© 2009 Ronni Shendar mumbaibay1

Mumbai – Part II

(I unfortunately don’t have the bandwidth to continue with all of Part II of my Mumbai photos. Here is the text and some photos. The rest of the photos will follow as soon as possible)

Like anyone traveling India, we too got horribly sick. Sometimes you eat something you know you shouldn’t have, a restaurant that looked fishy, street food that was too tempting but wasn’t thoroughly cooked. But its also totally unpredictable, variable and unexpected. Hearing the sounds of endless vomiting amidst the many hotel rooms in the middle of the night is an experience I’d rather not expand on, but it definitely is a jarring experience and allows me to reexamine my life and the entitlement I have to never question the foods I buy at the supermarket or in a restaurant. Of course I examine the quality of a product, how it has been processed, ingredients etc. but the situation of hygiene in this country is unimaginable with a common lack of sewage systems and more than half of the population does not have access to a toilet in their home. Defecation is common on and off the street, specifically at water sources and crop growing fields. A website quoted that 75 percent of the country‚Äôs surface water is contaminated by human and agricultural waste and industrial effluent. According to UNICEF every day, 1,000 children younger than 5 years old die in India from diarrhea, hepatitis- causing pathogens and other sanitation-related diseases, as I sit here and drink a bottle of natural Himalayan mineral water.

Temples and places of worship are not only filled with beauty, stands filled with fresh flowers and gifts to the gods, colors of the beautiful attire of worshippers but they are also a place for the needy to come and beg for money, food and goods.

Around the Haji Ali’s Tomb men, women and children missing limbs lie on the floor chanting, bodies covered with the bruised scars of leprosy lame through the trashed filled rocks of Mumbai’s coastline where families bathe and goats feed on plastic bottles and newspapers.
Around every corner there is a mystery, a surprise, a wash of colors and a vibrating hum. Everyone is going somewhere, buying something, rushing off and wiggling their head in that very Indian way. There is not a second alone in this city where everyone seems curious for a chat and helpful advice, navigation and shopping directions. And there is no lack of what to buy, from vintage records to taxi doors, prescription glasses (just got 2 new pairs at this little shop below!) to tailored suits. As the elevator boy at the hotel stared at our can of Cola “Wow, 20 Rupees. So much money for so little Cola”