…even in bustling Mumbai!
I arrived last night around midnight, after 26 hours and three flights (Albuquerque to Atlanta, then Amsterdam, and finally Mumbai). I was greeted outside the customs area by my brother’s friend Daniel, who must be the most hospitable expat in the country. Turns out he left his own birthday party to come pick me up! He led the way to the auto-rickshaw line, where he engaged in a bit of debate with a small army of drivers over who would get our business. I was grateful to be the female, entirely ignored, as the obvious decision-maker of our pair was barraged with offers and arguments. We were then whisked into the rushing sounds and sights of Mumbai at midnight. An auto-rickshaw is a three-wheeled motorized vehicle with no doors or windows – you just hop in and out, and hold on tight on the curves. I knew again (as if reminders are needed at this point) that so little is in my control in this life!
Daniel has another friend from our high school , Alex, who is visiting right now, so the two of them camped out in the living room, insisting on giving me the bed. With adrenaline still pumping through my veins, we caught up on each other’s lives for a little bit before falling into bed at 3am… only to have my mind jump back to life at about 7:30am, alert and racing.
We have just returned from lunch and a long walk around the neighborhood, where I did indeed get to witness not one, but three cows (and two donkeys) in the road. They really do wander unattended through the middle of the street. Daniel’s neighborhood, Bandra West, is scattered with beautiful tall trees with lacey leaves, and old “bungalow” style houses sandwiched in with modern high-rise apartments. The winding brick roads leading back from major throughways acually have a somewhat European feel.
Tomorrow I will meet up with my friend Aditya’s parents, who live across town. Today, I am grateful for this embracing web of connections – I have landed here in the comfort of relationships whose roots lie halfway across the globe. What a small, vast world!