Bandra’s Jogger’s Park

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Rita Rodricks
18th July, 2017

Jogger’s Park is situated at the beginning of Carter Road Promenade

It was conceptualized and developed by hockey coach Oliver Andrade

The park juts out into the Arabian Sea you can feel the cool breeze

Sit on a bench and enjoy the sunset surrounded by trees

It used to be a dumping ground but he turned it into a tourist attraction

With the financial assistance of some prominent builders it was built according to his satisfaction

At the entrance there is a plaque which reads “From Sir with Love”

Even though he is no more I am sure he is watching from above

There are three jogging tracks made of tiles, mud and concrete

You can choose to walk, run, stroll or just take a seat

The children’s play area has swings, slides and even a sand pit

Toddlers can safely run around without the fear of being hit

The Geese are cackling it looks like they have a lot to say

 While in the bird’s enclosure the birds are happy chirping away

I remember my son when he was little running after the guinea fowls they made his day

I would try to keep pace with him but it was a losing battle I must say

The pond is where you can see multi colored fish going around in circles

But to see the yellow ducklings swimming is what makes you believe in miracles

There is a large family of Rabbits who are always busy munching and hopping around

If you want a good view of the Rock garden you can climb the bridge which is above the pond

The park was an inspiration for a Bollywood movie with the same name

There are joggers who are movie and television stars who have found fame

When my children were young we used to visit the park every evening so they could play

Whether it was raining or sunny my friend Gevan and her little daughter Alison would be waiting without any delay!

Bandra Bazar

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Rita Rodricks
16th July, 2017

Bandra Bazar also called Big Bazar is where you can get almost anything and everything

From Food Produce to Furnishings they have it all; you can even choose to buy a gold wedding ring

It’s a narrow road with shops, street vendors, people and vehicles on both sides vying for space

The sound of honking is deafening but the customers bargaining will not budge from their place

At the junction is where three roads converge there is always pandemonium all day long

Everybody seems to be in a mighty hurry there are arguments if they think you are wrong

The Fruit Vendor has cut up fruit of various kind you can make a fruit salad if you like

Jeff has Biryani, Tandoori and an array of kebabs each one is different no two are alike

Solomon Stores has hardware supplies from nails and spanners to buckets and mops it is your call

If you want to buy crockery, cutlery or home appliances then Mahalaxmi Steel has it all

Variety has three stores that stock up on Furnishings, Fabrics and clothes for men, women and children

You can order school uniforms, curtains and cushion covers which they will home deliver to you it is your decision

National Bakery has a selection of sweet and savory food items there is always a rush for bread in the morning and in the evening

Hot Chips has tasty south Indian snacks that can be packed especially if you are going with your friends on an outing

Good luck Hosiery Stores has inner and under wear in all sizes and color for everyone

They also have everything for a new born baby from a rattle to diapers with designs that are fun

Opposite is 100 Bazar Road it is where my friend Shirley and her family reside in Diana House

She was my classmate and even though she is now in Canada we still keep in touch via her spouse

Kalidas is a provision and general store which is more than a hundred years old

It is quaint and timeless and is also popular for its herbal remedies I am told

Shree Laxmi is a popular south Indian vegetarian restaurant which serves delicious food

They also have another Bar cum Restaurant where the locals can be viewed

At the Fish Market the fisherwomen will woo you with the day’s catch

They will bargain with you endlessly it is a losing match

The Butcher will cut and clean your meat according to your needs

You can choose your chicken pieces for the dish you are cooking indeed

There is a mosque in the midst and you can hear the call for prayer at noon

While at the chapel a few steps away you can hear hymns in tune

There are a couple of tailoring, footwear and stationary shops

While the second hand shop has vintage stuff including props

The street vendors hawk everything from vegetables and fruits to cheap plastic ware

At festival times they display colorful decorations and fairy lights it looks like a fair

 Mohanraj Trading is where you can buy silver, gold or even change currency

If you are travelling abroad they will do your paperwork for a fee

Suddenly the air is filled with the resonant sound of the trumpet

It is only Joe who lives there who is practicing with much spirit

He plays English oldies and the latest Bollywood hit songs along with the rest

You can hear him at weddings, parties and funerals he is surely the best

I have finished my shopping and I am done for the day

Met some of my friends and acquaintances along the way!

 

 

Walk in the Park

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Rita Rodricks
14th July, 2017

Every evening at five thirty I meet my friend Ottie in the park

We walk for an hour after which we sit on a bench until it gets dark

As I enter there is a group of grandmothers who are always dressed up sitting pretty

They are always discussing recipes and talking about their grandchildren who live out of the city

The elderly gentlemen are always having long discussions it is mainly about politics

They may not always be in agreement but to prove a point will tap their walking sticks

The little toddlers are happy to take a few steps on the grass before they fall

Their doting mothers run to catch them but they have decided to crawl

The older children have a fun time on the swings, slides and jungle gym

While others practice yoga and do exercises to keep trim

There is a fan- tail bird that pecks a stray kitten and flies out of reach

It seems like they enjoy their own game of hide and seek

The garden is blooming with plants and flowers of different colors it’s a sight to behold

 There are also a couple of trees which are more than a hundred years old

I always return home feeling relaxed, peaceful and calm

Now please excuse me while I shower and then have my dinner without a qualm!

