Initial impressions: The Sounds & Smells of India

It’s late, dark, and I’ve only seen the airport. My observations are somewhat limited so far, but initial impressions..

As we were landing, my seat companion (another woman of Indian descent who has grown up in the States) said, “And that’s India. You’re gonna smell that every day for two weeks.”

She described it as a mixture of burning trash and raw sewage. That sounds a lot worse than it is, but there is a definitive odor. It’s distinctive. Not necessarily bad. It reminds me a bit of the Dominican Republic. The smell of the developing world.

Behind the row of airport chairs where I’m sitting, Mumbai’s version of elevator music is being pumped out of a speaker. I was just treated to a Bollywood-ified version of La Macarena.

On the ground less than two hours, I’ve already seen my first slums, lined up against the airport walls, seen from the windows on the airport bus. Several lights dotted the rows and rows of shacks. I wondered who’s up late, what they’re doing. I envision a diligent young student, studying. A hardworking mother, mending. So many stories I’ll never hear.

Much, much more to come…

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