There is a lot of poverty in Mumbai… that much is true. And yes, seeing kids on the street… that ain’t easy either. I’ve already had a few kids tap at the window of cabs when we were stopped in traffic, but when the little girl tapped me…. bwoy (oh boy)!!
She couldn’t have been more than 5 years old. I was out and about on tour of a school and we were waiting to cross a busy street when I felt something poking me on my leg. When I looked and saw her standing beside me, I immediately looked away. Why? I was surprised, caught off guard, and my heart tugged 😦 When I looked back she was just standing there, poking my leg. She didn’t say a word. Then she stopped. And when I didn’t respond she began innocently poking my leg again….tap, tap, tap.
One of the people I was with shook their head at her and gently told her ‘no’. She stopped and then walked away.
Aggghhhh….I know there will be more experiences like that 😦
It’s not just people living in poverty, but people living in what North Americans might consider “impoverished conditions”. Wages are low for the majority so it is only natural that needs come before wants as opposed to getting what you ‘need’ AND what some of what you ‘want’ at the same time. For some of us that’s our DEBT because we tip the scale and satisfy our immediate wants at the expense of our long term needs, and yet we still have to find a way to get our needs met. Enter, debt! Oh to live a simple life… I digress…
Often times when things are tight you HAVE to take care of your needs, and by the time you’re done, there is nothing left for your ‘wants’. So yes, you might have a roof over your head- but that roof may also leak with every heavy rain. I have seen lots of creative ways to ‘leak proof’ a flat. Blue tarps are everywhere 🙂 held down by random bricks on rooftops.
Mumbai is a very interesting place. I have a lot to learn. I thank God I am an open person. I am realizing that I am more open than I thought I was…not that I was a closed person before. But I am not surprised or shocked by what I see everyday. By this I mean culture shock has not been raw this far. Many people attempted to prepare me for what I would be experiencing…seeing a lot of poverty, being immersed in a culture very different from my own and a different way of life (we’ll save the talk of food for another day). I also attempted to prepare myself, by doing a lot research. I haven’t truly experienced all there is about Mumbai… no where near scratching the surface. But I like what I see. ‘Seeing’ Mumbai is looking beyond the physical… it really is… and that came to me naturally. The buildings aren’t pretty-unless they’re places of worship or historical buildings. It’s seeing ‘inside’ Mumbai that one can come to know Mumbai. Inside flats where people live, inside offices where people work, talking with people and just watching people do what they do everyday.
Mumbai is full of HARD WORKING people!! More on this another day.