I usually find irony in my daily routine by retreating in my three bedroom apartment after visiting slums all day; however no day has seen the extreme contrasts as yesterday. We took a tour of Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest and most famous slums. We toured around for hours looking at the way people live amid waste and sewage and work in the most unbearable conditions without any precautions.
After we were thoroughly covered in dust, sweat and pity, we hopped in a taxi and went straight to one of Mumbai’s most posh hotels, to the 33rd storey rooftop patio bar to watch the sunset with a 20$ martini in hand (Kiel, we are definitely going back during happy hour). While relaxing in this super swanky outdoor lounge with a million dollar, 360 degree view, we couldn’t help but bask in the irony of the contrasting conditions we had just stepped out of. The shanty towns were now only specks below that faded from our minds as the sun did into the Arabian Sea beyond.
Here are a few more:
- How vibrantly coloured the street is against the dreary concrete buildings and dusty roads. Saris, scarves and spices fill the washed out public spaces with life.
- Hands, the left is so different from the right, used for entirely opposite activities it gets decorated and fingernails painted, whereas the right is used for eating so unadorned and nails cut short
- People don’t really have music playing in the cars or restaurants or homes that we pass (the doors are usually kept open) But when there is a festival on the music doesn’t stop. The speakers are turned to the max and people stand directly in front of them, I can hear them loud and clear from my bedroom (as I try to sleep) three blocks away!
- The food is either spicy or very sweet, no neutral. They always warn us before ordering a sweet meal, not the other way around.
- The content of Hindi movies compared to real life – insane and outrageous!
I know there are many more contrasts that I can’t think of at the moment so I’ll add them here as they come to me!