Friday, July 6, 2007

mumbai

I am really far too tired to be writing this. I have been sinking into the fern-fringed depths and heights of a mountain monsoon. The past week has been impressively quiet after the madness of my first year of teaching.

Following the merciful cessation of school, Joie and I packed up the kid and hopped on a taxi down the hill to catch a train. Will threw up three times on the long and winding road to the train station, which we reached about 5 minutes before our train left. Actually, he did not throw up on the long and winding road, he threw up on the floor of a taxi which was no stranger to such. Thirty hours later, we arrived in Mumbai.

Mumbai is the same as Bombay, if you were wondering. According to the almanacs, Mumbai is the largest city in the world, with 11.9 million souls. I have no idea how they presume to estimate this number, but it is indeed big. Mumbai possesses a certain grandeur that Delhi seems to have escaped. As the ancient nation swallows up the memories of its conquerors, the British designs on India are slowly crumbling, slowly becoming curious ruins blatantly foreign to Hindustan. Parts of Mumbai felt very European, but nonetheless rumbled with the thrashing wild of Indian traffic. The stately buildings and boulevards echoed of princely goings on, but more loudly reverberated with raw and unmuffled noise.

Being in an Indian city is like staring at a Where's Waldo picture. The sheer variety of the people makes the whole scene feel like an elaborate hoax. Your twenty-five-year old taxi might pull up between a shining new Mercedes and an ox pulling a cart of melons. For Indians, I suppose that this is not ironic, and I am beginning to see why. Here culture does not progress, but rather, it accumulates. In years to come, when the wealthiest Indians are zipping around town at the speed of light and living lives of heretofore unimagined pleasures, there will still be someone driving an oxcart full of melons, and he will not be the poorest.

The scorpions are more these days. I have killed 8 so far, and Joie has killed 6.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing, Nate. Poor Will (and you and Joie) on the taxi ride. A hallmark of childhood vacations, I guess. I like your description of Mumbai. I wonder if we'll encounter some of that accumulation of culture in South America - it must still catch you off gaurd sometimes. Enjoy your downtime before school begins. We have less than a month before we're teaching - what about you two?

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