I arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai, India) on Wednesday night and my first “wow” moment was at the sight of a magnificent edifice which was the newly constructed airport itself. Modern, spacious, beautiful and best of all, it still has a traditional taste to it with the presence of local artifacts as part of the design. It was such a beautiful sight and a great way to welcome visitors into the country.
My first few days in India were nothing but spectacular. Mumbai is different; different in a good way and I enjoy it, despite sometimes getting frustrated about simple things as crossing the street. The streets are always busy, daytime or night. To me, it is the real “city that never sleeps”. Drivers and motorists honk as though it is a musical instrument that produces a soothing sound to calm nerves in the hot afternoon. Simply, they honk like crazy!
The warmth and friendliness that emanates from the people of Mumbai will instantly make you forget you are in a strange land. The spirit of togetherness and collectivism is so healthy I literally didn’t need time to settle or blend in because everyone at Euclid Infotech ensured we naturally and quickly became part of the family too. I haven’t missed home much, yet. There is always a helping hand, a smile to greet you and a lovely and genuine concern from everyone to know how you are doing and most importantly, everyone was on board to get us prepared for the work ahead.
My first weekend in Mumbai was epic!
On Saturday 29th June, Shun Harada (my other colleague from Centennial College) and I had a tour of Southern Mumbai. We were accompanied by Mr. Alexander Haung, the Vice President of Euclid infotech and a very good friend of ours. We visited the “Haji-Ali” mosque and afterwards walked about 5km around town through the busy streets and ended up the famous and activity-filled “Marine Drive”. I especially loved the Marine Drive because it reminded me of similar places I used to hang out back home in Canada. By the time we ended up at the “Gate of India”, we were totally drenched in sweat and we were absolutely knackered. Sightseeing at this point didn’t seem appealing anymore and we hopped onto the next available taxi and came back home.
The following weekend, we were back on the road, this time accompanied by two colleagues from the office; Shashank Srivastava and Prakhar Sahu. Again it was epic because we experienced a real tour as went all the way to the “Elephanta Caves” on a boat cruise. But before, let me mention we journeyed on the local train to downtown and it was such an experience. From Mira Road station to Churchgate was quite a long ride on the Express train or “Fast Train” as the locals call it. Typical to a local train in India and particularly Mumbai where the population alone is half that of the population of the whole of Canada, the train was packed and overflowing by the time we boarded. As is always the case with these trains, it is always full and passengers neither worry too much about their comfort nor sadly sometimes, their safety. What appears crucial for them is getting to their destinations, however. We hopped on and a few stops later we managed to secure seats at the back as some passengers hopped off.
Long ride it was but was worth it and soon we arrived at the port, Gate of India. After queuing for a bit, we boarded and headed for the island – forgotten the name – where the caves were. The boat cruise itself took about an hour, and then we had to walk up a hill to where the caves themselves were situated. The caves were magnificent and to imagine the sculptors managed to carve out their ideas into such an edifice with the basic tools and practically no high-end technology was mind-boggling. Truly impressive and a sight to behold for a long time.
A few weeks later and I am slowly naturalizing, even picking up a few Hindi words and statements. I hope to come back home totally transformed and so far I am pretty halfway through.
The story continues…