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‘Mumbai a city where people never seem to have five minutes to spare’

A monk who spent his childhood in Mumbai talks about why he returned to the city from Sri Lanka after completing his monastic studies.

mumbai Updated: Aug 24, 2018 12:35 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai,Mumbai Meri Hai,Buddhist
Buddhist monk Lanka Ananda Theo said that in 25 years, he has seen Mumbai go from a city with time and space for leisure, to a city where people never seem to have five minutes to spare.(PRATIK CHORGE/HT PHOTO)

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.)

First Published: Aug 24, 2018 12:32 IST