The one thing the hits me day after day is how big India is, and how many people live here.
In Mumbai we went on a guided tour around Dharavi slum – the one from slum dog millionaire. The slum was very different to what I had expected. It’s a functioning community with huge recycling and leather works industry, as well as a school, hospital, and temples. Our guide told us that many people live here by choice, because it’s in a handy location to work, and it has infrastructures and communities to live decently. Though I’m sure there were only showing the bits that they wanted us to see. 1 million people live in this slum. One million!
After a few weeks or weaving through motorbikes, tuktuks, men with trolleys, cows, goats, dogs, horses, and people, I did get sort of used to it. I guess I learned how to get used to the noise, and just get on with my day, just like 1.3 billion Indians do every day. Though, when I’m hungry I get real agitated and feel like I want to punch everyone in their face and yell at people staring at me. I get a bottle of trusty coke when I feel hangry Miri coming.
It’s a country of extremes – when it’s good, it’s amazing, but when it’s bad, you just want to stay in the air-conditioned room and not talk to anyone. I often find myself smiling as I’m walking down the street. Everyone’s curious and wants to say hi, offer you a chai, then try to sell you something. But it’s all very pleasant experience so far.