First time in Mumbai

03 Dec

Contrasts in Motion

Keep water cold

Inhale only... Contrasts in Motion


Landing at the airport of Mumbai is confusing because the basti or slums are so close to the runway that it feels as if the plane’s landing directly on top of them. The drive through the city is a feast for the nose, tough on the ears, and the visuals burn onto the soul like music onto a CD.

Staring at the magnificently tall neo-classical condo and business buildings, you can’t miss the basti which share the neighbourhood and stand defiantly at the feet of the high rises…it makes me dizzy just thinking about the contrast of not just high and low but poshness and poverty…later I hear it costs 15,000 rupees or $300 a month to rent a room in the basti without electricity, hot water or sewage. Yet to confirm the tale.

Mumbai is huge, noisy, sprawling, vibrant, smelly, amazingly friendly and lies by the sea, bordered by high hills or small mountains at the back…there are people everywhere occupying every inch of any space that’s left when all the spaces were taken a long time ago. This is a city where the Bollywood stars go out in stretch limos at night, gliding in their glittery by the Bangladeshi refugees huddled under the bridges, a hollow concrete pipe serving as a family bedroom, the pavement as their kitchen.

I’ve yet to return to peel more layers and find out more what makes this majestic looking city tick, its people so fascinating and the hundreds of contradictions so compelling.


Posted by on December 3, 2011 in travel journals


7 responses to “First time in Mumbai

  1. jeff

    December 3, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    The other day I put on some winter gloves and realised they were a pair you gave me a few Christmases ago. immediately thought of ya in the land of sitars and incense.
    truly a world of contrasts and contradictions.
    we have no snow yet. a green Xmas coming? who knows.
    take good care.
    later gator.


  2. Bernice Klassen

    December 3, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    You take my breath away. Thanks for sharing what your eyes are experiencing. Looking forward to more….



  3. Santina Kerslake

    December 3, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks for starting a blog and sharing your journey with us. I look forward to each episode….
    Despite the world of contrasts everyone I’ve met who has gone to India has fallen in love with India. It is a place where great growth happens to all who cross its path.
    I look forward to hearing more about your layers as you peel away!


  4. Nancy Mattson

    December 4, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Tuula, how wonderful to have your blog! Mike and I are both thrilled for you, and we know that you will settle into your new job and life with your characteristic verve, intelligence, and warmth.


  5. Johanne

    December 5, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Love the pictures and your description of a very different and wonderful place. A far cry from my 4th floor perch in Kingston. Enjoy the light, heat, dust and tremendous energy and spirit of a fascinating world.


  6. Mala Naraine

    December 8, 2011 at 2:36 am

    Great adventure!

    Great description of the city! Like reading a book.

    Watch out for crocodiles!



  7. Hector

    December 12, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Talk about another culture! We only see things like that in India, Jakarta, etc. They say that when we cross oceans, we come back as a new person. With all those trips abroad, I don’t recognize myself – my values has changed alot!

    HG & CA



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