First day…60 days later

I’ve been meaning to put parts of my journaling from India on this blog for a while. I’m speaking soon at my church about the trip and thought this was ample time for reflection. So here goes…starting from day one – sixty days later.

***

Dec. 30, 2011

6:00 a.m. Mumbai

“Danny!”

“DANNY!!”

“Danny, just get the bags and shut up!…Danny!”

I was in a stupor, and I figured he was only trying to help, getting our bags down for us. But his raspy Billy Holiday-esque chanting-while-he-worked had to end. I took on a motherly tone –

“Danny!” I said, inflecting the last syllable.

“Who’s Danny?” Bekah asked. Later I was told my initial response was an involuntary jump in my bed – I was fully awake now and I realized my blunder.

“I thought there was a Danny in our group!” I had been dreaming.

I was completely out of sorts, racking my brain for the location of the sound, now quite apparent that there was no Danny pulling down our bags in our hostel room in Mumbai.

“What is that?!” was my next inquiry. Rightfully so. When one hears loud chanting that cannot be understood, the only question to ask is, of course, what it is.

Lo and behold, Danny turns out to be an older Muslim man chanting the daily 6:00 a.m. call to prayer through a megaphone close to our hostel. The three of us, Bekah, Marrissa and I went out to our newly discovered balcony to watch – well, after I put on a skirt to cover my “pajamas”: a basic t-shirt and underwear.

“He better quiet down, or I’m comin’ after him,” I said while ungracefully climbing back into my sleep sack. The other two decided to stay awake. I drifted off to the sound of Marrissa saying, “How does she do that?” Welcome to Mumbai.

Later our first stop was to the Gateway of India.

Entering the Gateway of India

We snapped the tourist photos of the archway then took a boat tour around the bay. I didn’t write full prose on the experience, but sort of a rough poem, if you will.

cool breeze

buildings, ships disappear in sun and smog

water laps against the paint-chipping boat

passing by black bags of trash –

double knotted to temporarily keep water at bay

dead fish

the soul of a shoe –

someone’s soul is now lost –

military defense base goes unphotographed for legal purposes

school children on another boat wave hello

the end of the boatman’s lunch signified

by throwing it into the sea

Gateway to the boat tour

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