Organized Chaos Meets Chaotic Chaos: Welcome To Mumbai

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


In a city of 21 million (with some parts containing more than a million people per square mile), it’s almost impossible in Mumbai to come by peace and quiet or to avoid images of heartbreak while traveling in the city.

As David Farley describes in his piece at World Hum, a stroll on the way to Crawford Market, Mumbai’s main greenmarket, entails a conflicting experience of gaining the attention of child beggars, elderly vagabonds, and middle-aged peddlers, images made all the more poignant after seeing Slumdog Millionaire.

Upon finally arriving, David finds the market to be every traveler’s dream: an escape from the tourist trail and a glimpse into the inner-working of the local culture.

I eventually made it back to the Crawford Market and was dazzled by the medieval bazaar-like quality of the place. Sunlight soared in through breaks in the high, strewn-together canopy ceiling, illuminating bales of hay, tied up goats and wandering bovines. Muslim men, their white skull caps and beards identifying them from their fellow Hindu denizens, huddled together sipping tea, while veiled Hindu ladies sat on crates in a semicircle. There were no tourists. No big balloon salesmen. There was plain rice and no one offering to write my name on a grain. No one really even paid much attention to me.

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