Yeh hai Mumbai Meri Jaan

Gilbert Hill

The minute I read in the papers that there is a Monolith Rock in Bombay that dates back to the Dinosaur Age (It is in Andheri), I decided that I had to rush and have a look at it before it is replaced by a concrete building! We walked up the rock and found a beautiful temple called Gamdevi. What can I say? If such a place existed anywhere else in the world we would have traveled miles  to have a look at it. 

I just got to hear about and I can bet that you did not know about it until now.

Do I win the bet?

(Gamdevi Temple, Picture below)

Salaam Mumbai

 July/Aug 2005

We in Bombay, have been going through a difficult time. We have been hit by a great deluge (heavy rains). There were unprecedented floods… People have lost lives and homes, but it has been heartening to see how neighbors, friends and strangers came to the rescue of those in need.

I am told that the Hyatt Hotel near Santa Cruz opened their doors to all… people were sleeping in the 5-Star’s ballrooms and on their carpets. My daughter whose office is across the hotel, sent sandwiches and food to as many people as she was able to… Volunteers distributed biscuits and tea to those stranded… Dabbawalas waded in water and ensured that their customers received their meal… A bus load of school children in Sion were cared for for 24 hours by a group of pavement dwellers, when the bus was flooded. 

If the spirit of the Bombay-walla had been absent, the city would have perished.

These are trials that come to people’s lives and if you act kindly, in others’ time of need, God reciprocates… He will then not close the doors of heaven to you and ensure that you are loved and that you always have a warm meal…

Do send up at least a prayer for those who have lost so much…

A Reader Responds:

Dear Shakun

It was not just the brave people of Mumbai who rose to the occasion, even the stray dogs showed their spirit.

A leading newspaper dated 29th July carried the story of a lady who was walking down a river like road, she realized she was being followed by a stray dog who refused to go away, she then realized the dog was acting as a guide showing her portions of the road she could walk on without going under. It would run ahead of her, cock its head back and wait till she came ahead and then set off again. It did this till she reached home and then ran off without waiting to be thanked!


The Lord comes in many forms

Where does God reside? Everywhere.

During the 14 years exile of Sri Rama, the latter asked Sage Valmiki where He should reside in the forest.

Sage Valmiki replied: “Tell me where you are not present in the forest and I shall tell you where to reside”

For Draupadi  God came in the form of a cloth, for Prahlada He came from a pillar.

Tulsidas says: “Meet everyone with affection, one never knows in what form the Lord appears!

I have heard that once Shirdi Sai Baba promised to visit a devotees home and partake lunch with them.

The hosts waited and waited but no sign of Sai Baba…

When the devotees affectionately chided Baba for making them wait in vain, Baba replied: ‘But I came and you turned me away!”

Upon thinking hard, the hosts remembered turning away a stray dog who had come looking for a meal!

Another revelation that has come to light during these trying times is that there is NO COMMUNAL DISHARMONY IN MUMBAI AND THE NATURAL HUMAN INSTINCT OF LOVE AND COMPASSION IS WELL AND THRIVING..

Manoj R Nair reports in a leading newspaper:

While the government machinery simply dissolved in the flood waters, groups of citizens were the first to reach out to those trapped in nature’s fury.

…Muslim social groups housed and fed those who were marooned…Sikh women turned out huge meals in the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara at Chembur…The city’s richest shrine, the Sidhi Vinaayak Temple has announced that it will spend Rs one crore on relief work…Churches became major centers of succour, especially the Holy Cross Church in worst hit Kurla, where parishioners did not stop cooking for 10 days…

Joan Baez writes:

Don’t tell me of love everlasting and other sad dreams, I don’t want to hear.

Just tell me of passionate strangers who rescue each other from a lifetime of cares.


The most prominent Walkeshwar temple dates back to the 9th Century.

The name ‘Walkeshwar’ owes its name to ‘Valu ka Ishwar’ meaning ‘Idol made of sand’

It is believed that Lord Ram sent Laxman to Benares to get a Shivalinga to constructed  at this site. Before it could be brought, Sri Ram had an alternative one made from sand. Later the Shivalinga was found at the site where Raj Bhavan now stands. Today if you will see the shivalinga carefully, you will see a hammer dent-the British accidentally broke a part of it before moving it to the current site.

(Courtesy Downtown plus, Sanaya Pavri & Eisha Sarkar)

On a lighter vein (From the internet)

Bombay has no bombs and is a harbour not a bay.

Churchgate has neither a church nor a gate. It is a railway station.

There is no darkness in Andheri.

Lalbaag is neither red nor a garden.

No king ever stayed at Kings Circle.

Nor did Queen Victoria stay at Victoria Terminus.

Nor is there any princess at Princess Street.

Lower Parel is at the same level as Parel

There are no marines or sailors at Marine Lines.

Breach Candy is not a sweetmeat market.

There are no Iron smiths at Lohar chawl.
But it is true that you may get fleeced at Chor Bazaar!

Only in Bombay, you would get Chinese Dosa and Jain Chicken