Ajay and I arrived in Mumbai with our backpacks and my wet wash and were greeted by relatives at the airport. My husband’s cousin hung up the wash to dry. In Mumbai, unlike Europe in November, it was warm enough to dry in no time. I’d brought only what clothes I could carry in that darn backpack so it was essential that the clothes be dried quickly. Most of our stuff was being shipped including most of our clothes, so it would take a while to reach India.
Ajay’s cousin fed us well but also bought some snack from a stand on the beach. Big mistake for me and my American stomach. I became very ill. The only good thing was that my feet and ankles had been swelling and believe me, the excess water in my system left me in no time.
We decided after a few days when I felt better to proceed to the city (which shall remain nameless to protect the privacy of friends and relatives) where we were to make our permanent home. Actually, the permanent home was occupied so we had to stay at a hotel. Ajay’s idea was to eventually check out a lovely resort area in the nearby foothills. This resort was being developed by a friend of his and had building sites. We would sell the flat when it came into my husband’s possession once more. Pictures of this resort had been what first lured me to India to retire. Ajay was already retired and I had left my present job at a call center with dreams of living my remaining years in a resort. It was a beautiful dream which died a premature death.
We took up residence at an old hotel which was inexpensive because they were rebuilding. The floor beneath ours was being gutted so that it could be rebuilt inside without tearing down the whole building. I will call this hotel picturesque to be kind. It was the type of Indian hotel where you went out and came back and employees asked you where you had gone. My husband, who had been homesick for his homeland, thought it was great to be thought of as one of the family. Actually, the desk clerk discovered that they were distantly related and we went to visit his immediate family.
What added to the family atmosphere was a dog named Tiger who belonged to one of the employees. This was a large, fat animal who would wander into the open lobby and drink from a fountain pool there. He not only made himself at home, it was his home, at least during the day. I was sitting in the courtyard eating an egg one day and Tiger came over and plopped his big head right in my lap. He was quite used to being fed by employees and guests, thus his girth.
I’ll conclude today’s blog with a short poem:
The Indian City Footpaths (Sidewalks For Westerners)
You go out for your daily walk,
And look about the town;
But you must take care where you step,
Because it’s up and down.
There are broken tiles and pipes and holes.
The loose rocks make you frown;
And if you don’t watch where you step,
You will fall down, down, down.
It doesn’t matter if you’re poor,
Or someone of renown,
The footpaths still remain the same;
They’re always up and down.