The wind is blowing strongly today, from the west. It has knocked all the clouds out of the sky and blown the city dust away. Each green leaf of the leggy tree outside our 4th floor windows has been swept clean. Plastic chai cups, cigarette butts and paan packets are flying across the car park, gathering in handy piles on the sheltered side of the compound. Small sparrows are preening behind pot plants on our balcony and pigeons are hiding behind the AC compressor, cooing contently. The gulmohar is stripped of it’s dead flowers and dried seed pods, the banyan tree leans above it, rustling and swaying in a slow arc. The drivers are sitting by the back wall, watching their newly washed cars become enveloped in a fine coating of dust, whipped up from the construction site down the road. Two crows are keeping a fierce watch over their nest in the garden box of an empty apartment. The wind is sending shivers of feathers down their sleek black backs.
The interior of our sleek black Mercedes is a cool, clean beige. A children’s nursery rhyme is humming from the stereo, above which I can hear the steady
tuck, tuck, tuck
of the turn indicator.
My driver is tall, moustached and sensible. He sits with his hands resting lightly on the wheel, waiting for the signal to change.
My eighteen month old daughter sits next to me in her impact-resistant car seat and we both look out at the wide sprawl of Chowpatty Beach, South Mumbai’s litter-laced, fish-stinking golden-sand beach.
Hundreds of pigeons gather round a circular bird feeding area – their gray bodies swarm and peck over tiny grains, then flap flap their way heavily into the sky. They swirl and land, swirl and land in stage-managed precision.
car, car… bus!
look up mama, sky!
my daughter says as I hold up her snack box, revealing a still-warm omelette. We are lunching on the go, on the way to an afternoon playdate.
tap, tap, tap
A head appears at my daughter’s window.
She is a young girl, maybe eight, possibly twelve. She is slight and small and wears a green floral dress, once proud and pretty, now worn, filthy and limp. The puffy shoulders look silly and big against her stick-thin scratched-up arms. Her hair is wild, matted; her lips are cracked and rough.
My daughter squeals with delight.
girl, girl, mama see!
eyes, nose, teeth, ears, hair
madam five rupees please madam
She eyes the light yellow omelette, the full water bottle and licks her lips as the signal light changes from red to green, a block ahead. The driver impatiently nudges our car forward and her face disappears, returning quickly outside my window.
madam please only five rupees madam
Her voice is low and urgent as she shuffles back and forth.
girl, girl, look mama
hi, hi girl!
Our car leaps forward suddenly, racing to beat the signal and I turn quickly to look out the rear window. The small girl is standing still, looking back at us. Her tiny feet are bare on the searing midday street, and she is framed by a blue sky and wide flock of swirling pigeons.
so I’ve decided to come back here.. to my little space on the net. Will focus more on Mumbai, my writing, photos, and thoughts than on personal posts, as that is what had caused me to stop in the end – it all can be a bit strange, this sharing with strangers of our inner lives, no?
after a very long break, I am resurrecting the blog as I now really do have something to talk about.. pregnancy! today puts me at 16 and a half weeks and there is finally a bit of a bump developing (although it also be mistaken for the result of an overindulgent lunch).
the last few months have been a whirlwind of nausea and vomiting; house renovations and planning; packing, moving and unpacking; study failures and successes; hours waiting for repairmen and kitchen fun wherein I try to remember how to cook and be a good homemaker for my hardworking husband (so far i’m up to about 3 meals per week).
I have decided to put the business plans on hold for a while, a year or so I guess, as I dont really have the mental space for it at the moment, along with the fact that I am still going through bouts of nausea and get exhausted after 2 hours out of the house. I decided I woulsn’t be able to do it justice right now and would only stress myself out, so instead am concentrating on the house, study, eating well and looking after myself. I have yet to put on any weight (undecided if I should be happy that i’ve lost 5kgs so far?!) so am trying to force myself to constantly eat, eat, eat. which isn’t a bad project to be working on!
so that’s me.. will be back to regular posting from now on, and some bump pics and house renovation pics to come soon
while procrastinating from essay writing (as usual) I stumbled across the gorgeous photography of Alicia Bock, via the great blog sfgirlbybay that I mentioned here earlier in the week.
Alicia’s photos are so captivating, yet so serene and restful and when I look at them I feel like I am peeping through glass into another magical world where it’s perpetually a beautiful summers day.
They also remind me of the beach that I grew up on in New Zealand, which is strange since Alicia is in Michigan, in the States.
Here are my favourites so far, all available at her online store :
…is breezy and hot. A crow is outside my window is caw cawwing it’s lungs out and if i knew for sure it was the one that woke me up at 6am and 6.15am this morning I would have no hesitation in throwing something at it.
I am surrounded by a pile of papers.. trying to study and start a business from the 2 ft square desk area where you also keep all bills, receipts, old journals, fabric samples and orange peels is not so good an idea.. The tangled mess of wires from the new high speed internet is forgiven for the 10% of desk area it also takes up, but I’m sure the novelty will wear off soon.
Mumbai tonight is noisy (when isn’t it?), and horns are honking furiously on the street below, protesting indignantly at that taxi pulling in front of them, or the light which is just about to turn green.
The sea breeze is strong and is rattling windows and blowing the curtains around. My fan is making slow circles above my head and some excel sheets are trying to make a break for it from underneath the cordless phone.
The Word document ‘assignment one’ (due on Friday) keeps intruding on my pleasant internet surfing, as does the pile of dirty laundry in the corner of the room.
Mumbai tonight is just another Tuesday in March.. the promise of a long weekend ahead, the knowledge of 2 more days (of assignment writing) to go…