I begin by going to a film made in the movie capitol of India – Mumbai: Slumdog Millionaire. Excellent film, although the SF Chron. film editor, Mick Lasalle didn’t understand it and also mentioned it was in Hindi. I wonder if he saw it at all, since the characters spoke English. This is a remarkable story that reads like the classic Sufi tale: Layla and Majnun, only the lovers are Latika and Jamal Malik. Her name means “elegance” in Hindi, his name translates to ” handsome king,” (a Muslim name). They are orphans from hell-on-earth, the enormous Mumbai slum. His journey to his “beloved” takes him on the impossible hero’s quest. Each searing and terrible blow carries a gift he can use later on to bring him closer to Latika. Karma and dharma flash back to back, and dazzle the viewer. This award-winning film is a remarkable success by director Danny Boyle. He talks about it on You Tube:
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Tribute to all who lost their lives in the attacks on Mumbai
The ear hears it first: a lingering mis-pronouncement ~ Bombay. Here’s a bomb and a bay. The name was first spoken by the Portuguese, then anglicised, some dark seed in the soft hummed syllables of the word – Mummm bai from Mumbadevi, “a goddess,” and Aai, “mother” in Marathi language. Oh, Mumbai! This hurting city needs all our sparkling thoughts to heal and be wrapped in real protection.
What if every mother begins to whisper the words Peace, Kindness, and World Family to her babies, then toddlers, then children, then young adults. She must envision that and imprint the heart of each one in her care, knowing that her words are more powerful than commands of any tyrant, or school of fear and hate. With each mothering person’s milky, whispered suggestions, vengeance and terror attack can and will lose momentum, then meaning, and finally and be retired, like Bombay, darkie, re-tard, DDT. When is the last time you heard someone say, “I’ve got a can of DDT; no more pesky mosquitos!” or “Let’s use frequent flier miles to Constantinople or Babylon.”
In 2007, I traveled to Mumbai for the Barsi, an Indian music memorial concert featuring percussive virtuosos, singers and other musicians, held in a beautiful large hall in honor of the late Ustad Allarakha Khan, India’s great Tabla Master. The concert began before dawn and finished after 10 that evening. Aside from a brief nap on sheets spread on the Green Room floor, most of us sat closely listening, hour after hour to one master performance after another. Sometimes the rhythm was so amazing, the master drummers would shout and gesture on ONE! (in a pattern of 12 or 16). I don’t remember much about eating, but we must have done that. In the evening most of the audience changed into dressier clothes for the final performances. I sipped on bottled water, and reluctantly slipped away before the end of Shakti with Zakir Hussain and John McLaughlin. We had an early morning flight to Delhi, and had arrived in the dark the night before, so I barely saw Mumbai in daylight.
Solomon and Nicole went back for the Barsi last year and took more pictures of Mumbai and had a great time there. He was featured performing as a DJ at The Blue Frog, the premier night club in Mumbai.