‘Mumbai a city where people never seem to have five minutes to spare’
The Reverend Lanka Ananda Thero, 37, has no memory of the day he was brought to Mumbai from Sri Lanka as a three-year-old, by his high priest. But the city has become the place he serves.
“I really like Mumbai, because I have childhood memories of going to school here and living in Dadar. So, after I completed my monastic studies in Sri Lanka, I decided to return… that felt like a better option than serving in a new country.”
Another reason he came back, in 2003, was to carry forward the legacy of his high priest, the Venerable K Ananda Maha Thero.
“He died when I was studying in Lanka,” he says. “Now, my cousin and I care for the three temples that were in his charge. She is the caretaker, and I am the monk.”
Lanka officiates at weddings and events, in fluent Marathi. He offers counsel to the community.
The temples are at Worli, Parel and Andheri, so Lanka has had a front-row seat to Mumbai’s rapid and dramatic change.
“In 25 years, I have seen this go from a city with time and space for leisure, to a city where people never seem to have five minutes to spare,” he says. “You learn to be really patient, as a monk. You learn to give. But there is less and less respect for those things here now.”
(This story is part of a series Moving Images that celebrates the city of Mumbai through its people.)
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