Posts Tagged ‘Rags to Riches’

An aspect about this month-long trip to Mumbai that I am very thankful for, but rarely considered before I left, is the location of our residency. The service apartments that were willing to take us in for a month are located in Chandivali, Powai. I know that means nothing to you, but to me it is an area that truly gives us a sense of the realities in India.

Chandivali has no tourists, no luxurious hotels, and certainly no fancy restaurants with western cuisine to indulge in. This is not the experience I would have chosen on my own, but it is most certainly the one I needed to have. Every day I become more and more grateful for the life I have at home. The phrase Home Sweet Home has never been more accurate.

While travelling to other towns and areas throughout Mumbai, I discovered a common thread that has persistently struck me. Outside of our neighborhood there are countless areas where you will find a high-rise luxury apartment or corporate building, but take nearly ten steps on either side and you will run into slums, people sleeping on the street, and stray animals.

These sights have been extremely hard to grasp because I am being exposed to opposite extremes in a matter of seconds. While in a cab or rickshaw on the highway, I have often passed an upscale mall or a company’s headquarters surrounded by men sleeping on all sorts of uncomfortable surfaces. These malls have security guards and metal detectors at each entry, whereas the men on the street spend the night on a single blanket, in the same outfit they wore in the¬†sweltering¬†heat that day.

Furthermore, I have passed apartment buildings surrounded by towering gates, while men are sleeping in their rickshaws right out front. I have even seen a BMW stuck in traffic alongside a dirty motorcycle carrying three passengers, none of which were wearing helmets. At Film City, where Whistling Woods International is located, you will come across stray dogs in the school’s cafeteria as well as children playing cricket in the sand. These sightings and encounters cease to amaze me with each day that passes.

My current location here in Mumbai has opened my eyes to the good and the bad. It has made me the minority and put me in a position where I am forced to take in the cruel lifestyles that many Indians must go through to survive. Never before has my home felt so sweet.


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