Way behind in posting, a lot planning and coordination to attend to. Our first night (about four weeks ago now) in Mumbai (Bombay if you were in my high school World History class), we stayed out by the airport. In the afternoon after arriving we took a little walk around the neighborhood. On the flight in we had seen several areas of sprawling cramped housing, more like ghettoes than shanty towns. Looking for a shortcut back to the hotel, we entered one of these areas beside the railway yards. This post includes no photos. I would have felt like an intruder. We walked for about fifteen minutes and then had to turn around and walk back out the same way. Strong impressions stay with us. First, we were watched but not hassled. No one came up asking for money. At almost all tourist areas there were several holding out their hands and calling to us. The one and two room hovels have no running water. Bathing, clothes washing, and necessities are performed around a public lavatory. For all of that, the area was pretty clean and orderly. People were busy. Mothers cooked meals, kids played ball games, children walked back from school, men worked on trishaws, vegetable sellers tended their produce. After we turned around and worked our way back to the entrance, thre boys we passed ran ahead of us, stopped and called out, “Hello.”
Here’s the Google map of the area. This highlights a contrast seen often in India. Next to a rundown area there are International schools, modern office buildings, colleges and universities.