En Route – Stop 1 – Mumbai

Hello Hello

This is my first time I’ve blogged and I realized that I actually quite enjoy it – it’s a fun way to document a journey as it happens!

Currently sitting in the domestic terminal in Mumbai Airport having just got off a decently long flight from Bahrain, thankfully no delays enroute – fingers crossed this luck continues as I get to Pune

This is the first time I have been in India after nearly 3 years, and quite frankly it was a little odd. It was like coming home, but not really. You see having grown up in the Middle East, India was always a summer vacation destination which entailed doting grandparents, evenings playing cricket, and generally not a worry on my mind.

This time it was different.

Even as we caught the first glimpses of Bombay as we got closer, I realized that the India I used to summer holiday in has seen a huge change, and I mean huge. The city is a growing breathing labyrinth of constant activity. As you get closer to the run way as youre about to touch down, you see that you’re landing in one of Asia’s busiest airports but just beyond its walls there are literally miles of slums – it’s contrast that really drives home this entire ‘Indian economic miracle’ phenomenon. Bombay is a prime example of that too – it has some of the world’s most expensive real estate, the highest fashion, the leaders of industry all living in the same city as those who seem to have missed this economic boom nearly entirely.

I decided to take a venture out of the airport (benefit of having an Indian passport is that I can basically walk in and out without much hassle) and visited the neighborhood that my mother grew up in and the place I spent many a summer playing street cricket, and even there the change is incredible. The quaint corner temple my grandfather used to visit every day for nearly 4 decades is now this granite and marble structure, the houses have gone from the old Bombay bungalows to these new and snazzy villas, even the shops I used to frequent seemed to have been given this facelift. In a few words, with India growing at the rate it is, it really feels as if you blink and you’ll miss it – not visiting for three years means that I’ve already missed my fair bit.

Though I cant help but say there is something about Bombay that I love. Its exciting, the city is always alive, always active, and the rat race is more evident than anywhere else here – I mean even the inter airport shuttle that I took (that takes completely private roads INSIDE the confines of the airport) ran into traffic from other shuttles.

Definitely a place I’m going to try and visit if I get a weekend free during my internship in Pune, it’ll be interesting to see whether initiatives similar to those of DICCI have gained a foothold here.

Until then, I’m going to grab some chai, touch base with some old friends in the city, and then finally head to Pune

All my other CASI intern class – if you have a day or so to spare definitely try and hit up Mumbai – you wont regret it!

All this reminds me of a song that my parents used to play constantly on our cassette player in the car when I was much younger – Mumbai meri jaan

Enjoy,

Akhilesh

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