Photo Essay – The Hidden Graffiti of Bandra

By Rama Arya – Aug 30, 2014

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The contemplating sage at Nagrana Lane

I moved to Bombay, sorry Mumbai, this February. And I chose Bandra as my home. It was one of those ‘destined’ moves as I like to term it. 🙂

Bandra grows on you. It slowly becomes the center of your life, and you start believing that there is no other world outside of it; an aberration one slowly and gleefully slips into.

When people ask me what is it like to live in Bandra, my answer, with a grin, is everyone walks in slippers, takes rickshaws, eats breakfast for dinner at Good Luck Cafe – an Iranian restaurant – for 110 rupees, prays at Mount Mary’s, meets at Bandstand, Mehboob Studio is the landmark for everything, and you have Shahrukh, Salman, Rekha, Farhan Akhtar, John Abraham, etc. etc. living down the road. It is towering high rises, charming Koli and East Indian villages, and centuries old churches, juxtaposed next to each other in quaint harmony.

Bandra’s bent towards juxtaposition can perhaps be surmised as the very core of its reputation as a culturally and artistically ‘open’ minded suburb, which often blatantly, and at other times in subtle undertones, gets expressed. A classic example of the latter being its graffiti decorated walls that have been written much about. Google Bandra + Graffiti, and you will know what I mean. They are works of art in their own right created by National Institute of Design students and aspiring artists.

But there are works you will not find on Google. As I walked back from St Peter’s Church on Hill Road this morning, powerful unabashed statements on gender issues met my eye. A street vendor selling keys, seeing my excitement, suggested I take the tiny side lane, Nagrana Lane, by the bus stop further down. “There is much more there. You will like it!” I didn’t just like it. I was smitten. Bandra was turning its magic on me, a bit more.

Graffiti essay: Tackling gender inequality on Hill Road

Executed by Population First as part of their Laadli campaign against sex selection and the falling sex ratio in India.

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Ms. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

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Gender inequality: The unheard voice

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The multitasking woman = X

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My favorite… Bharat pita ki jai

Graffiti essay: Modernism at Nagrana Lane

The street art in Nagrana Lane is the creative expression of Harshvardhan Kadam painting under the pseudonym Ink Brush N Me.

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A walk through art

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Ink brush n me

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Left: Detail, ‘Fuck Bollywood’; Right: Woman at the white window

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Flaming locks and the hijab

Graffiti period: Steps of Bomanjee, circa 1879

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(This post was originally published on returnoftheprodigal.wordpress.com on Mar 29, 2014 and was republished here with the author’s consent. Visit the original post here.)

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