>Travel Pictures


Fourth view of Life in Bombay

I love doing these "typical day in India" pages, because they are always so different! There are a few constants of our life here: we get up, take a bus to school, do a day at ASB, then ride a bus home for a (usually) pretty quiet evening. The difference comes in what we actually see each day. We've made other pages about our daily life and our bus rides; now here's another page filled with other sights during our commutes.

On the way to school in the mornings...

A new set of neighbors has moved in: white egrets have started roosting in the trees just outside Breck's windows. We think they are probably migrating and will leave at some point, letting all the annoying black crows back in, but for the time being they provide a nice contrast to the smoggy air all around us.

We also have a new neighbor in our school bus. One of the buses got into a little wreck the other day, so the school has rented one while the repairs are being made. Perched right on the dashboard is a Ganesh idol, complete with plastic marigold garland and moving canopy - sort of like a bobblehead - that bounces around with every dip in the road (and there are a lot!).

We live right on the corner of Carter Road, which borders the Arabian Sea, and the seaside is an action-filled place in the mornings. There are many rickshaw drivers who sleep in their vehicles (top left), and the lined up taxicabs form a background as the fruit seller makes his way down the road. Many people walk along the promenade for exercise in the morning, and the fruit stands (and fruit juice stands) do a good business.

Some people don't walk for fun, but to get to school, like the kids on the left.

And, of course there's our old friend, the Praise the Lord bus!

As we crest the 'flyover' towards Bandra Kurla Complex - the part of town where the school is located - we get to see just how bad the air is. I've read people gushing over the sunsets in Mumbai: folks, they are beautiful because the skies are so polluted. We just look at each other, shake our heads, and wonder what we are doing to our lungs here. What you see below is not beautiful morning mist; it is smoke and filth.

But at least there are pictures of the 'beautiful people' to look at on all the billboards (or 'hoardings') around town. There is nothing really racy by western standards, but you can always get a glimpse of who the popular actors and actresses are by whose face you see most often.

Personal hygiene is something that, in a city where a majority of people do not have access to running water or bathrooms, quickly becomes public hygiene as seen through the window of our bus.

People forage through garbage while the wall provides a convenient watering hole

And those that have to 'do business' must walk to some nearby field or open spot to relieve themselves, with water in hand.

And the roadside is a great place to brush teeth. I've seen people using water from puddles to do this. Forget what you think you know about dirty water in a puddle. Multiply that by a 100 to get a sense of what filth is in an Indian pothole.

The water replaces toilet paper as we use it. I had known that, and had known that all bathrooms have a hose a small bucket for 'wiping' in this manner, but it took a long time for 2 and 2 to get put together: That's why we see people walking around in the morning with buckets of water.

On the way home in the afternoons...

Heading home in the afternoons, we'll battle the traffic to Bandra. Most rules of traffic order and safety are constantly ignored: I'm glad the dad has his safety helmet on, and am sure the plastic sunglasses keep the bugs out of his son's eyes, but I still can't help but feel a little uneasy about the boy's safety on the front of that motorcycle (leopard skin seat cover notwithstanding). At our first major intersection we usually will encounter people selling things and begging, but we're nowhere hear as exposed to them as are people in rickshaws, but most seem to take it in stride.

Here's the view from inside one of those, with the reflection of Alea and a friend in the mirror.
Along the way, we see people doing all sorts of things to eke out a living:

Collecting clothes and material for reselling

Replacing the billboards

Refinishing furniture

Carrying goods from one place to another and even competing with dogs for the garbage can pickings.
The neighborhood barbershop is still up and running, and the local kids don't seem too fazed by the constant rumble of traffic behind them
Onto Carter road, where the stalls set up for people out for a stroll (or to gawk at the Bollywood stars who live nearby) get ready for the evening business, and down our road, where the knife sharpener visits the swanky restaurants just around the corner from us.

After a full day of just seeing what Mumbai offers us on the rides to and from work, it is no surprise that most everyone is pretty content to just 'batten down the hatches' at home in the evening. Given that we don't bring a camera every day, this is a necessarily abbreviated - but still accurate - fourth view of Life in India!

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