A Pictorial essay of ” NARALI( NARIAL) POORNIMA” celebrations in Worli Village of Mumbai.

Thursday (11/8/2022): – 2022 NARALI PURNIMA CELEBRATION IN WORLI KOLIWADA VILLAGE OF MUMBAI:- Nārali Poornima(Nariyal Poornima) is a ceremonial day observed by Hindu fishing communities in Maharashtra particularly around Mumbai and the Konkan coast. It is held on the full-moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan which falls around July or August and this year it happens to be Thursday(11/8/2022) . Today offerings such as rice, flowers and coconuts are offered to Lord Varuna, the god of ocean and waters. Today is also “RAKHSHA BANDHAN” day which involves women tying a rakhi or amulet on the wrists of their brothers. In the evening at 1600 hrs cycled from my home in Old Prabhadevi road to Golfadevi temple situated next to the “I.N.S Trata” Indian coast guard regional headquarters in Worli Koliwada Village attired in my “Raincoat Uniform” as there was a continuous on-off drizzle of rain . After observing young kid’s breaking coconuts outside the famous “GOLFADEVI TEMPLE” cycled downhill to main Worli Koliwada village where i came across the youth engrossed in the competition of breaking coconuts.Coconuts are broken throughout the day but the main religious processions take place in the evening along the road leading to Worli Fort .The entire narrow Worli Koliwada road was crowded with people, devotee’s and tourists. A local resident observing the procession and local band’s playing loud drum’s introduced me to local Worli Koliwada folk singer Mr Chintamani.Shivdikar who was decked in gold ornaments. The devotees worship Lord Varuna offering coconut’s to Varuna and ask for his blessings. Devotees visit the temple in a procession along with the sound of drums and local music to perform a puja for Varuna and ask for calm water and avoidance of natural water calamities. I myself although not a fisherman have survived 23 years of on/Off sailing on the high sea’s, river’s and Oceans across the Globe employed as a “Marine Engineer” on ship’s. Yes, any person who has sailed on any type of vessel, irrespective of size or tonnage of the vessel understands that luck and judgement of weather conditions besides personal navigation or engineering skills make a difference in having a safe sailing or fishing expedition. After quitting sea sailing in 2006 and evolving into a “Investor Entrepreneur” having ample time at my disposal working from home have been a regular visitor to my neighborhood fish market’s of Worli and Agar bazaar for my daily menu of fish. If not “Investor Entrepreneurship” would have probably ventured into the fishing business as water and fishing fascinates me with the program “Sea Monsters” featuring legendary television angler Jeremy Wade being one of my favorite wild life television programs. All the ladies participating in the dance procession’s were also fascinatingly dressed in their local Koli folk attire of barawar saree ( 12 yard saree) and immense gold jewelry. It did rain a bit during the ceremonial processions undertaken by different Koli communities along the narrow single road . Worli village is one of the oldest original fishing village’s of Bombay from which this modern Megapolis developed and even in 2022 it seems time has stood still in Worli village which has some Old World Bungalow houses as also a lot of slums which crept up in recent decades as Bombay now Mumbai’s population expanded beyond imagination. After observing a few processions, cycled back through the dense crowd towards the entrance road of Worli village stopping at “Krishna ” take-away for a snack of Mumbai’s famous street food “Batata Wada”.Visit unique Worli Koliwada Village situated in the heart of concrete jungle Mumbai at least once in your lifetime as Mumbai evolves rapidly and change in the city’s topography is permanent.Ahoy!

NOTE:- When visiting and commuting in Koliwada village or visiting Worli Fort either walk the distance or use a 2- wheeler , preferably a cycle

The Intelligent Bold pet crow .

Monday(2/5/2022):- Is this crow a replacement for late Alexandrine parakeet ” Mittoo” ? How many have a free flying crow as a pet ? Formerly the house balcony ledge was the favorite resting spot of late Queen cat Matahari(2007-2020) and upon her death the same spot was a favorite perching place of this particular crow. Today morning for the first time since 22 August 2020 this crow decided to enter the hall while I was on the desk lap top .Looked up from my laptop and was stunned to see this crow sitting on the sofa in the hall akin to a visitor . Unbelievable .I first immediately switched off the fan and chased it onto the gallery thinking it would fly out of the open balcony window . To my astonishment it began to inspect the gallery, confused by the giant 34 year old Bonsai tree and later also sitting on Mittoo’s cage. Normally “Tomcat Matata” is given his daily meals in the gallery and seems this intelligent crow had decided to enter the gallery to steal some food from Matata’s plate in his absence or still better demanding his personal share of a meal.
For 22 years from 1992 to 2014 this gallery was Alexandrine Parakeet, ” Mittoo’s” home. I would normally close the gallery sliding windows and release “Mittoo” from his cage for about an hour allowing him to fly around the enclosed gallery as a exercise. This crow’s behavior today morning reminded me of Mittoo whom I left daily in this enclosed gallery for exercising his wings. India’s best cartoonist Late R.K.Laxman whose favourite bird of observation was the crow on whom he composed numerous sketches would have been amazed by the behaviour of this particular common crow proving his hypothesis , quote, “Crows are more intelligent than humans”. Do you believe in the paranormal ?Truth is stranger than fiction.

