Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rural India- love it

I visited Goa recently, it still remains one of my fav destinations in India. Goa has too many childhood memories attached and each time I visit Goa it rekindles those memories. I managed to click some pictures inspite of the crazy schedule of visiting 100 temples with Ma dear (I can't wait to tell you all about it). But for now let the pictures tell the tale:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mumbai- 2.5 years later

Different people told me different experiences upon visiting India- sounds, smells, food, pollution, population and so on. Well, for me 2.5 yrs later Mumbai still looks and feels the same. As soon as the plane landed I had thousands of thoughts flying through my brain, the 18 hrs travel exhaustion was completely replaced by enthusiam. Mumbai welcomed me with familiar smells and sounds. The smell of several kinds of foods, oils, smell of burning plastic, high humidity and of sounds- loads of people all talking at the same time, cars honking, hawkers calling, birds screeching….its all just the same…its home.

I walked out of the airport and saw atleast 200 people waiting there to receive someone. I smiled to myself. Meeting parents was a complete different experience, usually I would walk to them and touch their feet but as soon as I saw them, I ran and hugged them.

What has changed?
-Traffic has grown a thousand fold. Distances have remained the same but the travel time has immensely increased inspite of all the multiple flyovers and road widening done. Average time: Dadar to Chembur 2 hours. No kidding.

-The traffic and pollution seems to take a toll on the common man. Walking around, in newly constructed malls, I find more people snap at each other. Annoyed.

-Driving has gone crazy. It’s like a crazy car race, with the one who can dodge multiple vehicles and people wins. People simply cross the highways and roads without looking on either side. Btw, I actually saw 2 people on a bike carrying a goat.

So today I wanted to cross off riding my two-wheeler and I did, I had to relearn some basics.

-About 100 people will be walking in the middle of the road and you have to dodge them, not to mention the cats, dogs even some lazy pigeons who obviously think they own the road

-If you run into someone pretend as if the other person is at fault. “Dikhta nahi kya, thik se chalo na” and move on after some bickering

-Don’t worry if you meet a neighbor, acquaintance, friend or anyone who talks to you. Just park in the middle of the road and starting talking. If someone honks just indicate them to drive ahead “Bhaiya thoda baju se nikal jao”

-Btw, helmet fine is Rs 500, so unless you have enough time on hand to start a discussion about Mumbai Police bravery with the cop don’t try to leave without a helmet.

-Catch up on all missed opportunities to honk. In US, I fear that honking may scare the person ahead who may eventually drive in reverse and damage my car. Here you can honk at leisure, at people, animals, or simply at no one.

-And you really don’t need to travel all the way to Disneyland or any other park, simply ride through the potholes. You will find about 10 on each street.

That’s the tale of bike riding. More stuff coming up.