Mumbai: Life on the streets

Whizzing past life on the street

Mumbai is honest. It is cool and it is real. People are very much in touch with reality: a stark distinction, flying in from Dubai, like I did. As the plane approached the airport I saw my first glimpses of  slum-life. It’s amazing how many flimsy little boxes can be crammed into each other and how many blue tarpaulins tie the whole lot together.

My friend’s driver, Rajan, picked me up from the airport. As we wound our way back to their place in Juhu, all I could do was stare out the window at the pantomime of life going on around me:

– A man squatting atop a wall, eyes turned to the heavens, with an expression of pure contentment and bliss
– A little boy playing in a puddle
– A second-storey apartment dweller on his balcony, sitting on a metal swing
– Another man curled up on the side of the road, beside an electricity meter box, sleeping on a concrete slab
– Horns beeping constantly; signs everywhere saying “Everyday is a No Honking Day’
– A three-legged dog
– A roadside medical diagnosis clinic
– Taxis with their meters affixed to the exterior chassis outside the front passenger window
– A taxi driver waiting for his next fare, with only his two large soft feet showing, crossed, sticking out an open window
– A petrol station with a glass-fronted bookstore on the first floor

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