Happy Birthday Lisa

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Rita Rodricks
13th July, 2017

Dear Lisa as you celebrate your birthday today

You must be having a wonderful time on your Europe holiday

Your two children Janelle and Jayden have brought you much joy

So has Ronan your pet dog whose company you enjoy

I admire your love and loyalty towards my brother Jervis

Here is wishing you a very Happy Birthday with champagne fizz!

Bandra’s Bandstand

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Rita Rodricks   
12th July, 2017

Bandra’s Bandstand is a promenade along the Arabian Sea

It is also known as Land’s end where the land meets the Sea

At the beginning is St. Andrew’s Church the oldest in the vicinity

The sun’s rays hit the altar on both solstices which makes it look so pretty

Salman Khan, Bollwood’s favorite actor resides in Galaxy Apartments, he loves to cycle

Every Sunday evening there is a mob of people waiting for a glimpse of their idol

Prarthanalaya Chapel and Liturgical Art Centre is for prayer and religious items

Clergy Home is where the retired and aged priests live, while passing you can hear hymns

The SB Bhabha Sanatorium is for the Parsi Senior Citizens who have no home

It was Byramjee Jeejeebhoy a Parsi who built the road parallel to the sea so people could roam

Along the promenade are a jogging track and a park for young and old

On the rocks you will see romancing couples under their umbrellas who are so bold

‘Mannat’ is Shah Rukh Khan a Bollywood’s superstar’s palatial mansion

He has built a huge building behind his heritage villa which is an expansion

The Amphitheatre has different levels and is for community gatherings

Celebrate Bandra, musical concerts and Christmas caroling is their thing

During the monsoons you can see the angry waves crash against the promenade wall

While the thunder and lightning put up a live show that will leave you enthralled

The Hotel Taj Land’s End is for the tourists and the rich

Café Sea-Side which overlooks the sea is for a cup of tea and a sandwich

The Castella de Aguade is a heritage fort built in 1640 by the Portuguese

It served as a watchtower overlooking the sea; today people go there to enjoy the breeze

The Band Stand is where the band used to play but now people go there to enjoy the view

Opposite is Father Agnel’s Ashram which has a church, school and a college too

The Bandra-Worli Sea Link all lit up looks majestic in the night

Take a drive down the bridge with your friends to enjoy the sight!

Shopping on Hill Road, Bandra

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Rita Rodricks
5th July, 2017

Hill Road in Bandra is the best shopping street in Mumbai

There is so much to do you would need the whole day to buy

For traditional, ethnic and designer wear there is Elco Arcade

You can even get an outfit in twenty four hours tailor made

Sona shopping centre is for beautiful fabric, inner wear and readymade clothes

My neighbor Tailor Majeed has his own shop there where he can replicate any dress pattern I chose

Sagar has trendy casual and formal wear for men, women and children

They also have swim wear and comfortable foot wear that you can walk in

Wedding and First Holy Communion dresses are available at Parison

For artificial bouquets, tiaras, boutonnieres and confetti Wax House is the place to be in

Check-up has formal and informal clothing only for men

They give you an extra shirt when you have purchased ten

Premsons and Pleasant have women clothing in plus sizes too

Trousers, Leggings, Dresses, Kurtis and fancy tops that will amaze you

La Judi has footwear from flip flops, sneakers, fancy sandals and boots which are good

For a new born there is Design Touch which has everything from a cradle to baby food

Reliance Trends is a shopping mall that is huge in size

Next door is Marks and Spencer which is highly priced

Cheap Jack is for matching buttons, Laces, Bows, fancy dress costumes and the rest

If you want to buy a gift or souvenir then Something Special above is the best

The Dollar Store has Chinese made goods which entice you with the novelty and price

You can never leave without purchasing unnecessary items without thinking twice

Motas has party decorations you just need to decide on a theme

Wigs, costume wear, placards, all available in a color scheme

The street vendors will woo you with an array of colorful wares

From sun glasses to clothing and books, with prices you cannot compare

You can view the latest movie in the plush theatre Le Reve at a high cost

Or you can snack on tasty south Indian fare in Amrut Sagar which is across

Barbeque Nation has an extensive non vegetarian buffet for lunch and dinner

If you are vegetarian and relish north Indian fare then Elco Veg Restaurant will be the winner

Mahima Mangalore Stores has tasty south Indian food items which you can pack

If you want a hot cup of tea or coffee then Balaji Restaurant it is along with a snack

Yoko Sizzlers will deliver your platter to your table smoking hot

If it is sea food you crave then Jai Hind Lunch Home is where you trot

The Bandra Post Office where you can mail your letter is a heritage site

While the Parsi Fire Temple a beautiful structure is a wonderful sight

Bandra Medical Stores is for all your toiletries and medicine prescriptions including your pet

Next door is Godrej Nature Basket for all your local and imported food products that you need to get

So if you are a shopaholic, Hill Road, Bandra is the place to visit

I can assure you there is not much that you will be able to resist!

