Friday, October 24, 2008

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”

Post by: Beth (Who am I kidding? This is a joke. Raja doesn't even READ the blog anymore.)

So I woke up this morning and decided to take some pictures of the view from our window in our bedroom. Bombay is situated on the Arabian Sea, and apartments that have a view of the bay (Mahim Bay) are laid out in an interesting way ... sort of long and narrow, with 2 out of the 4 sides constructed almost entirely of windows. In ours, the bedrooms and living area are on the water side, so each of those rooms have one wall that is essentially just a huge window. The goal of this construction-style is to have a panoramic city and water view that is as uninterrupted as possible. If you walk into our front door and straight down the hallway, looking right, the only breaks in the long stretch of city line and water are the walls that separate one room from another. This is beautiful and really what sold us on this apartment, but the disadvantage comes in the morning when the sun (is there anything brighter than the morning sun in India? seriously??) comes in through the huge windows. This is an easy fix with heavy curtains, but with all the work still being done in here, we don't have very heavy curtains yet. Still, it's a VERY small price to pay to be able to wake up and look out our windows and see an amazing view of Bombay.

The view is great and we're high up enough to where we can hear the sounds of the city, but can't see the roads and traffic and masses of people. It's great to be able to relax in the morning in our home before we submerge ourselves in the dusty streets, cacophony, and confusion. There are points in time where we'll be in a restaurant or a shop, or even in our home, and I literally forget I'm in India. (I've taken to judging restaurants' atmospheric quality by whether or not I feel like I'm in India during the entire meal. If you lived here, you'd understand.. Everything is so vastly different that if I manage to be surprised by the madness when I step back out on the streets, that place of establishment gets 5 stars in my book of ratings.) This actually happens a couple of times a week, but I've also learned that if I search for reminders that I'm still in this country, I can usually find them. The perfect example provided itself this morning as I'm taking (what I find to be) picturesque views of the city and water line. So peaceful.. almost awe-inspiring... and then I look down to one of the outdoor patio areas and am quickly reminded "Oh yep.. I'm in India. Definitely." The cause of the reminder?- One of the construction workers that is working on our apartment building is taking a shower on the patio, with the use of a hose and some soap he brought from somewhere. (I will say that it's not uncommon for people to sleep and bathe outside in this city.. After all, if you remember the pictures of homes from my earlier blog post, many homes don't have air conditioning or power. It's not very practical to take an actual shower in a home that has a dirt floor, and it's much more comfortable to sleep outside where the breeze from the water can find you. So anytime you drive down the streets after midnight or so, it's not uncommon to see sleepers lining the sidewalks, and in the mornings, many residents don small clothing items and shower outside.) Things like this stop seeming strange after a while and I hardly take notice anymore. But most of you readers would probably find it as curious as I did in the beginning here, so I wanted to post some photos I captured from our window. (By the way.. this man DOES have shorts on. They're a tan color, so hard to see in the photo, but they ARE there, I promise. I never would have taken photos otherwise!!)

This is right after I spied him with my little eyes.... I saw this man undressing on the patio and was very confused. I tried to urge Raja over to the window so he could help figure it out (maybe it's a man thing??) but he was busy trying to get the internet to work. I figured "Fine.. if my alarmed cry of 'This man is getting naked on the patio!!' doesn't seem to concern him, must investigate further on my own." I hurriedly scrambled to find the camera, because thought to myself that a man undressing in broad daylight may be leading to some Indian activity that is picture-worthy.

By this point, I'd realized that he was just taking a shower. Was less eventful than originally thought, so was disappointedly putting camera away.. hopes of authentic Indian activity in which one must be mostly undressed have dissipated in a puff. Then remembered that most of you may never have been spies of Indian men showering outside, so started clicking away with camera. (Raja still seems unconcerned that I am taking pictures of could-be-naked man.)

Once shower complete, said man dried off with thin cloth-like towel he brought along. Quite efficient at this, he is actually.

Is now almost dressed and ready for work day. Entire shower took only 3 or 4 minutes.
Picked this moment to halt my voyeurism, and casually sauntered back to bed.. Offered Raja camera to view photos, but still seemed uninterested in the could-be-naked guy from the patio.

In the meantime, will keep eyes peeled for any authentic Indian activities requiring partial undress.


Rhonda Walker said...

hmm i never see that kind of stuff out my windows. if granny finds out she might be the one to make you some thick curtains. =)

Big Cuz said...

LOL!! the way you write about your excursions is so funny!! question though... is that the bay that is (what looks like) it is in between two cities in the picture? it is so hazy there! it is hard for me to make out. I want to see some pictures of the inside... constuction and all, you could have before and after pics.
cant wait for you to come home!!

The Freeman Family said...

Are the tan shorts a part of every naked man's outside shower ritual? What is the Arabian Sea like? A far cry from the Gulf? Cold/Hot?

Again, I am living vicariously through you. I guess I could Google all of this but first hand knowledge seems better.

Jenny said...

He really does look naked. Glad you didn't peek up and see the camera...hahaha!

Beth + Raja Gupta said...

Casey - Yes, the bay is between 2 parts of Bombay.. You have to go all the way around the bay to go into Worli, which is the part of Bombay you see on the other side.
Lee - Tan does seem to be a prominent color here.. I think it fits in w/all the dust maybe? And I don't know if the Arabian Sea is hot or cold, because it's actually too dirty for most people to even attempt to get into!