I like the description that Gregory David Roberts gives of Mumbai in the book
"The impression was of a plodding, indefatigable, and
distant past that had crashed intact, through barriers of time, into its own
Here are some other notes from a week back in Mumbai.
- Mumbai has a city-wide network of air raid sirens that are
currently used to mark the time on the hour. I think if there really was an
air raid, people would just think it was noon-time.
- I have seen people eat silver. Some of the sweets here are served with a
thin layer of silver metal foil on top; you eat it for the vitamins.
Everybody tells me that eating a little bit of silver and gold is very
- Magazines and books in the bathroom is a funny idea. I would never want to
relax in the bathroom here. And the idea of girls going to the bathroom
together, to gossip and prune... that is a uniquely Western concept that
only works where you have big, clean bathrooms.
- Dhost means friend in Hindi.
- I had 12 new shirts, three new kurtas, and 10 new pairs of pants tailored
for me. In the States, this would be something to brag about. Tailors
and raw materials are rather expensive in America, after all. I always
thought that having a tailor was an upper-class status symbol.
- But here in Mumbai, when I tell my friends that I am meeting my tailor to
get a fitting, everybody looks down on it. My friends all say,
"Why not buy from the store?" and "Why would you use a
tailor?" Nobody understands why I would progress backwards, in their
mind, since brands are cooler than a custom fit. I really like my new
Oxford shirts and linen pants, thank you very much.
There is a huge Hindu festival starting on Saturday morning. My Delta
flight back to Atlanta leaves on Sunday at 12:30am, so it will give me the day
to explore Ganesh
Chaturthi at a friend's home.