Mumbai is a completely different kettle of fish. It took us 12 hours (yes, 12 hours) to drive from Baroda to the busiest city in the world in our not-so-little campervan. I am starting to get a little tired of these long car journeys bouncing on the road, but there isn’t much more travelling to do. Along the way there was some beautiful natural landscapes that made the crucial few hours of the journey more than bearable.
You can hear Mumbai before it comes into view. The sound of horns and engines as the traffic signals the start of the city boundaries. The natural light of the sky gives way to headlamps and neon billboards that line the way like road signs. There isn’t a place in the world that could rival this, as well as being inundated with shacks selling some of the most delicious food you will ever eat, it sits near some of the biggest slums that this country has to offer. India is nothing if not a place of contrast.
Once you get past all of the advertisements and lights, you realise how well structured the city actually is. To house 21 million people is no mean feat, and regardless of the fact that the place is a huge traffic jam, it is fairly well spaced out. Compared to other places that we have seen, from a first glance, Mumbai seems to be a pleasant and welcome surprise.
This is the first time that we are staying in a lavish hotel as well. The Lalco Residency has floors of apartment style hotel rooms so that we can stay together as a family. It is the first time since we left that we have sat down on sofas together, as just the five of us, and talked about our day. I suppose we sometimes forget in all of the running around that this could be our very last family holiday. The last time that we sit around a coffee table and decide what the next day will bring.
It is not always easy to sit in a luxury apartment knowing how difficult it is outside this walls. I make no bones about the fact that we are living in a cocoon that we have built for ourselves. It has been really interesting to speak to and meet so many people already that have shown us that it is not the money that we have that brings them any more pleasure than our company. In fact, as much as many of you might think that having a few bucks is helpful here, what you get for free is far more valuable.
We are going to enjoy ourselves no question. This isn’t a hollow enterprise, neither is it a spiritual epiphany. It is a holiday. But we are always mindful and grateful for what we have. My parents have brought me up with the intention of sharing this wealth (whether materially or otherwise) with everyone that has the capacity to receive it. You cannot take it with you.
It is now 2am and I fear that any more writing, or thinking, will lead to rambling so I will stop here. If this appears to be the very last adventure, then we might as well go out with a bang.