An elegant sufficiency

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A morning walk

An hour or two this morning gave us a chance to go out and see a little of the city. Since we'd visited the usual tourist sights on a previous trip, we chose to walk straight past the Chhashivaji maharaj vastu sangrahalaya (formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum) and instead, observe the daily life around us.

Some considerable contrasts here - the city is dusty and not exactly sparkly clean, and yet as the workers streamed out of the buses and trains they were remarkably well pressed and smartly dressed. Even at this early hour, it was hot and sticky and we felt far from crisp ourselves!

Every second shop front was full of adverts for mobile phones, for internet and technology of some kind. And yet, there on the street, life was a little more basic for some.

The business dress of the men - pastel shirts and flannels - was in sharp contrast to that of the women who wore the most beautifully coloured sarees and shalwar kameez.

Standing in the Chhatrapati Sivaji Station, formerly known as the Victoria Terminus (VT), we wondered how it was that most of the brightly dressed women got off the train first and stole a march on the rest of the trainfull of passengers. In the five minutes we stood there, several trains came in and went out, giving us ample opportunity to spot the sign on the first carriage, marking it out for women only.

As we stood there, quietly observing the comings and goings, men hurried past us with baskets on their heads, water dripping down their neck from whatever it was inside.

Taking a left turn heading back to our hotel, we walked past the grounds of the
Bombay Gymkhana

The clubhouse looked as though it had been lifted straight from a Home Counties Village Green!

Finally, I had a mission to resolve. Working on my journal last evening, I discovered that I had left behind my hole punch and a glue stick. Surely somewhere along this street, I would be able to buy replacements? The first place looking anything vaguely like a stationers we saw was a simple hole in the wall type of place, with piles of paper and notebooks. It was worth asking though - and my request was greeted with a nod and immediate presentation of exactly what I was looking for from the shelves to the side of the tiny counter. One single hole punch and two glue sticks - a total cost of 98Rp, which, with 70 Rp to a £, is a bargain by any standards, I reckon.

Delightful service with a smile, too.

We continued back to the Apollo Bunder and mooched around the local tourists who were doing what all tourists do. Taking photos and enjoying being here, just like us.



  • I am loving "seeing" this with you.. wish I were there... this is going to be such a great trip!

    By Blogger jordi , at 4:10 pm  

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