17 May 2014
Recipe: Idly (Rice bread with gravy) coming soon!
We just boarded our night train headed to Goa and it is exactly midnight. I am completely exhausted and have no idea how long it is going to take me to recover from the past 2 days. Mumbai is unlike any other city I have seen in India. There rich and the poor live amongst one another, yet there are drastic differences in lifestyle that just seem to go by unnoticed. I have never faced the reality of life before. I will honestly say that Mumbai was the main city that changed that.
I am so mentally and physically exhausted from everything I have experienced today. I need a moment to recoup and digest everything that I saw. I will write in the morning and fill you in about everything that happened today.
I sure was exhausted. I fell asleep in an instant and did not wake up once during the night. It is 9am at I just awoke. I feel a lot better after a good nights rest, and the beautiful jungle scenery we are driving past in our train can’t help but make me smile. Just lie the ocean, dense green jungles seem to scream ADVENTURE, which is my favorite word of all time.
We spent the past two days in Mumbai, the city I could classify as the heart of the India. It is a huge city and it is filled with people. Let me rephrase that, it is absolutely PACKED with people. We haven’t ran into an instance where people have been mean or rude to us on the streets here in India. Everyone is happy to direct us to our next destination, talk with us in his or her shop, or simply smile at us as we walk by. Indian people are extremely humble.
Mumbai is an exciting and fun city, but an absolutely tiring and draining one as well. There are so many people there who have nothing. It is not that they only have a few things, it is true that they have absolutely nothing. Mumbai is home to Bollywood, one of the largest film industries in the world and it is home to some of the richest people in India and in the world. Indians will be very quick to tell you a few things when you enter their country. One of the favorites is, “Come on. You are in India now.” This is famously shouted out car windows as we are trying to cross the busy streets, and people are directing us how to do so out of their car windows. This feat is just like they portray it in the films. You go forward the length of one car and then stop to avoid the next that is zooming past in front of you, then you go forward a few more feat, finally crossing a 5-lane Indian freeway that is without lanes. The second phrase that people always say is, “In India you are either very rich or very poor”. This phrase could not be more true, and Mumbai catalyzed that truth. I saw and experienced some of the most beautiful things and some of the most inhuman things I have ever seen. Children, babies, mothers, and even fathers lay strewn out all over thee streets, under the bridges, in every space they can’t find open for their family to take temporary (or permanent residence). You think you have a choice when you are in Mumbai to visit the slums, but no. They are everywhere. They surround the banks, the parks, the beaches, the malls. Poverty dwells in every corner of this city.
Children, mothers with babies, and those with nothing come with their hand motioning to their mouth asking for food or money. They come consistently, like a constant stream when you walk down the sidewalk or drive down the street. The sad thing is that these people are wearing hardly any clothes, you can see their bones. I felt horrible not giving money, but the problem is that when you do, person after person who happened to see comes running up to you asking for some as well and when that doesn’t happen the crying and realization of life sets back in. It is horrible. I loved Mumbai, but every second I was in the city I felt disgusted with myself that I would choose to visit such a city as a tourist and not as a volunteer to help fix some of the problems they are facing. When I visit India again, I will do so with the sole purpose of helping those people who have nothing.
So many children are born in the slums and streets of India that the population just keeps growing and growing. The slum Dhyrava that we visited today (the one off of “Slumdog Millionare” and the largest in Asia) was a hit home. There are millions of people in the world who will die from starvation and disease simply because they do not have the adequate resources to consume enough calories or maintain simple hygiene. Clean water is scarce, and in the slums it is a very rare community.
We also visited the origin of meditation, a giant temple on one of the islands of Mumbai. Inside we were able to practice meditating…which only lasted 10 minutes but felt like a century. I realized very quick that I would not be good at something such as that.