bombay :: 05/01/08

Around the corner of Bentley’s I find an Internet Cafe where I can connect with my own computer. For the x-time in line, I try to contact Barefoot College, without result. After 10 minutes, a speaker tells me in broken english to contact Bunker Roy and gives me his direct number. Great! He’s got my mail, and there will be someone to help me when I arrive in Ajmer. I can stay at Tilonia, in the Barefoot Guest House, and he assures me that there will be enough people to help me with translation. He doesn’t want to be interviewed: it’s all done by the people at Tilonia, and I have to talk with them.

In Bombay it’s becoming hotter by the day.
At the corner of Henry street, I witness a peculiar scene: two men are cleaning the ears of two other men with a long crochet. The earcleaners. Any job is a job.
Speaking about jobs: never trust the middleman. These handy businessmen with their fancy shops all dressed in the same suit. They try to sell you anything. All is good: too small, too big, too cool, too hot. I went to a tailor for a custommade churida and kurta. Indians are said to be good tailors: beware! They cannot take any exact measurement. First time the pants were far too small, I coudn’t get my leg into the trousers. OK, I wanted it fitting, but anyway I should be able to wear it! Second time, he made me trousers for a 120kg lady! They literally fall of my legs, I stumble over it.
Again a good lesson. Never trust the taste of an Indian, compared to our Western standards. So I need to go back once more. I will not give up. Stop asking questions. Don’t accept the NO.
The neighborhood of the tailors’ shop is a tiny village in the city. The streets are so small that no car can pass, and that’s a relief. Quietness all over. Kids are playing in their pyjamas before going to bed, old grandma’s are sitting on the cots and watch over the kids. A man is practising his yoga in the middle of the street, not at all disturbed by the gently buzz around him. Some people have the luck to find a nice place to live in Bombay, even if it’s very humble. Others have to sleep on the foothpath and sort their food out of the heaps of garbage.

sheetal tailors sheetal tailors sheetal tailors sheetal tailors village in the city

dish washing

On my way home – strange how quickly someone adopts a hotelroom as his ‘home’ – I pass an Indian deli-shop. They make me try everything: little spicy samosa’s, big very spicy samosa’s, sweets made from cashew nuts and mango. It’s delicious and it looks great too. I buy some stuff for my trainride to Ajmer, but I can’t wait and eat it immediately when I got into my room. It surpasses by far the food from the Leopold cafe!

sweet shop, colaba sweet shop, colaba sweet shop, colaba

Noise. Narayan writes about noise:
‘ This age will probably be known as the noisiest in human history. Noise is the greatest bane of modern life. Every moment of our existence we are being distracted by it, necessary noise, unnecessary noise, purposeful noise, and the purposeless, enough to fray our nerves and madden us. The noise in and around us is wearing us out at a terrific pace. It seems impossible to concentrate on any study or writing, particularly if one’s window looks over a street. We are surrounded by a moving, vociferious market all the time.’
My hotelwindow looks over Colaba Causeway. Tomorrow I will record the noise for 1 hour and use it as the soundtrack for my images. Horn please!