Chak De Andrea!

Follow the exciting and not so exciting adventures of Andrea in Mumbai...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Well it’s been awhile since you last heard from me, and I’ve had many more exciting adventures since then including grocery shopping, catching local trains and actually making it to work (despite the rain)!

At the moment it’s just Jenny and I in the apartment, but her friend Piya may be moving in soon, and then we’ll have another flatmate at the end of the month. Luckily this means that very soon I will be able to pay at least a bit less rent. We’ve also just gotten cable television connected at our place, meaning that I can now watch all of the crappy hindi soaps, movies and songs that I could ever want. All under the excuse of improving my language skills of course.

So since part of the roof at the office had fallen in due to the rains, I met my new boss Devika at her apartment instead, which was very beautiful as her husband is an architect. This was my first local train experience, as we took a train from Bandra to Mahalaxmi in order to reach there. Luckily it was nowhere near peak hour when we left, and so it was quite easy to find a space in the train and we even got to sit (believe me, this is quite rare).

Local trains aren’t as bad as everybody makes them out to be, although during peak hour they do get VERY, VERY crowded and there is a fair deal of pushing and shoving as people try to get on and off. Luckily there are special ladies compartments, so I didn’t have to worry about having to deal with any men in close quarters.

I’m hoping that today I’ll be able to upload some photos for you, so keep your eyes open. If I do, then there will be an announcement on the blog with the web address of them.

So then after meeting with Devika I went to my first ever mobile crèche centre which is at a building site at the old Simplex Mills at Mahalaxmi. The crèche itself is divided into three areas, one for infants up until three years, one for three to five years and one for school age children who aren’t in formal education. While they learn in the morning, the afternoon is for fun and games, and the kids were making some beautiful artwork when I arrived. I spent the rest of the afternoon there observing, and then today had my first day in the office, where the fallen section had been repaired and was in the process of being replastered. Today I mainly met the rest of the office staff and was given a variety of documents to read in order to get me up to speed with developments. The rest of my week will mainly be spent visiting different centres so that I can get a proper feel for the organization.

Okay, I actually wrote the above bit quite awhile ago, and the rest of this week I’ve been visiting various crèches to get a feel for the organization. I won’t go into too many details, but instead will tell you several things I’ve learned over the past few days.

1) It’s very easy to walk onto a construction site in India. I never needed to show any idea, I just told them I was there for mobile crèches and they let me go straight in and navigate my way around the work in progress until I found the centre, some of them are quite far away from the main gate, so I have to keep
2) Indian builders are far politer than Australian ones. I haven’t had a single comment/cat call/anything in all the time I’ve been wandering around construction sites recently.
3) (Not really related to above two points) You can tell whether somebody owns their own rickshaw/taxi by what coloured shirt they wear, owners wear white shirts, while those renting them wear brown.
4) I’ve decided that I don’t like coming into Colaba, too many tourists, and too many people trying to sell things to them. Does this make me a snob?

Well let’s see, what other interesting things are there about my life that I can tell you?

Well, rather than making dinner (we don’t actually have a stove) we have a tiffin delivered to us six times a week (every day except Sunday), it usually has rice, two vege curries and some chapatti.

Also, our other new flatmate Piya, has moved in. This actually wasn’t planned, but she’s a friend of Jenny’s from work and she was staying in a really dodgy hostel (rats etc) that she wanted to get out of, so now she’s joined our happy apartment!

Because the internet was down last night when I went to the café, I delayed posting this once again so now I can tell you about my day today (Saturday the 11th August).

Well I caught a train downtown to Churchgate Station and then spent the rest of the day walking around. In the meantime I managed to buy myself four outfits, an iron (as in one that irons clothes), and a pair of sandles, since I managed to break a pair (not yours, Mum!) by tripping up the stairs during rush hour at Bandra station. I bought the iron at Crawford Market, a huge undercover market in Fort, which mainly sells household goods and food stuffs. There were mainly stalls selling chocolates, breakfast cereals, jams and other spreads, and interestingly, Australian Kraft Cheddar cheese. Which I was very tempted to buy, but which was waaaaaaay overpriced.

Also it hadn’t been in a fridge.

I also had a trek through ‘Fashion Street’ which is really just a bunch of stalls on the footpath of MG Road, selling everything from t-shirts to pants to bags to salwar-kameez to shoes, hats, etc etc. It was here that I got two salwar kameez outfits very cheaply (the other two were from a store, making them probably better quality and also more expensive).

Then it was time to go home and I grabbed myself a seat and squashed myself between various aunties on the train for the journey home.


Bombay life.


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