India!

Mumbai

The first view out the airplane window was of a massive rock formation, then an expanse of land interspersed with building complexes, and then the low-lying shanties with their grey-brown roofs and liberal patches of blue tarp.
I started grinning as I walked off the plane, and continued to feel good, even as my fellow passengers surged to the immigration queue, propelling me forward at their pace! A random stranger placed a call to my missing friend, and I settled down to wait under the yellow fever vaccination sign, content that I’m really here.

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Airport observation amused me for awhile, but that perfectly pleasant 80 degree (27 C) early afternoon shade was lulling me to sleep when who should appear? And then we were off! It is not apparent to me that Mumbai roads have lanes. Rickshaws compete to squeeze between cars, not to mention buses and trucks and that cow walking the wrong way up the middle of the road! I was so stunned I did not recover in time to snap a photograph! “Don’t worry,” Puru said. “There will be more.”
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He brought me to the tree-lined campus of the India Institute of Technology, where we enjoyed a yummy tofu-and-vegetable curry with naan. We were not the only ones interested in lunch:
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IIT is next to a wildlife preserve, they get all kinds of company, from monkeys to snakes to the occasional leopard. (So I’m told. Maybe they say that to all US Americans?) ­čśë
The professor had to go off and do a bit more work, so he left me alone in his office. Hehehe.
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At least it looks like he’s busy, huh? And still keeping up the activism: his office door displays a “Bush lies, out of Iraq” sticker, news articles on rural farmer suicides (rates increasing today) and victims of the DOW chemical explosion in Bhopal (still no justice, since 1984), a sticker supporting public transport, and a nice spread on novel ways the poor are organizing for electrical power.
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Feels like home ~ or, at least like the good old days.
­čÖé

One thought on “India!”

  1. So you were at IIT Bombay! No they tell the leopard story to every on, I was there way back in 1998 when I was doing my Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur and it was the inter-IIT sports meet. I loved those two lakes that they have near the campus.

    And you have been very brave about your airport experience, it freaks out so many people!

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