” FLAMINGO WATCH” in Navi Mumbai.

Today , Monday(25/4/2022) being my weekly ” Swimming Holiday” decided to motorcycle to Navi Mumbai to understand the ” FLAMINGO” watch tourism and boy I was not disappointed.A unbelievable sight and at 0715 hrs I couldn’t believe that after riding for just 1 hr from Prabhadevi I was in the midst of pure unadulterated nature.Finding the location was easy as the ” Palm Beach road of Navi Mumbai was akin to a Moto Gp racing circuit , World class.Now only hope that in a decade entire Mumbai has roads akin to the model” Palm Beach road” of Navi Mumbai.Asking directions with local early morning joggers/ cyclists reached ” NRI Seawoods colony” .Had visited this colony way back in 1997 for a Woodstock style entire night rock concert.In 1997 had travelled by train to ” Seawoods N.R.I” colony, a event to remember. At that time ” Seawoods NRI complex” was the jewel residential address of Navi Mumbai.After decades in 2022 the ” Delhi Public School” is the landmark building next to ” Seawoods N.R.I complex” , the entire ” Palm Beach ” road locality a ” First World residential” locale.The FLAMINGO flock congregate on the brackish creek water just near the ” Passenger Water Terminus” gate situated a little further from Seawoods NRI colony . Note that the flock of flamingos also change locations within the mangrove creek depending on the tide.I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time.Parked my bike and the rest was being in a bird watcher’s paradise , unbelievable sight.Also spotted painted storks , spoon bills and egrets among the aquatic birds I could identify.A flock of flamingos flew over me , a sight I witnessed for the first time having travelled to numerous National parks across India as well as Africa.Its akin to being at Lake Nakuru in Kenya and hope this site is preserved and the mangrove forest does not fall prey to human development.After viewing the site near ” Seawoods N.R.I colony” rode back towards Vashi on Palm Beach road and entered the road leading to Maritime Training centre ” T.S.CHANAKYA” .As a retired ” Marine engineer” with On/Off 23 years of sea sailing employment on various ships I was filled with nostalgia on viewing the elite training premises of “T.S.Chanakya”.Life had turned full circle and in my bid to view ” FLAMINGO POINT” I had also got a chance to get a external view of India’s elite training Marine institute.There is a paved cycling/ motorcycling road along the periphery of the creek encircling the vast estate of ” T.S Chanakya” .Motorcycling along this beautiful creek facing road came across a flock of cormorants but not a single Flamingo proving that ” LUCK” and timing is a crucial factor in bird watching. FINALLY FROM ” T.S Chanakya” rode back home through heavy morning office traffic.A day of ” FLAMINGO AND AQUATIC BIRD WATCHING” to remember.The flamingos stay in this vicinity of Navi Mumbai from December to May until arrival of Monsoons.

A study of a unique “Stray Cat Case” proving cat’s are intelligent although independent of human control.

