Yesterday I got to experience a small taste of everyday Indian life. The day started by going to a little mall to shop. It was an outdoor mall, but since it is monsoon, it is mostly covered with tarps. Most of the little shops are like cubbies and I’m betting the luckier shops are the ones that are a step up from the sidewalk because the ones at the same level of the sidewalk were flooded and people were sweeping water out of the stores. I stopped at one shop to look at kurtas. I decided against buying a sari because I ally felt that despite how pretty they are, I just wouldn’t get much use out of a sari. But a kurta I would definitely wear, and I simply don’t care what anyone thinks about it! I found one (a little tricky since I am, um, larger than the average Indian) and I plan to find a few more. It is so, so, so comfortable! No wonder so many women wear them here! I got a top, 2 pair of pants, and a scarf for 1700 rupees, which is about $30.
When we were done at the mall, we dashed across the street in the rain to the grocery store. Haiko, I believe was the name of the store. It was crazy crowded and loud. There was a DJ set up at the entrance blasting music. Not sure why, but it added to the general chaos in the store. I shot some video but then security stopped me and told me cameras were not allowed. When you go into a store, you have to check your shopping bags and umbrellas. Some places, bigger shopping areas, hotels, you also have to have purses x-rayed and go through metal detectors. When you leave a grocery store, an employee checks your merchandise against your receipt and stamps it, lime they do when you leave Sam’s Club.
In the evening, my dad and I went out for dinner for Father’s Day. First we stopped at another grocery store, D-Mart, and this one was way crazier than Haiko! Imagine Black Friday crowds. it was that crammed with people. My dad says D-Mart is like that all the time. I wanted to take some video, but I didn’t want to get busted again, so I passed. Next we walked to Chili’s, which has a menu very similar to the menu at home. There are some items, like tandoori chicken sandwich, that are not on the menu at home, and there are more vegetarian items than on the menu at home. And yes, there are burgers on the menu, too! When we left Chili’s, it was a drenching rain outside. It was the kind of rain kids dream about. It was warm outside and the rain was warm water, it was pouring down in buckets, and there were huge swirling puddles everywhere. Umbrellas didn’t matter much. I hunkered down under my umbrella, but I noticed many people on the street didn’t have umbrellas, and many who did were just strolling along in the rain. Nobody was rushing to get out of it. Monsoon is just accepted here. In fact, my father says many people like it because everything greens up and gets washed clean. To be honest, I can tolerate it since I am just visiting, but it is going to rain every day for nearly the next 3 to 4 months, and I can’t imagine rain like that every day and cloudy skies for that long. It would drive me absolutely over the edge.
It was business as usual in the drenching rains of the monsoon here in Mumbai yesterday. And if the Indians can accept it and go about their lives, then I can do it, too, for the short time I am here.
Me in my new kurta!