Monday, 22 August 2011

Mumbai, Monsoom, Madness

Mumbai hit me like a big fat cultural slap in the face. I wasn't prepared for this experience; in fact there is no way a sane person can possibly prepare themselves for a city that has a population of 20 million inhabitants crammed into it. That is the equivalent of half of England or the entire country of Sir Lanka squashed into it already swelling borders . You have to try and imagine the madness, the rush, the horns, the pushing, the pulling, the smell, oh the smell, the dogs, the heat and a mid this the sight of lone cow roaming the streets without a care in the world. Its madness. Its crazy, its Mumbai.

Me and my girlfriend Laura arrived in Mumbai late into the night following 10 hours of travel. We were tired and wanted to sleep and rejuvenate ourselves. We got our bags and headed out of the airport. It was hot and humid, but it reminded me very much like a Bollywood set, red carpet and many people waiting to pick there guests up holding cards aloft with names on. Out of the crowd I spot our name as easy as that. There is method in the madness in this city. We went straight to our Hotel - Anjali Inn. Its was dark as we traveled through the dark crammed lanes, and I am sure I saw a big naked women a sleep in the gutter. I tried to erase this image out of my head, it was hard, but tomorrow was another day. I was optimistic. We woke up ready to explore and that's when the Mumbai madness corrupted our senses.   

Mumbai is an awful place, the worst place I have ever been. Its basically a massive slum, a ghetto, I have not seen anything like this; you have such a contrast. The rich are rich and the poor are below under class. I have never in all my life seen such abject poverty. You see business men driving top of the range cars and kids on the streets with no clothes on standing in filth living in shelters on the side of the street or the polluted river. It is an experience that makes you appreciate the good things in life. The poorest people in Kirkby are living in paradise compared to most of these people. What I found striking was the transport. First the roads are jammed, grid locked with horns blasting, everyone jostling for position. Its a free for all. We would travel to the train station in a Rickshaw or commonly known as a 'Tuck Tuck' a three wheeled bumper car and its an experience that scares the crap out of yer. Because at any moment you are waiting to plowed in by a truck. Its survival of the fittest. Then there is the most popular form of transport, the train. As soon as the train pulls in (still going a speeds of 10-15 Km) people are jumping off and people are jumping on holding onto sides of doors, windows and in one case an old mans head. Crazy!!!

The gates of India-Mumbai

It is said that it takes time to acclimatise to Mumbai's rhythm, that there is method in the madness, but I don't think I could ever dance to their tune, its to crazy.  We need calm and some beaches-Goa here we come.

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