3 flights, 2 bus rides and a rikshaw ride later, I end up in the frenetic city of Mumbai. My first impression is the oppressive heat. With unfathomable high temperatures, the unbearable humidity clings to you leaving a dripping sweat that’s enough to drive you indoors during the heat-blazed, rainy summers. The smell of rain and the stench of heat were just the first of the many thoughts I’d soon have about the city.
At 15, I didn’t know what to expect. Mumbai is centered amidst the water, filthy streets, meandering cows, and howling homeless; yet is charming in its own right. I entered Mumbai right in the heart of monsoon season – and what I experienced, I’ll never forget.Visions of the storms that shatter the day and bring down a torrent of rain; content cows eating scraps of food from the streets; beautiful temples from which my tears cannot even stir; the sound of rain pounding against the window; a land that seems improbable; pungent smells; a city with monuments that are swallowed by slums; a ramshackle city filled with cacophonius streets; fashion street and how the vendors beg you to purchase from them; westerners who are looking “to find themselves”; those that brave a bike ride; the disappointment of seeing a McDonalds; heat so thick that you can hardly breathe – then moments later the sigh of relief in an air-conditioned building; spicy food that leaves you wanting more; colorful saris that swallow you; the cacophony of rikshaw filled streets; the lovingness of children and the emotion in their eyes; massive crowds; the discomforting feeling that you’ve paid too little; wealth and those that have it; poverty and those that are stuck in it. Mumbai is an impossibly rich city filled with loving people. It’s a place where people choose to love and give endlessly – there’s no other explanation for how this people-infested city could survive. I urge you to lose yourself in Mumbai.
By: Nirali Shah