 

 

 

 

The New Dinner Plates

Rita Rodricks
22nd June, 2017

One day when we were young children my father bought six new dinner-plates for ten rupees each. My father being an artist had an eye for beautiful things. He would be the one selecting the color of the walls in our home and the furnishings. He would even select our clothes occasionally and buy my mother the most gorgeous silk saris. The plates were white ceramic plates with a small red flower design and green leaves. We were told that we were not allowed to use the plates as they were breakable and were for guests who visited us.  My sister Coretta or Cutu as we fondly called her was barely a few years old and she decided to serve herself dinner on the new plate, on seeing this my father warned her not to use the plate as the plate would break. Cutu who could match my father in his temper lifted the plate and brought it crashing down on our red and white sunmica table saying ‘There the plate is broken now’ The Plate shattered into pieces, we were all silent waiting for the explosion from my father but he was dumbstruck. Nobody messes with Cutu. That round surely went to her!

 

 

Costa Lady – The Bootlegger

Rita Rodricks
15th June, 2017

My parents loved their liquor and our relatives and friends loved it even more since it was free at our house along with free food and accommodation. More than fifty-five years ago there were no licensed liquor shops to purchase booze. There was this woman whose name was Mary who supplied my father with his regular quota of liquor which was of course illegal as one could not distill liquor in the house. For some reason my father called her “Costa Lady”, Costa being her surname. My father made her the godmother and her son Joseph the godfather of my youngest sister Candy. Costa Lady had three children, two boys and a girl. She admitted them into boarding schools in Goa, their native place to ensure that they got an education and did not want to keep them in the house which was also a Bar and not a very conducive environment for children to grow up in. There used to be regular raids by the police who would break all the distilling equipment and take money as bribes. Her children did complete their education, got jobs, married and had families of their own. They all took good care of their mother in her old age. Costa Lady’s husband used to work as a BEST bus driver but he died drinking probably all the free booze in the house. She would sell liquor by the bottle and by the peg. My father would often send me to her house to get the liquor when his stock was over. He had a running account with her which he would pay periodically. Getting to her house was an ordeal because there were no street lights and she lived quite a distance away from the main road, it was a maze and I had to carefully negotiate my way. Added to my woes used to be the barking stray dogs of which I was petrified but was even more petrified to refuse my father. When I finally got there she would pour the liquor into a glass bottle and give it to me. Sitting on the wooden benches outside her house would be her customers having their drinks. Now the only good part of me getting there was the small snacks that were sold to the customers having their drinks. It would normally be boiled eggs, boiled gram or even fried fish and she would generously give me a portion of whatever was there to eat. She was a very good cook and very often my father would send fish for her to prepare for us whenever we went to Juhu. Her fish curry and stuffed pomfret were mouth-watering. The liquor that she distilled used to be made of various seasonal fruits like oranges, sweet-limes, berries and my father would proudly inform his drinking partners about the wonderful quality of the liquor that they were drinking. He swore that her liquor was the best and stayed faithful to it till she finally stopped distilling after her children grew up and started earning. She went off to Dubai and then to Canada with her daughter. Of course by then liquor was freely available in the shops and my father switched to drinking ‘Bonnie Scott’ whisky.

 

 

Cross Feast in May

Rita Rodricks   
16th June, 2017

There was a stone cross which was across the road from our house in Juhu so on the last Sunday of May we used to celebrate the Cross-Feast.  May is the month when cross-feasts are celebrated in Mumbai. My father would organize the entire festivities sitting on a coir cot in the compound of our house. All our relatives, friends and neighbors would be invited. An entire pig would be bought and made into various dishes for the feast. Boiled Gram was a must at a Cross-Feast, which was made in a huge vessel cooked on firewood outside the house. Somebody was sent to bring Flames of the Forest flowers also called May flowers. The cross after being scrubbed clean was decorated with the flowers, a garland was put on the cross and candles were lit while saying the rosary in the evening. The rosary would be lengthy, prayers would be said for all the dead people of the family and it would end with a hymn ‘Showers of Blessing’ and we would heave a sigh of relief that it was over. My parents were not very religious but I think they tried to inculcate the faith in us because they thought it was their duty. I think the celebration was more important to them it showed their status in Society. The Cross Feast Party was all about eating, drinking, singing and dancing with much mirth and enjoyment!

 

 

 

 

My friend Ottie

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Rita Rodricks
4th July, 2017

Ottie is my walk and talk friend from the park

She is always well attired I must remark

She has three gorgeous happily married daughters

But Ottie looks like their sister and not their mother

Her four grandchildren always make her smile

For them she would always go that extra mile

She is a talented seamstress who has tailored many a dress

From ethnic wear to Bridal gowns she has been a success

She loves to cook and experiment with new dishes

Preparing favorite food for the family according to their wishes

She also practices yoga and rides a bike

Is always open to new things that is her like

She is always cheerful, smiling and full of life

That is Ottie for you she is no ordinary housewife!