The tale of 2 Alpha male stray cat’s living outside the Mahalaxmi racecourse in Mumbai : -. Since the closure of the “M.G.M.O( Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Olympic Pool) at Shivaji Park due to “Covid 19” pandemic restrictions have been cycling daily morning for the past few months to the Mahalaxmi racecourse for my fitness exercises. One day on Wednesday(17-11-2021) after my exercise on the racecourse while returning to the entrance/exit gate spotted 2 Tomcat’s outside the gates of the compound of ” Fellowship of the physically handicapped vocational training centre” situated adjacent to the the Mahalaxmi racecourse .The white cat seemed ferocious. From the gate he was eyeing the other Tomcat sitting on the pavement. Later at approximately 0700 hrs a lady came and fed these cats some food laying the food on the parapet of the fencing of ” Fellowship of the physically handicapped vocational training centre” boundary compound as seen in the photo. On inquiring she told me she feeds these two stray cat’s daily as also other stray animal’s on her morning walk and no wonder they were waiting for their daily breakfast at 0700 hrs in the morning. Cycling daily later observed this unique situation where a young dog was afraid of these 2 Male Tomcats. This female dog just watched these two cats finish their meal. The brown and white cat eating outside the grill was the dominant male alpha cat and the young dog was mortally afraid of it occasionally relishing the grains of rice falling from the parapet while the brown/white Tomcat’s feasts. Its a myth that all cats are afraid of dog’s or that dogs attack cats on sight. Have been observing this unique Cat’s/Dog real life street play for almost a week since first spotting them on Wednesday(17/11/2021). Sadly in January 2022 one fine morning found the Alpha brown cat missing and felt i was missing a familiar early morning non -human friend .Must have become a casualty of a road accident or a normal death as the life span of stray cat’s is very short compared to protected and well cared indoor pet cat’s. Finally “M.G.M.O” pool reopened for the common public being closed due to “Covid-19” pandemic for almost 2 years and i now visit the racecourse every Monday morning which is my “Swimming Pool” holiday. Recently on Monday(14/3/2022) on my visit to the racecourse was greeted by a loud :”Meow” by this last surviving stray cat. This stray cat immediately recognized me and meowed loudly as I parked my cycle which it does every time it see’s me approach it to park my bike opposite the fenced gate .Very intelligent and since the past 3+ months this survivor of the streets of Mumbai regularly awaits its morning breakfast .It’s partner having vanished over a month ago as also the odd freak stray dog. Life is not easy being a stray cat or stray dog on the streets or locales of Mumbai. Besides my extremely pampered 12 year old Traditional long hair Persian cat ” Matata” and our building cat’s ” Champa”, Scrapper” and ” Mango” this stray is the cat I have managed to study from close quarters. Its time India has its own stray cat recognized and registered as the “Indian Billi” cat in future ” CAT SHOWS” akin to the ” Arabian Mau”. Wishing this lonely stray cat a long ” Cat Life” as it’s early morning greeting is the best health tonic that no doctor can recommend and only pet owners or stray pet feeders understand. Try to “STAY FIT” as long as possible and for a few AGE is just a chronological number. We humans can learn a lot from nature . Monday(4/4/2022) being my ” Swimming holiday” had cycled to the racecourse after a gap of 2 weeks and at first was aghast on seeing a young kitten in the place of the regular ” Alpha male” cat in the locale greeting me with a meow as I parked my cycle.In fact at first sight from a distance mistook it to be the same old alpha male but on a closer look realized it was a young kitten. Presuming the ” Alpha male” had expired as had his companion a few months ago was sad on missing a familiar ” Non human Friend” who always welcomed me with a loud Meow. This young kitten began purring on seeing me and as I petted it was later overjoyed to see the old alpha male make a grand appearance onto the ” Cat Breakfast stage”.Either this is his kitten as the colours match or he has adopted it as they both get along very well with the Alpha male being a perfect father.We humans can learn a lot just by observing nature.

