Ei ist da.

Other people have children. I am breeding an egg.

nice idea to separate egg yolks.

egg teaching skriptwriters.

egg teaching skriptwriters.

sometimes it happens: somebody invites you to his “museum” in a hidden backroom and shows you oodles of gems and the world’s biggest rubin. #ilovestories

sometimes it happens: somebody invites you to his “museum” in a hidden backroom and shows you oodles of gems and the world’s biggest rubin. #ilovestories

Women behind walls: Jaipur back then and just now.

Welcome to the pink city (which in fact looked orange, not orange-ish, but really orange. A passer-by explained us the ongoing efforts to renovate the city’s heritage- with a colour that does not exactly meet the origin pink/reddish tone. And yes: We saw some ongoing renovations around the city. When there is a sheet of paper hanging on the wall, what to do? Of course. Just paint the wall around it. But enough straggling now:)

Jaipur. Pink city with enormous palace. The first two pictures show just a glimpse of the giant complex of buildings- but one of the best known and maybe most interesting: the chambers of the women of the Harem. 

Voilà Hawa Mahal.  (Hindi: हवा महल, translation: “Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze”), built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god.

Its unique five-storey exterior is also akin to the honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small windows that are decorated with intricate latticework. The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen, since they had to observe strict “purdah” (face cover). 

An image of a story of one thousand and one night.

When we left the vacinities (Hawa Mahal is situated in the buisness-centre of Jaipur) we saw something. Something really moving. We almost passed unheeding. But our of the corner of our eyes we saw her, the woman behind the little grid window. Her job: serving people water out of her little grid window.

I always believe in progress, fast or slow, especially social progress. This was one of the saddest situations I have ever seen.

The Bird Hospital

The story of Delhi’s Jain Bird Hospital begins, as all fairytales should, with a king in his palace in the East. The king, a follower of the Jain religion, is a pigeon fancier with a thousand birds, but one in particular has his heart: it is the most beautiful and most clever of all his pigeons. One day when the king is flying this favoured pigeon it is attacked by a hawk. The king is beside himself, distraught at the thought of losing his friend, and begs the hawk to take a piece of his own flesh in exchange for the life of the bird. 

The story now moves inside the palace. The courtiers wait with baited breath as the king places his pigeon on one end of golden scales and then prepares to cut off his hand to balance the weight of the bird. Engrossed by the scene everyone watches on as the severed hand is laid on the scales, hoping that will be the end of the king’s ordeal, but the end is not yet in sight: the pigeon is too heavy and the scales do not balance.

Panicked and fearing he will lose both his hand and his pigeon, the king looks around for his sword. Unease ripples through the spectators: what will happen next? Gritting his teeth the king raises his sword above his head and, with a single swipe, takes off his own leg. Bleeding profusely and suffering from excruciating pain he leans forwards and places his leg beside the hand on the scales. Still the scales do not balance. Determined, the king raises his sword again and, as the onlookers gasp in horror, plunges it into his chest, falling forward onto the scales. Finally, they balance and the bird is saved.

Saving (vegetarian) birds since 1956

The Jain Bird Hospital in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk was founded in 1956 and today has a capacity of 10,000 birds. 60-70 new patients are brought into the hospital each day by Jains and non-Jains alike and each bird is assessed by the hospital’s doctor before being given a designated cage. There are separate ‘wards’ for different types of birds and different illnesses, with separate areas for birds awaiting or recovering from surgery. The commonest patients are pigeons, doves, parrots and budgies but the hospital also cares for some peacocks and crows. The occasional golden eagle is even to be seen on the wards though due to their tendency to eat other patients they must be kept in solitary confinement.

Patients at the bird hospital can be loosely divided into three categories: those suffering from diseases (notably cancer, paralysis or blindness), accidents (in particular collisions with cars, ceiling fans and glass window panes) or malnutrition. Depending on their condition the birds can be given surgery, have broken wings and bones set and bandaged, or be administered antibiotics and other drugs. All of the patients are given a high-nutrient diet during their hospital stay and each Saturday birds that have sufficiently recovered are released from the hospital roof. The hospital boasts an admirable 75% recovery rate and also ensures that those birds that are not so fortunate are respectively cremated on the banks of the nearby Jamuna River.

Entirely funded by donations

The Jain Bird Hospital is funded entirely by private donations; it has such a dedicated following that, unlike other hospitals in India, it never goes short of money. The hospital is open to the pubic and so people do come regularly to visit ‘their bird’ once it has been admitted, contributing what they can towards its care and saying a prayer for its swift recovery in the neighbouring temple. The hospital is also open to visitors and the staff are keen to show off their work, drawing attention to interesting cases and charismatic patients alike. Their dedication, be it religiously inspired or a simple belief in the importance of helping the birds to a swift recovery, is admirable. The birds of India are lucky birds indeed.

(Written by Sophie Ibbotson.)

reality was much more crowded. nonetheless one of the most beautiful temples we visited. also a good link to get to know the bahai religion.

sadhus, jesus and holy shit sellers. just a tiny a glimpse indian religion(s).

Dhavari Slum’s children. (Most of them go to pre-school or to school. See the recent post where you can see some of them waiting for their lesson in “Mother Theresa’s school”).

Women of Dhavari-Slum. 

Where (your?) stuff comes from.

Egg went to Dhavari Slum. You might know some pictures from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”. 

What you maybe did not know: he district has an estimated 5000 businesses and 15,000 single-room factories. Dharavi exports goods around the world. The total (and largely informal economy) turnover is estimated to be between US$500 million, over US$650 million per year, to over US$1 billion per year. The per capita income of the residents, depending on estimated population range of 300,000 to about 1 million, ranges between US$500 to US$2000 per year.

Dharavi’s total population estimates vary between 300,000 to about 1 million. About 50% of the residents belong to animal skin production, tanneries and leather good professions - typically a business specialized by ‘‘dalit’’ (lowest caste) Hindus and Muslims.

The latest urban redevelopment plan involves the construction of 2,800,000 square metres (30,000,000 sq ft) of housing, schools, parks and roads to serve the 57,000 families residing in the area, along with 3,700,000 square metres (40,000,000 sq ft) of residential and commercial space for sale. There has been significant local opposition to the plans, largely because existing residents are due to receive only 25.0 square metres (269 sq ft) of land each. Furthermore, only those families who lived in the area before 2000 are slated for resettlement. Concerns have also been raised by residents who fear that some of their small businesses in the “informal” sector may not be relocated under the redevelopment plan. The government has said that it will only legalize and relocate industries that are not “polluting.” Read more. For further deeper information.

More pictures of Dhavari Slum and its people: coming soon.