Mumbai 10/11-10/14

There are so many adventures that I want to share, but Internet connection here is very limited…well, not really, it’s just that we have to pay 15 rupees per half hour in ECC lab or 10 rupees per half hour at the Internet Café in town. There’s no problem there, but the issue is that there is only one Ethernet cord in the lab and five computers and there are 27 students. It’s a pretty long wait to get to the cord since I like to use my own computer. The problem with the café is that it’s a 30 minutes walk away and when I go, I like to take a rickshaw back and it causes 50 rupees for the five minutes ride back. If I go everyday, it can get pretty pricey.

There, I got my excuses out of the way. But honestly, I really do enjoy being disconnected. I don’t feel obligated to always go online whenever I get the chance. I can read now, guys. I challenge you to go disconnected for a few days. It feels awesome!

We landed in Mumbai on the eleventh of this month, and I also turned 21. I don’t think I could have asked for a better gift. We toured the slums right away, and although the slums were, well, slums, the people there were so welcoming. That’s one difference we noticed right away about Indians and Egyptians. Indians are just so happy and content with their lives. Although they may not have much in terms of wealth, it seems that they have accepted this much and by accepting, it makes them happy. They live in such supportive communities also, which, I would argue, is a factor to their happiness. So we’re back at the idea of happiness. Have you been thinking about your own happiness?

In Mumbai, we met some Rizvi Law students and they also took us out that evening. We went to a club, and it was a really nice one: very classy setup. However, when we left the club to go back, it wasn’t five minutes of driving that we saw people sleeping on the streets. The lucky ones at least had a sheet; others just curled up against curbs and walls hoping to catch some warmth. I didn’t know how to feel then, and I still don’t know how to feel now about what I saw there. I want to do something about this, but what can I do? How can I return home and act as if this world does not exists when I already saw too much?

It’s quite difficult to draw the line between where the poor starts and the rich stops in Mumbai. Rent is super expensive too. There’s an apartment complex that charges 400,000 rupees for 1 square foot. Can you imagine?! And the richest man of India owns an apartment complex in the middle of the city. It’s 27 floors—he has 3 children, each has their own floor—an Olympic size swimming pool, 3 helipads on the roof, over 600 people to work and look after this building, but he doesn’t even live in it. It’s used for parties only. But the point is, right outside of this building are people sleeping on sidewalks at night, people begging for money, people who don’t even have proper clothing and this billionaire doesn’t even live in this place. This is what gets me.

We also visited the Elephanta Caves, went to an orphanage, and I went night parasailing. It was so fun! I was a little skeptical at first but I did it anyways. It felt like a being on a hot air balloon expect there’s nothing between your feet and the Arabian Sea. It was so great. Mumbai was nothing short of great.

*1 USD ~ 51-ish Rupees 

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