This is awonderful piece of writing on Mumbai. Heather is a fellow Fulbrighter. She is a voc tech teacher from Boulder so we have at least two connections: my interest in seeing more young women in voc-tec going into the skilled building trades (“more power tools, fewer hair dryers”) and Harneen is from Boulder. Heather and I will have a lot to talk about when we finally meet on Sunday for a Bird and Bat Tour of Elephanta Island.
Mumbai’s first residents were thought to be deep-sea fisherfolks, called the Kolis, who lived on what were originally seven islands along the shores of the Arabian Sea. Over the centuries, Hindu dynasties, Muslim conquerors, Portuguese and British trading companies, and eventually the British government filled in the spaces in between- both figuratively and quite literally, through land reclamation projects. The seven islands are now joined into one continuous land mass that boasts 20,694 people per square kilometer. For comparison, New York City hosts about 10,760 in the same space.
Since we arrived one week ago, I feel like I’ve spent much more time adjusting to the staggering “urban”-ness of the city than the “other”-ness of the culture. Trade-offs, really. In a city as cosmopolitan as Mumbai, there is such a mix of people, language, and experience that it almost has its own nationality, like the city-state of Singapore (which…
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