All About Alcohol Museum

.We were in Goa for a few days to attend a family wedding and were residing at Tropicana beach resort at Candolim. Have been to Goa numerous times ,twice on my iconic “Royal Enfield Bullet 350″and as a nomadic traveller during my random google research at home in Mumbai learnt about a new museum established in Goa.”All About Alcohol” showcasing the state drink of Goa “Feni” was in close proximity to our hotel in Candolim and definitely deserved a visit.Photo :- “ALL ABOUT ALCOHOL” museum guide Mr Armando explaining to us tourist’s. Due to “Covid 19 Pandemic ” wearing a face mask was mandatory. On Saturday(4/9/2021) Cousin Steven. D’silva and myself walked the distance from Tropicana beach resort to ” ALL ABOUT ALCOHOL MUSEUM” situated on Candolim main road heading towards Siolem. I had ridden the length and breadth of this route during my motorcycle tour of Goa in 2019. On arrival at the museum found it empty with the glass door closed and thought the museum was closed and about to make a about turn for some other sightseeing. My strong sixth sense made me enquire with the cafeteria situated next to the museum about the closed museum.To our astonishment was told it was open and a gentleman led us to the glass door and into “All About Alcohol “” museum. Above Photo :- The vintage museum Tavern barman Mr Lionel. Gomes giving us tourists a demonstration on tasting “BLENDED FENI” .The Feni is blended with different spices like clove, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and served with different snacks, like pineapple,olive,chilly and citrus fruit Entry is free and we were the Bonny(Hindi slang for first) tourists of the evening and bizarrely after we entered two loaded tourist car’s arrived and a group of tourists made their entry into the museum. Guide Mr Armando had to tell the other tourists to wait for the next round of tour.This is the first and only alcohol museum in India that is dedicated to the State drink of Goa ,” FENI”, which in 2016 was notified as the State drink of Goa. This private museum situated in plush Candolim and spread across a single storey tiled roof 13,000 Sq ft bungalow building is owned by businessman Mr Nandan.Kudchadkar, a antique collector and definitely a wealthy and widely travelled man having travelled to 89 country’s ,eight more than my personal count of 81.It was during his travels across the Globe that Mr Nandan.Kudchadkar got the idea of setting up a alcohol museum in Goa dedicated to “FENI”. Ahoy ! It opened just a fortnight ago on Friday ( 13/8/2021) and is dedicated to showcasing and explaining the invention, development , distillation and method of consumption of Feni in Goa. Historically the cashew nut plant from whose fruit “Feni” is derived was imported to Goa sometime in 1700’s from Brazil by the Colonial Portuguese rulers. It had been raining on/off in Goa and luckily we were in the museum during a heavy downpour.Call it providence or being at the right place at the right time. We were first given a guided tour by Mr Armando who took us through different sections of the 5 rooms of this large museum with each section having a different historical showcase account of “Feni”..He explained us the importance of “FENI” in Goan culture where it is considered a hospitality welcome drink for guests and not as a source of intoxication to get stone drunk. .This museum has glass garafaos(Vats) , drinking glasses and various Feni processing utensils with a few dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, the same explained by guide Mr Armando. We were also explained the distillation process of “Feni” , totally different from wine or whisky distillation as also the fumigation process .”Cashew Feni” is distilled from the fermented juice extracted from the cashew fruit.The Cashew tree’s are grown on leased Government land by the cashew farmers who harvest the fruit every season. The extracted juice is fermented and distilled using traditional equipment with the first distillation extract being a popular mildly intoxicating summer drink called “URAK”.On “Double distillation” the final end product “FENI” is formed, a drink unique to Goa and Goan culture.A similar process is used to produce “Coconut FenI’ extracted from Palm toddy.Toward’s the end of the tour we were taken to the section that housed a “Goan Tavern” with the hung petromax lamps reminding me of Petromax fishing in the Sitanadi river of Barkur in Udupi district of Karnataka.There is not much difference between Goan and Mangalorian Catholic culture and we Christians as a total form just 2% of the entire Indian population. In the Goan Tavern we were given a lecture on “Feni Cocktails” and the manner and method of sipping Feni along with snacks by Tavern bar-man Mr Lionel.Gomes. After the “Feni” tasting session took a few photographs for my travelogue and headed onto the street with the rain taking a break and providence keeping us dry .Reminded me of the visit to a winery in Cape Town in South Africa. A must visit museum if visiting Goa .On my way back home to Mumbai carted the “Feni ” bottles shown in the photo below and will sip the same as taught in the vintage “Goan Tavern” in “All About Alcohol” museum.Travel educates !

When will the ” INDIE(MAU)CAT” be a Standard recognized International Cat breed ?

During the last 17 years since 2004 after the demise of my mother circumstances forced me to become a regular visitor to the ” Kharude Worli Fish market” for purchasing fish, my favourite non-vegetarian food. As a adventure traveller was a fan of the Fish angler series ” River Monsters” by Jeremy Wade on ” Animal Planet” that showed him unravelling real life fish mysteries a la Sherlock Holmes of the fishing world while solving cases of monster fish across the Globe.His research in fish crime detection included visiting local fish markets and hence didn’t find my regular daily morning fish purchasing job mundane. Ahoy ! During my rounds of the market visiting various fish vendor’s was saddened as well as amazed by the large number of resident stray cats of this fish market as also in fish market’s all over Mumbai .Much before becoming a fan of ” RIVER MONSTERS” my solo travel across different city’s around the globe always had the local “Fish Market” visit on my sightseeing agenda , be it Africa, Asia or Europe .At the time of writing have visited 81 country’s and almost entire India .Over the years spotted some really rare beautiful stray cat’s at my home city “Kharude Worli market” as also across various locales in Mumbai city. On Monday(22/7/2021) during the “Covid 19″ restrictions managed to photograph this stray cat pictured in the photo which is a prime attraction for it’s beautiful coat coloration. In a normal ” CAT SHOW” sure this cat could win a prize in the ” Indie cat breed” .It also has a good temperament and very well behaved akin to a pet house cat. Also photographed the beautiful stray Calico cat sitting next to it shown ith the photo below..To blow my own trumpet thanks to my write-ups and blogs over the years that Mr Shree.Nair , a pet journalist in the Middle East responded to my blogs and we together along with a few other cat enthusiast successfully established India’s first cat club “Indian Cat Federation” with Mr Shree.Nair being the President of the newly formed cat club.FINALLY MY PERSONAL  BLOGS AND AWARENESS OF CREATING A “CAT CLUB” IN INDIA HAD PROVED EFFECTIVE AND Mr SHREE.NAIR FOUNDED THE  “INDIAN CAT FEDERATION” IN BANGALORE .NOW ONLY HOPE THAT CAT SHOWS ARE HELD IN OTHER INDIAN CITY’S INCLUDING MUMBAI, AKIN TO DOG SHOWS. Mumbai city had its first “International cat show” on 27th Saturday and 28th Sunday September 2014 at the “Stallions Banquets” in Prabhadevi, walking distance from my home .Couldn’t display my 2 Long hair Doll Face Persian cats “Matahari” and “Matata” as “Matahari” was recovering from a illness while “Matata” had the temperament of a wild Serval, totally unfit for display or handling at a “Cat Show”. Mrs Anneliza.Hackmann(President of World cat Federation, Germany) was the chief judge assisted by  Dr Johan.Lamprecht ( South Africa) and Petra.Muller(President of Middle East cat society) while Mr Shree.Nair( President of Indian cat Federation) organized this entire landmark cat show. PHOTO ABOVE :- A beautiful stray cat on the “CAT WALK” along the footpath of Prabhadevi road in Mumbai .

