A week in Mumbai
Mumbai is a big, bustling city. It is full of people, stray dogs, cows roaming, millionaires, servants, tourists and everything in between. It is home to Bollywood, some of Asia’s biggest slums, loads of shopping and an eclectic culinary scene.
I had been to Mumbai many times so I was familiar with the city. It’s frenetic energy, congested streets and punishing pollution are hard to take in, but the warmth of the culture and people do make up for it.
This trip to India was not about sight-seeing though. I made an emergency trip because my dad was sick and I wanted to be with him and my mom. Given the circumstance, I spent most of the trip with family and in the hotel itself. Fortunately, we were staying at the Taj Lands End in Bandra, which is a nice luxury property. We certainly made use of the hotel’s pool and restaurants!
We did manage to get out to visit a few family members around town as as well run a bunch of errands.
Since it was Holi while we were in town, we had to celebrate. Holi derives its name from Holika, and is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil. The legend suggests that the demon king Hiranyakashyap had such a large ego that he commanded everybody to worship only him. But his son Prahlad become a devotee of Lord Naarayana and refused to worship his father. Hiranyakashyap tried to kill his son Prahlad but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. For, Hiranyakashyap knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed.
Treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire. The legend has it that Holika had to pay the price of her sinister desire by her life. Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone.
Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Naarayana all this while, came out unharmed, as the lord blessed him for his extreme devotion.
Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika. And, is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.