Many Sides of Mumbai

By: leelefever on March 20, 2006 - 11:06pm

While we have some wi-fi love, we're posting some pics that we've taken in Mumbai.  They may not be of the sights, but hopefully they tell a story on their own.

 This is in a fishing village near the Carter Roadbeach, Mumbai called Khar.   They dry fish in the village and  you can smell it  all over the Bandra area.

Like Sri Lanka, almost all outdoor work is done in bare feet for slipppers (flip flops).  This is a couple of jackhammer operators in slippers, which seems a bit risky to me. Roadwork is happening everywhere in Mumbai.


 When stopping at intersection, people often come and tap on the window and often put their hand to their mouth.  It's very sad and hard to watch, sitting there in our air conditioned car.  I think a lot about this little girl. The poverty in Mumbai is quite overwhelming.


 Of course, Mumbai has beauty in a number of ways.  The people have all been wonderful, very kind and we have never once felt unsafe.  Despite poverty, they have a dignity about themthat is hard to describe.


More than anything, we will remember the hospitality of Dina Mehta, who has opened her heart and her city to us in so many ways.  Dina, I hope we can return the favor in Seattle.


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The Sport of Rush Hour Train Boarding in Mumbai India

By: leelefever on March 20, 2006 - 10:04am


The trains in Mumbai are famous because they are so completely over taxed, moving more people than any metro system on earth. They have an excellent safety record based on train crashes, but 10-15 people per day die on the tracks. As Wikipedia describes

Mumbai's suburban railway is the densest route in the world. It is approximately a little more than 50,000 passengers per kilometer, transporting 65 lakh (6.5 million) commuters daily. This has resulted in severe overloading in the trains which carry 5000 commuters per 9 car train which are designed to carry less than a third of that amount. The density of passengers in peak hours is as high as 15 people per sq metre.

We went to the busy Dadar station today at rush hour to watch the spectacle, which should not be missed in any visit to Mumbai. The event can best be described as a sport for the men. It takes speed, agility, strength, perseverance and concentration.


As the train approaches the station, the men let out a chorus of yells as they gather on the platform. As the train speeds by as it slows, a few jump into the open doors as the crowds push closer to the edge. The men clearly revel in the competition among their peers.


When it comes to a stop, it turns into a civilized wrestling match with each man struggling to find some type of toe hold inside the train- some way to pry himself into the car before it leaves. The men are packed together so closely I wonder how they can breathe.


With more men than room, the train begins to move and the lucky ones fight tooth and nail to find some way to hold onto the train as it leaves, each with a confident smile, knowing he had won. Some are left to fight for another train.

Incredibly, we saw just one station of many, where the scene will be repeated until the train achieves a level of density that no mere mortal can handle. Athletes indeed.

Breakfast in Mumbai

By: leelefever on March 19, 2006 - 6:51pm

I said earlier that India is supposed to be one of the hardeest places to travel.  In meeting up with Dina Mehta and her husband Hemant, it has been anything but hard.


I know Dina through the blog world - we've been reading each others blogs for a couple of years, but never really had much contact otherwise.  I contacted her when were started planning the trip and we feel very fortunate to spend our time here with such kind, interesting and fun  people here in Mumbai. Both Dina and Hemant have lived in Mumbai all their lives and the city is surely a different place with them as our guides. Their hospitality has been wonderful. This is our walk on the Bandra Bandstand - one of the upmarket places to be.

You almost never hear anyone describe Mumbai without the phrase "bursting at the seams".  It is one of the world's great cities with about 15 million people.  The city grew from 4 million to 15 million since 1947, after India acheived independence from England. The population is expected to grow to 28 million in 2020.  The reason it is bursting at the seams is it's geography and lack of infrastructure.


There isn't a lot for the tourist to do here, so we're exploring daily life with Dina and learning about all things Mumbai. It is an incredible places to be at this stage in the city's history. 

Here are a couple of scenes from everyday life...

 These kids were playing "gully cricket" outside of here flat.  They play every Sunday.  Cricket is national sport the most popular sport, but field hockey is the national sport.


 Both here and Sri Lanka, it is quite normal to see men holding hands or with their arms around one another. It is a sign of friendship and had no homosexual connotations whatsoever.  This guy happened to look back, just as I snapped the shot:

 Today it's off the see the crush at the train station, among other things.


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