It was during this cat show that the idea germinated of developing the stray Indian street cat into a International cat breed and name it the ” Indian Billi Cat or Indian Mau cat “.PHOTO ABOVE :- ” Champa” our resident building cat whom i have been tracking since the last 7 years is absolutely intelligent and as docile as a house bred pet cat. A candidate for the model of “Indie Mau cat“.

The Bombay veterinary college along with “Indian cat Association” would be doing research work on the “Mumbai street cat(Stray)” and hoped to create a recognized street cat breed called “BILLI(Cat in Hindi language)” in a few years akin to the “Arabian Mau” created by Mrs Petra .Muller. PHOTO ABOVE :- Building resident cat Champa’s companion who i named “Scrapper” , a semi wild stray afraid of humans and used to always sit next to “Champa” in the building compound.Here he is seen in the 2-wheeler garage about to run on seeing me approach him for a photograph. A very stocky compact built cat .

During Mumbai’s first cat show in 2014 had a talk with German Petra.Muller(President of Middle East cat association[MECATS]) and was amazed to learn that she lived  with  325 cats in her villa in Dubai. In 2008 she was responsible for getting the natural street cat of U.A.E/Dubai as a recognized breed  by the ” World Cat Federation” after conducting 5 years of research and breeding of this local cat breed.This cat was named the “Arabian Mau” cat. She has also  published a book on this cat breed and “National Geographic” did a documentary on this new cat breed finally giving it International recognition. So we in India decided to replicate Mrs Petra Muller’s “Arabian Mau” by giving the Cat World our very own local bred “Billi Cat(Indian Billi/Mau”. Yes, definitely a “Copy Cat Idea”. Ahoy !PHOTO ABOVE :- A stray blue eyed cat outside the famed “Gallop’s Restaurant” at the Mahalaxmi racecourse in Mumbai. Seems to be having some eye infection. Most stray cat’s live a short miserable life , especially the fish market cat’s.

Sponsorships is essential for any product, Industry as also for a “Cat Club” to survive and was sad to finally realize that  after just a few years since its inception in 2013 “Indian Cat Federation” had become dormant  as a cat club with the “CAT SHOWS” coming to a abrupt end.In its dormant form  the “Indian Cat Federation” set the trend and showed the path for other like minded cat fanciers who were once members of “Indian Cat Federation” to continue the trend of cat shows in India akin to dog shows. PHOTO ABOVE :- A free living outdoors cat that had a collar and was tracking a squirrel that was chirping on this huge Banyan tree situated outside our building entrance gate.This cat had a collar and hence was not a stray but someone’s pet and allowed to roam freely outdoors, a rare privilege for cats in Mumbai’s concrete jungle .

After the abrupt disappearance  of “Indian Cat Federation”  the  cat shows were organized by the  newly formed “Alliance of Cat fanciers” based in Bangalore and the “Feline Club of India” based in Mumbai.PHOTO ABOVE :- “Mango” the latest edition to our building compound of “Resident Stray cats” appeared out of the blue in early 2020 during the “COVID 19” lockdown and was accepted by resident stray cat’s “Champa” and “Scrapper”. Here in 2021 he is a full grown cat displaying his magnificent canines akin to a “Big Cat”. Ironically he has displaced “Scrapper” as the dominant resident male stray cat who now lives on the fringes of the building garden estate. It’s similar to a young tiger taking over the territory of the older resident tiger in the wild jungle.Cat’s are identical replica’s of their bigger cousins in habit and temperament. Thanks to the observation of our very own building stray cat’s that i got to study the behavior of free roaming stray cat’s.

