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Last thoughts

Mumbai, India


When we flew into Mumbai one of the airhostesses we started talking to told us we were in for a roller coaster ride. As the roller coaster docks returns to the dock, and I have survived a full circuit of India, I have come to reflect on my time in this world of its own.

My last day on the beach an older woman approaches me, outraged and ranting about the constant hassle to buy things. She said that this was her holiday, and that she resented being asked every 3 minutes if she wanted to jewellery, stickers, magnets, posters, drums, everything imaginable. She was so upset that she got angry at me when I tried to calm her and remind her where she was. If she'd let me get a word in, I would have asked her to remember that these people have just 2 months to make a year's living for their families. If she wanted a private place she could retreat to, there were big fancy (and expensive) private resorts down the coast. But you cannot come into a culture of necessity and demand privacy!

An hour or two later, I realised just how far I've come on this trip. When leaving NZ, I raised my few doubts about the trip with my Dad - I am a person who need independence and personal space, both physically and emotionally. I knew that this trip would be a challenge to that aspect of my personality in a country where there is no direct translation for the notion of 'privacy' (no, really. I've heard there's no word for it in Hindi). These people are born, live, and die in public. They spend their lives constantly surrounded by their family and friend, and don't even sleep alone at any point in their lives. While I've relished the past week's solitude in travelling alone, this woman's inability to accept this intrusion into her comfort zone made me realised just how tolerant I've become.

Having said that, I'm seriously looking forward to sleeping in my big double bed again, and quiet mornings spend lying in with my book and my cats.

The next morning, as I was leaving for Mumbai, I started talking to an Australian woman who had come to India to step out of her comfort zone. Like me an eternal ornganiser, she wanted to come to a country where she didn't know how things worked, and see if she could cope. After some unfortunate circumstances, and an accident which left her face bruised and swollen, she found herself far out of her comfort zone, and having to deal with it when she felt like a monster. Again, I could give her basic advice, and because we found we were such alike people, I could tell her how my (much milder) experience had challenged myself, and encouraged her to wait it out a little longer. I really think there'll be a turnaround period for her, and the success of learning to cope would perhaps be the best thing that had happened for her.

So stepping back into the Mumbai madness, I can walk down the street with an air such that hawkers do not constantly follow me. While I do not think that anyone can truely master Mumbai, I feel that for me, I have conquered the challenges India has presented to me.

And now it's time to go home and have a REALLY long bath!

permalink written by  Capto on February 25, 2010 from Mumbai, India
from the travel blog: Two months in Limbo
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We are off to India on the 7th November after just finishing exploring Africa for 3 months, well Africa is so huge we couldn't possibly explore everywhere! I have just read this blog entry and thanks, you've made me even more excited about my next adventure! If you want to see how Africa was like, check out our blog sometime!

permalink written by  chrischarly on October 21, 2010


We are off to India on the 7th November after just finishing exploring Africa for 3 months, well Africa is so huge we couldn't possibly explore everywhere! I have just read this blog entry and thanks, you've made me even more excited about my next adventure! If you want to see how Africa was like, check out our blog sometime!

permalink written by  chrischarly on October 21, 2010


Yes you are right. I also afraid of sleeping alone as I never slept alone.......we live in family.

permalink written by  Kostubh on November 9, 2010

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