The breeze swept through my hair as I stared out onto the sea watching the sun dip lower and lower in the horizon. The sound of the strange bird that I have yet to see echoed in the evening. My curiosity pique each time I hear it wondering what this mysterious bird may look like. A song was on repitition in my mind. Over and over it played capturing the moment that I was in wishing someone was here with me. It was a perfect setting for me to zone out and forget the external environment. My thoughts were lost in this deep contemplation.
I remembered the first time we went to visit the pavement dwellers a small girl looked at my shoes then up at me. At that moment I did not know what to do. I could buy her a pair but then I would have to purchase for the other children as well. I walked away with the decision of doing nothing but with that reminder in my mind.
PK Das somehow reignited the passion that I was striving for in his discussion His Architect-activist duality caught my attention as he spoke with ardor about democracy and the inclusion of the people in the design process. His project brought empowerment to people and retained their livelihood. An optimal outcome. I like and dislike the word democracy yet it is seductive for many to want and attempt to achieve. As an Anthropologist I know democracy cannot be praised all over the world (whether at the state or national level) due to cultural and social constraints that deeply ingrain them into the institution that they live in (sorry for detracting). Recently I read an article from Neera Adarkar about gender and the built environment which once again is bringing me back what I have been searching for and lost along the way. Overall what appeals me to both of them is that they are activist which I once used to be. I am all about social justice and fighting for the needs of the people.
Encountering the excited children once they see me walking past by their home is one of the most heartwarming memories I will always remember. A mundane instrument such as the digital camera is that of a golden treasure to them. I see the glimmer in their eyes as they see the photo that I've taken of them. It is amazing how something so simplistic that we utilize everyday is turned into something further and much deeper meaning to them than it is to me.
Truthfully I have been absent minded throughout the trip. I knew this trip was going to change me in many ways but I did not expect myself to be mum majority of the time. I kept many of my thoughts within and even if I did try to express it verbally catastrophe ensued (I have a bad speech impediment in public as we all know). I spoke about what I've learned about the morning speakers in conjunction with my life through a selected few. "What do you want to do after you finish this course." I would normally answer "I really do not know anymore."
Mumbai definitely shook me violently in a way that I did not expect. It was only a fleeting moment I fell in love with the chaotic city.