The very disorganized expedition

17/02/2015 (Train from Daman to Mumbai)

We're going (I think it is the better class) from Vapi to Mumbai. Finally the time has come to gather my wits and write what is on my mind. I suppose it will be a casual collection which will hopefully form a sensible whole. Two days is way too little to understand and make order out of chaos. Nevertheless, I see some complexity, which might be hard to grasp without goodwill and sensitiveness to other people. It's been only two days in India. Two hot and full of amazement days. The schedule of our travel may seem as chaotic and changing as streets of Indian villages and cities. However, “though this be madness, yet there's method in't”. We're spontaneous and consensual. The way in front of us seems to fall into place.

Mumbai is a city for people with nerves of steel. The smell is as it is: different. Hard to define. It changes as you make another step. Sometimes it is sweet, then reeky so much you fight yourself not to grimace. You can smell incense, spices... gutter. Sometimes all at once. It's so intense, that when I'm taking a photo, I'm thinking how do I convey the smell. Sometimes I even resign, when I realise, the photo is pointless without the smell. Mumbai is the accumulation, as if everything was 100 fold intensified here. Maybe I'm wrong...?

The difficulty I face here is the lack of the ability to react appropriately. The choice of smiling or not smiling comes repeatedly during the day. The diversity is big. One person apparently awaits your initiative and feels awarded with it. Another, on the other hand, stays unimpressed. You don't want to be intrusive, so you try not to attract attention, though it sounds ludicrous, when you as the only one “are what you are”.

Mumbai is also the people lying in the streets. Sometimes immersed in sleep, and sometimes... Hmmm, this is the point: sometimes their airtight cover and randomness of the place suggest “something” that boggles my mind. Thus, I decide not to take an interest in it. Both situations trigger off lots of thoughts. Those mundane and those grandiloquent, concerning humanity, but not just yet about that.

Agricultural fields at the station, between the tracks, make no surprise to the locals. Beautiful dresses, opulent buildings and excellent food are typical not only for Mumbai, but probably whole India. Nevertheless, we ran away as soon as it was possible, it means on the exact same day. The noise, the amount of people per square meter, the mess and our fatigue dulled our ability to see beauty in all of it. We wanted shorter distances, more space and time to sleep everything off. Because of that, we chose Daman, a seaside town. It certainly isn't so extraordinary, but for me it means the first encounters, first food, first shower and first beer. We meet good people in our way. People who want us to feel good with them. They say we are their guests. They want to make their country look good in the eyes of foreigners. And us? Who are we to judge the country we don't know? They appreciate we even came to their country. I appreciate them for making me feel gifted. Yesterday, one of such good people said: “India is not a good place to live, but Indian people are good people to live with”. My microscopic experience confirms that. I delight in freedom, wind in the train, the view outside the window, each new taste. I'm even happy with the weight of my backpack and the thought that this inconvenience is everything I need now. I'm waiting and anticipating an upset stomach. So far I'm extraordinarily well. My companions either. I limit myself in the matter of hygene, eating and drinking. However, when I look at the people here I think they are well, and I must look like a lapdog with my antibacterial gel. Because of that I decided to use it discreetly.

We agreed that overpopulation determines creation of new jobs, that are funny to us, on the other hand, they seem necessary. For example, a mosquitoes killer. And the question occurs: has he got a chance for advancement? And if he has, is it about terminating most of the insects? How far does the walk of life reach? Hmmm, no one knows.

The astonishing number of people catches attention with every step you take. Pushed transportation of goods. 3-people rickshaw with 7-8 passengers. None seems to care about people going by train holding it from the outside. You have to plan a jump for a bench being vacated to have a chance to sit. When we came here we were convinced, we will be cheated, we will overpay and we will be robbed. Nothing of the above has happened so far. The truth is, that information of the prices and a bit of courage in negotiation is a remedy against that. It is so natural that trader wants to make money, but when we convert the prices, we get the sum of 0,60 zł. It is cheap. Still it isn't worthy negecting the negotiations. Firstly, you make verbal contact with natives. Secondly, you are not a sucker. Thirdly, each negotiated złoty HAS THE REAL VALUE here. Because of that it is worthy negotiating! Tomorrow we head north. 22 hours in the train sounds like a challenge.