India 2001 Travel Diary, Part 7

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© 2001 Giles Orr

Friday 18 May 2001, 0645

What I have, that first manifested itself as a sore throat, is the common cold. I probably acquired it at the beginning of the trip while weak from lack of sleep. I wonder if I, or whoever I got it from, gave it to some of the others.

1130

In class.

At 0745, we were (most of us) bussed to the "Gateway to India." It was nice to see it with hardly any beggars and enterpreneurs. Our tour leader talked about the architecture, and led us to several other interesting buildings downtown. Probably got some good pictures. Even though it was morning, I/we got very warm. They gave out water on the bus to Jai Hind, and I drank a half liter on the spot.

The first talk of the morning was about the various religions of India. Well presented and developed. But the current speaker ... He's speaking on "The Moral Universe of the Ramayana and Mahabharata," and has thrown around too many Indian quotes and Indian terms for me to follow him. By the nods of our Indian faculty friends, it's all clear to them.

They are selling books today outside the lecture hall, apparently associated with the Swami who spoke first. Very cheap! I bought two:

   Meditation & Life by Swami Chinmayananda  Rs 90
   Undoing: Returning to Simplicity by Rudite Emir  Rs 40

I forgot to mention the book I got for Beate at the Prince of Wales Museum:

   something about Kathakali  Rs 1000 (~$22)

Big hardcover, very detailed, Beate should be happy.

1545 (at the hotel)

Another fairly good boxed lunch at Jai Hind: curried chicken sandwich, and small flat fried breads with spiced cooked paneer. Also orange soda that tasted exactly like the North American equivalent.

The bus drove us back to the hotel to drop off the folks who weren't going on to the Strand Bookstore - I stayed on the bus. The Strand is large by Mumbai standards, tiny by First World standards. Probably 25'x20' with a second storey the same size, and air conditioned. A much higher proportion of British books than I'm used to, a fair number of American ones, and some English language Indian printings. I don't want to carry any more books, and didn't think there was much other than Buddhist/Medititation stuff (which I've already got some of) that I'd really want, so I wandered into the street after about half an hour. I managed to find a clear piece of wall to stand against, and no one bothered me. It is what it is: a hot, crowded city trying to climb out of poverty. Not beautiful, not ugly. Just there. Teaming. Sweaty.

I crossed a major street to make it to a store that would have looked at home in Rosedale in Toronto, the Bombay Store. Air con, of course. Some carved trash at the front (Cottage Industries is actually much better for that), but some nice clothes.

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