the Raj.
The Festival is a colorful spectacle of Art installations, street acts, musical concerts, movie screenings, and a myriad of workshops in various fields. The energy is palpable as families wander through the pedestrian zone, cameras at the ready, taking in the sights, catching the latest street acts, grabbing a bite to eat, jostling to shop at the many interesting stalls that line the walk, and studying the many installations that dot the landscape. I have happy memories of wandering here when we were last in Mumbai – it was much smaller then, less crowded although thoroughly enjoyable. Like everything else in this city – it has ballooned in size and scope and attendance so that it is quite difficult to walk around without stepping on anonymous toes and warding off strange elbows with your own, as we found out when we were there last Sunday! Since Ishaan was with us, I was quite paranoid of holding on to his hand, lest the crowd swallow him up!! There were scouts too – they approached us to ask whether we would be interested in Ishaan being a child model and Hubby, much to my annoyance gave them his number!! Not that he has a say in the matter. My decision is quite final and it’s a resounding NO!
We did however soak in the vibrant atmosphere of the street – it’s impossible not to! I took pictures of the various installations – the theme this year seemed to be skulls made out of refuse – which would explain this gigantic model made out of disemboweled computer parts!
A scooter shaped like a fly reminiscent of a recent Bollywood blockbuster titled ‘Makkhi’, (fly in Hindi);
A giant pair of glasses served as a showcase for the normal-sized ones ensconced within;
A shiny copper bicycle encouraging Mumbai denizens towards an environment-friendly lifestyle;
Totem poles made out of recyclable materials and a green map of India strung with fairy lights that lit up when cyclists pedaled hard creating energy!
The boys ate ice-cream and we all enjoyed a 20 min tightrope performance by a troupe of local acrobats! Ishaan was extremely excited but confused by the boy on stilts and utterly in awe of the boy balancing on the rope all to riveting beat of handheld drums! It was his first time watching a show like this and I’m so glad he was able to experience it, even in the 21st century It took me back to my childhood, when there were several such troupes wandering around Bombay, usually families, where the children performed all sorts of dare-devilry and acrobatics! ‘Dombari’ they are called in Marathi and their appearance was always exciting if a little scary!
With the boys in tow, I didn’t get to shop or even browse, but I’m going back with a friend, during school hours tomorrow, to do exactly that! There are always a couple of stalls that are out of the ordinary
Wish me Luck