July 16, 2004
Ealing Road

Reflecting on the bus journey home. I must be going through an “Ealing Road” phase at the moment. Not surprising - considering the fact that the most visually intensive portion of the journey home involves sitting on the upper-deck of the 79 bus daydreaming whilst staring out of the window at the world passing by.

The first thing I notice is a street seller displaying “rakhi” wrist-bands. “Raksha Bandan” (or “Rakhi”) is derived from a Hindu special occasion that occurs on the day of the full moon of the Hindu month of Shravran - and celebrates the bond of love between a brother and a sister. There’s nothing strange or sinister about this - as in Indian traditions - this is one of the noblest of human emotions. The celebration is marked by the tying of a holy thread around the wrist - usually applied by the sister to her brother. “Rakhi” means “bond of protection” and the ritual signifies the strong protecting the weak from all that’s evil. Yeah - I know that it’s not so politically correct these days - but old traditions die hard - and it’s all about a good excuse for brothers and sisters (as well as cousins) to remember to be good to one another! :-)

Street seller - selling Rakhis

The rakhi bands are usually made of silk and gold/silver threads - and are usually crafted with beautifully embroidered sequins. In extremely wealthy cases - they are studded with semi precious stones. (Click on the “more” below to continue …)

Before continuing you may want to click the play button in the media player below for a musical accompaniment. From the soundtrack to the recent film Main Hoon Na - it’s called “Tumhe Jo Maine Dekha” - a duet sung by Abhijeet and Shreya Ghoshal - interestingly sung in a latin-esque style. (It’s encoded at a very low bit-rate - 40kbps - so should start playing immediately even if you are on dialup.)

Anyway - finishing off the rakhi thing:

The “Rakhi” ritual is the ceremonial tying of the rakhi by the sister around the wrist of the brother. It is meant to not only strengthen the bond of love between the brother and sister, but also the entire family. In this sense it serves a purpose of social bonding. For example - when a rakhi is tied on the wrists of close friends and neighbours, it symbolises the need for a harmonious social life, where everybody lives peacefully as brothers and sisters. In this sense it highlights the act of all members of the community committing to protect each other. Don’t you think that’s sweet?

There is a trend In India these days - where it is fashionable to offer a “friendship band” on certain occasions - and this is most certainly an extension of the Rakhi custom. For example - when an Indian girl feels that a boy has developed a kind of love too strong for her to reciprocate, she sends the guy a rakhi and turns the relationship into a sisterly one. This is one way of saying, “let’s just be friends”, without hurting the other person’s feelings for her. Cool eh?

Further down Ealing Road - as the bus pulls into a stop - I notice a girl all dressed in blue - talking into her mobile phone in a highly animated fashion. I wonder what she is talking about.

Girl shouting into mobile phone

A few metres later - and I spot a childrens coin-operated giraffe ride that appears to be a fairly recent fixture outside of a sari shop. A woman passing by must be thinking the same - and stops to examine it.

New coin-operated giraffe ride outside sari shop

As the bus trundles along a bit further down - the local police appear to be questioning a motorist about something. Sat here on the top deck it’s kind of hard to work out what the trouble might be - but I am not the only one on the bus turning my head and squinting in order to figure out what’s going on.

Police questioning someone

One thing I’ve noticed about Ealing Road is that there is only one bank cash machine in the entire vicinity. Needless to say - there are always long queues of people waiting to get some cash dispensed from it.

Queueing for the only cash machine in the area

In a sudden clearing - the construction site of a new Hindu temple (Mandir) comes into view. I have watched this, practically every day for the last few years, grow steadily from dirt and nothing - to something becoming quite magnificent. I have no idea when it will be finished - but I am certain it will be an amazing sight to behold when it’s finished. Especially if the nearby Neasden temple is anything to go by.

Mandir under construction
(Notice the “Bollywood” film posters on the perimeter fence - I’m sure Shah Rukh Khan is on one of them!)

Around here - the shops spill out their wares all over the pavement. Most of the time it’s rails of Indian apparel - or trellis tables diaplaying shoes, or CDs, or DVDs - or whatever. But sometimes it’s advertising boards inviting you to enter a nearby mini-arcade - for a haircut or perhaps cheap international calling cards.


As the bus hits a traffic queue - I notice that there is another Route79 bus in front.

Route 79 bus in front

This is a typical Route79 journey down Ealing Road on a Friday’s bus journey home.

Posted by jag at July 16, 2004 11:59 PM

Fab photos Jag.. enjoyed every one of them! Would be interesting to see what Mandir comes up there.

Posted by: Chakra on July 19, 2004 09:30 AM

Thanks Chakra! Yes - it will be interesting when it’s completed. There appears to be very little information about it on the web anywhere.

Posted by: Jag on July 19, 2004 10:14 AM

The mandir is great.
Get More Pictures of it Please!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Raj on August 13, 2004 01:38 PM

The mandir looks great, but it needs a website. Please take more pics of it. thanks

Posted by: Raj on August 13, 2004 02:02 PM

Hi Raj - sure - I will take more pics of the Mandir from time to time!

Posted by: Jag on August 22, 2004 11:09 PM

Yeah the temple looks great. please can you put pics from the side

Posted by: Pradeep on September 1, 2004 06:01 PM

I go to the temple once aweek. its great

Posted by: lalji on September 3, 2004 01:28 PM

The temple is owned by shri vallabh nidhi and its called the shri sanatan hindu mandir. it needs more donations, and it is better than swaminarayan mandir

Posted by: tina on September 9, 2004 08:39 PM

i love the temple. Please get more pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: krishna on September 12, 2004 08:43 PM

The temple is a combination of eight of the best temples in india. from east to west, north to south and its open to all hindus.

Posted by: janki on September 12, 2004 08:47 PM

jai shri krishna

Posted by: mukund on January 14, 2005 07:04 PM

y dont u just cum down wembley n see the mandir urself its illegal to take pics widout permission i live 1 rd from the mandir

Posted by: mistry gal on January 14, 2005 07:14 PM

Hello Mistry Gal - I pass through Wembley every day - in fact TWO times every day. And I see the Mandir twice every day too. I have seen it every day for the last few years! It is NOT illegal to take pictures without permission - whoever told you that? You live 1 road away? Cool. Have a nice day!

Posted by: Jag on January 14, 2005 08:16 PM

Jag, just get them the pictures!!!!

Posted by: chakra on February 9, 2005 08:32 PM
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