The promoter of “Alliance of Cat Fanciers” Mr Sudhi.Katikineni  of Bangalore is a certified judge of the “World Cat Federation” and akin to “Indian Cat Federation” he conducted a few shows under the “World Cat Federation” registration. The President of “Feline Club of India” Mr Saquib.Pathan has definitely given  “Cat Shows” and “Cat Awareness” a giant leap in the common public mind by conducting cat seminars, cat shows and “Cat webinars” and he has actively taken over the baton from “Indian Cat Federation” to canvas for legitimizing the creation and recognition of the “Indian Mau”.

PHOTO ABOVE :- My daily visits to the “Kharude Worli Fish Market” in Mumbai made me aware of the plight of the stray free living cats that have made the fish market their permanent home.My face is covered with a mask due to “Covid 19” pandemic prevention precautions which also gave me ample time to observe these stray market cats as the market was less crowded than in normal times.The average lifespan of most of these cats is half of the lifespan of a average pet house cat. Also observed some of the most beautiful “Indie Cat” specimens among this pack of fish market cats.

Hope i live to see the “INDIAN MAU(BILLI)” as a International recognized breed akin to the “ARABIAN MAU” during my lifetime or if not hope some day in the distant future as the “Cat Fancy” groups as well as “Cat Shows” in India grow in numbers akin to “Dog Shows”. .

INDIE ” BOMBAY CAT”,a miniature melanistic panther ? Nature at its best.

Is this a cat or a melanistic black panther which was the inspiration for cat breeders producing the “BOMBAY CAT ” breed ? Sunday(11/7/2021) will forever be a important day etched in the mind of sports fan’s all over the World as “Super Sunday” as the entire day had a programme of International sporting events. Confined to home and Mumbai due to “Covid 19 Travel Lockdown” in India and various parts of the Globe kept fit by exercising at home and a walk around our gardened building condomonium “Vaibhav Apartments” at Old Prabhadevi road in Mumbai.This part of the city does have some greenery and the building itself has a large green garden.
On that evening during my walk around the building suddenly sighted a large stocky jet black cat passing alongside a parked car.Stalked it in our building garden akin to stalking a panther in a jungle .Seems it was accustomed to humans and didn’t bolt away as I approached it for my ” CAT MODEL” photo shoot . The Bombay cat is a type of short-haired cat developed by breeding the Sable Burmese cat and black  American Shorthair cat, to produce a cat of mostly Burmese type, but with a sleek, panther like black coat akin to this beautiful stray cat in our building compound.This cat was a beautiful specimen of the stray ” Indian Billi” and definitely in the pique of health.Spotted this large Tomcat for the first time in our building compound.The “BOMBAY CAT” breed was developed by Nikki Horner, a breeder from Kentucky , who, starting in 1958, attempted to create a breed of cat that resembled a miniature black panther like this common stray cat i was tracking in distant Bombay now Mumbai.The first attempt was a failure, but the second, in 1965, was successful. The breed was officially recognized and registered by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1970 and “The International Cat Association” in 1979. Nikki Horner died in 1995 and although the pedigree breed he founded “Bombay Cat” has no connection to the city of Bombay absolutely sure the “Leopards” resident to Mumbai’s national park was his inspiration to name it “BOMBAY”.Felt like I was in the “Sanjay Gandhi National ” park in distant Borivali locality of Mumbai rather than a private building compound situated in the heart of concrete jungle Mumbai.

“TABLAO VILLA ROSA” of Madrid closes after 140 years. Memoirs of a night at “Tablao Villa Rosa”.

