"The thing about Mumbai is you go five yards and all of human existence is revealed. It's an incredible cavalcade of life, and I love that." ~ Julian Sands

Having experienced a bit of the Indian culture here in Malaysia,
I was delighted to join Ren Man on a business trip to Mumbai...
and discover which category I fall under.
Many who have visited and lived in India before,
have warned of the immediate judgment one makes.
Apparently, you either love it or hate it.
Fortunately, the hotel suggested one of the best.tours.ever.
 requiring us to drag ourselves out of bed
 way before the sun is even thinking of rising up,
to experience... 
 Mumbai at Dawn...
with No Footprints.
The first order of business each morning as most of Mumbai sleeps...
 is the distribution of the morning newspapers...
where they were already organized
 and open for business by the time we arrived at 5:00.
Bicycles were standing by...
with the 'younger' crew waiting
 to execute their part of this well oiled machine.
Many of the men who now sell the newspapers
 started off as delivery 'boys' on their own bicycles. 

One of the most important people at the paper distribution center...
freshly grinds spices for each cup of tea he sells to all who visit in the wee hours.
You might as well check the merchandise
 while waiting on customers.
Our tour guide referred to this salesman as Superman.
 After rising at 3:00 a.m. to prepare and sell his newspapers
 he will then start his second job as a taxi driver, 
returning home around 10:00 p.m. to be with his family and sleep
 before returning the next morning to do it all again.
This is not uncommon for people in India
 to have two and three jobs throughout the day.

We left our first stop around 5:20 a.m. 
and smelled our next destination long before we approached...
as the action was getting started.
Daily negotiations of the Kolis men and women is legendary.
By the time we arrive,
the fishermen had already unloaded their catch...
and seemed to be steering clear of the women of the Sassoon docks.
Carrying their empty plastic tubs on their heads
 with the grace and precision of an arrow heading to its mark, 
they know exactly what fish they want to buy, 
which fishermen they will deal with
 and how to get it for the price they want to pay
 in order to benefit most at the auction later in the day. 
It was mesmerizing.
A mural just outside the gates of the docks speaks the truth.
 These women are fearless.

At this point, our guide assured us the smell would improve
 with each of the upcoming stops,
and he was correct...
for the most part.

After getting near enough to snap a photo of a 'playboy' 
(local humor... because he can handle many chicks at once) ...
in the action...
the smell of fresh fruit was a welcomed improvement.
The art of negotiation in India is quite intense at times,
and minutes later with a bob of the head all is good.
The colors of India are intoxicating...
adding to the vibrant life all around.
This market vendor...
revealed the beauty...
 of the national flower of India...
the lotus.

Our last stop was quite the learning experience for us.
Mallakhamb is a sport new to me but can be traced back to the 12th century.
Athletes perform amazing feats on the top of a pole or hanging from a rope.
Ren Man could not resist the invitation to take a go.
It was a scary moment,
 but fortunately no one was harmed during this activity.  Ha!

Meanwhile,
at this point, 
it was 9:00 a.m. and the tour was nearing the end.
Before the driver delivered us back to our hotel,
we dropped our amazing tour guide off at his day job.
The work ethic we observed in Mumbai is quite impressive.

More on our adventures coming right up.

2 comments:

  1. Incredible pictures! I can't wait for the rest of your blog posts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading Traveling Simile.

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