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Over the past five days, I’ve been repeatedly trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am actually in India.  I’m not suffering any type of severe culture shock or anything, but, it seems almost seems like a dream that I have been here and have been taking in the sights, as well as sounds that pervade Mumbai.

Sights are definitely one matter, but, I think the sounds of Mumbai is definitely something I have been consciously trying to do. Usually in the states when I am walking around or driving in my car, my ever reliable iPod is my constant companion. Whether I have my earbuds plugged into my ears or if music is emanating from my car’s radio speakers, I rarely take the time to just listen to the outside ambience in America and take things in.

In my travels abroad, I have maintained that there are certain sounds that define a culture. Mumbai has been no exception. A constant cacophony of horns has pretty much been the consistent soundtrack of the last few days, and will continue to be so for the rest of my time here. Moreover, however, I think it’s key to also listen for other sounds that define the culture here: the language and other idiosyncrasies that are uniquely a part of Mumbai.

Instead of choosing to create a divide with my iPod, taking the time to actually listen to the outside and hear distinct details has been incredibly rewarding and valuable. I think it allows for an actual immersion into the culture that constitutes a country.

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