In mourning to note that ” COVID 19 TRAVEL LOCKDOWN” besides claimimg human lives has claimed a landmark Flamenco institution of Madrid city, ,the permanent closure on Thursday 4 March 2021 of ” TABLAO VILLA ROSA”. In 2017 had spent my last night of my 28 day’s solo European tour at this landmark Flamenco institution before departing for Mumbai the next day. The “Tablao Villa Rosa” was founded in 1919 and is one of the oldest Tablaos(Flamenco Venues) in Madrid. Its peak Golden years were in the 1920’s and has closed several times during its history  and has finally been operating as a Tablao  Flamenco and restaurant since 1996. American Writer Ernest .Hemingway, actress Ava Gardner and the bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguin were some of the celebrities who frequented this Tablao during its golden years. On Saturday(8/7/2017) after a excellent “Paella dinner” walked the short distance along the classis Las Lestras nighbourhood to reach destination “Tablao Villa Rosa”. On the way passed alongside the landmark Hotel ME(Madrid Reina Victoria) which is just a stone’s throw away from Tablao Villa Rosa .Since its opening in 1923 the “Gran Hotel Reina Victoria” became the hotel of bullfighter’s  and my research indicates that Spain’s greatest  bullfighter Manolette ( 1917 – 1947) who permanently reserved “Room No 406”  also frequented this Tablao unless he was superstitious about visiting Tablaos akin to his hotel room number. At the Flamenco show a free drink is provided with the entrance ticket.Video recording and Flash photography is strictly prohibited during the Flamenco shows.The ” Who’s who” of the Flamenco World have performed in the “Tablao Villa Rosa” over its long history in existence as  Madrid’s oldest  and top of the chart  Tablao’s. The Flamenco show started punctually at 2300 hrs.There are a total of 5 artists who take their seats on the stage. Two women and one man are the Flamenco dancer’s. A guitarist strum’s the guitar sitting on the chair while a male singer sings songs.The introduction was through light guitar strumming by the guitarist. :- Click on the link to view a short snippet of the Flamenco dance . Flamenco dancing is based on the folk music traditions of Southern Spain.The oldest record of Flamenco dates to 1774.In recent years Flamenco dancing has become popular in non-Hispanic country’s like the United States and Japan.The Flamenco dancing i saw today at the “Tablao Villa Rosa” was something i saw for the first time in my life and absolutely different from the normal Hollywood style Flamenco. Notice the high heel shoes worn by the lady dancer as also the entire group on the stage. The Lady dancer was thumping her heels on the wooden floor to the sound of the music and singing beside’s taking acrobatic swift turn’s akin to a ballet artist. Two Female dancer’s performed the Flamenco in turn’s. Once one dancer did her role of dancing she went and sat on the chair and the next dancer continued with the flamenco dancing. Very seducing to describe the dance in simple word’s. No doubt the opera “CARMEN” is synonymous with Flamenco .The traditional Spanish  Flamenco show consists of  cante(Singing),toque(guitar Playing),baile(Dance),jaleo(vocalizations),palmas(handclapping) and pios(finger snapping)We had seen all these sequences being performed by the 5 member Flamenco troupe. The Grand Finale of the night was the performance by the lone male Flamenco dancer who resembled a actor in looks and physique. Akin to the women his foot movements were swift as also his foot stomping.Flamenco has both influenced and been influenced by ballet and this male dancer ‘s movement was akin to a ballet dancer. His last performance was with a scarf akin to a Torrero(Matador)  playing with a fighting bull. I have read female  reviews of male flamenco dancer’s and majority of the women were swooned by the sexual body movements of these dancers. Some of their descriptions is unprintable ! In traditional Flamenco youth is not considered a prime advantage unlike most other dance forms as a young man or woman cannot express the duende(soul) of the genre of dance music. Most Flamenco dancer’s peak in their thirties and continue to perform even in their fifties or beyond which speaks volumes of this dance form. At midnight the Flamenco show finally came to a end with the 5 member dance troupe making a grand exit from the stage. As for me  the last night of my grand European tour was a night to remember. Walked the short distance to “Cat’s Hostel” my residence in Madrid with the street still filled with night revelers in the open air street cafe’s. Madrid rocks. Ahoy !

” Tahatsu “, pet free flying crow . Gone too soon.

How many have a crow as a pet bird friend ? Since the “COVID -19 LOCKDOWN” in 2020 have been mostly confined to my house and strangely one particular crow developed a bond with me ,unbelievable but true. Reminded me of “Jake” the black crow owned by librarian Brooks.Hatlen in one of my all time favourite movies “Shawshank Redemption”. My favourite Indian cartoonist Late R.K.Laxman who invented “The Common Man” satire column in “Times of India” newspaper loved sketching crow’s and now I know the reason as he rightly said “Crow’s are more smarter than human’s” ! Having visited the “Tower of London” in May 2010 distinctly remember studying the “RAVENS” kept in the tower which are also superstitiously linked to a prophecy regarding the “British Throne”. Prophecy or superstition crows and ravens are definitely the smartest among birds and ” Tahatsu” proves this fact. I used to feed some morsels to crows from my kitchen and of these few crows one particular crow tested my human trust and literally became my non-human companion akin to a house pet. Named him “Tahatsu” as a tribute to Japanese culture from whom i did pick a few living habits during my ship board ports stays in Japanese ports when employed as a “Marine Engineer” on ocean sailing ships .On Friday(26/3/2021) decided to produce a candid video for posterity as all of us our mortal, be it the common crow having a average life-span of 10-12 years or myself from 61 years – to ???. Ahoy ! Above is the video filmed in my kitchen when Tahatsu” my free flying pet crow decided to act in a video clip specially produced for it .I am sure ” Tahatsu’s” is a male and unbelievable intelligent bringing back memories of my 22 year long lived non human companion bird Alexandrine parakeet ” Mittoo” . “Mittoo” was my companion since 1992 mysteriously expiring from a “Heart Attack” in March 2014. “Mittoo” had the IQ of a small human child and his loss devastating. The “Notional Sports” game on “Facebook” titled “Mittoo alias mittoo the poppat” launched when “Mittoo” was hale and heart and very much alive is today in 2021 a flyaway hit since years worth over 2 million U.S $ ! As a “SPECULATOR/INVESTOR” by profession my aim of starting this notional sports betting game was to create awareness of legalizing sports betting in India.When will sports betting be legalized in India ? Sadly Friday(4/6/2021) was one of the saddest day’s of my life as “Tahatsu” didn’t show up at the “Kitchen window” for his usual chatting and breakfast talk show which would continue with lunch and finally dinner morsels. Although he was a free living ordinary wild crow felt i had lost a long loved household pet as he was bizarrely similar in habits to “Mittoo” my 22 year old Alexandrine parakeet. I am a firm believer in the Lord Tennyson quote , ” It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all “. A big thank you to “Tahatsu” for its companionship and hope he is alive in some other part of the city as crows occasionally change locations. Worse is “Tahatsu” could also be dead as its disappearance was abrupt .Finally the unexpected happened and on Sunday(6/6/2021) early in the morning a disheveled sickly looking crow perched on my kitchen window pane and immediately realized this common crow was none other than “Tahatsu” as it was not afraid of my presence.. He was in some kind of pain and couldn’t crow as he would normally yell, scolding me to feed him. Put some food on the window sill and he immediately came over and ate it with great difficulty. Definitely sick and presumed he would die but happy that at least akin to a household companion pet he would die being cared for and not just a common crow. Next day on Monday(7/6/2021) he came over again in the morning and miraculously seemed in better condition than yesterday. Fed him and he did utter a short squawk also giving me the satisfaction of having cared nd cured him, akin to a veterinarian doctor. Above is the last photo of “Tahatsu” eating some nourishing home made “Cat Food” prepared for our joker of the house, “Tomcat Matata”.Now only hope “Tahatsu” regains its health and most importantly its voice .Sadly after Tuesday(10/6/2021) Tahatsu failed to show up and i am fearing the worst case that he has become a casualty. Truth is stranger than fiction especially if your non human companion is a free living common crow named “Tahatsu” :- Seafarer/Blogger/Traveller Rudolph.A.Furtado


Thursday(17-6-2021) :- They say a “CAT HAS 9 LIVES” but my research on my pet crow ” Tahatsu” has made me also add the fact that “CROWS ALSO HAVE 9 LIVES”. To day suddenly in the afternoon a crow appeared on my kitchen window sill and to my utter disbelief realized this crow was none other than my “Tahatsu” whom i had declared as dead and also written its obituary biography on various blog sites as few people have had a wild flying crow as a pet.I realized that this crow was not a impersonator since it was not afraid of me and immediately came close to me and accepted food.Strangely “Tahatsu” has lost its echo voice and mimicry but crow’s like a normal crow. Have posted dateline photo’s of “Tahatsu” in my kitchen and hope he regains his mimicry voice .Truth is stranger than fiction and now i have to rewrite the biography of “Tahatsu” .


Thursday(8/4/2021) :- The ” COVID -19″ pandemic has created a fad in Cycling although Mumbai’s roads are least cycle friendly and dangerous during peak traffic hours..As a regular hobby/ house errands cyclist since 1999 surprised that there are numerous ” Motorcycle repair” shops in every nook and corner of Mumbai but a total scarcity of ” Cycle repair shops “.In the entire Worli / Prabhadevi locality of my cycling range there are just 2 cycle repair shops and both closed.My cycle required urgent brake shoe pads adjustment/ replacement and cycled all the way to Mahim’s Lowharchawl to discover ” Munna Cycle repair shop” in a bylane of Wanja Wadi.A young kid got my cycle serviced and back to brand new condition.Also realized that Mahim Loharchawl locality hasn’t modernised much although multi skyscraper buildings are under construction in the vicinity.If in need of servicing your cycle and living in the vicinity of Mahim then visit ” Munna Cycle repair shop” situated in Wanja Wadi of Loharchawl in Mahim.