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Overwhelmed October 28, 2008

Posted by KG in Etc., Mumbai.

I wrote this extended whine over the course of three days when I was really feeling at my lowest.  When I was ready to publish it, our internet went down.  Rereading it, I feel like it’s terrible, but I’m not really concerned with being Mr. Sunshine and Rainbows on this blog so am publishing it anyway.

There are weekend mornings, like this Sunday morning, when I wake to the sound of flutes outside.  It’s 0730; the sky’s the usual Mumbai blue with grey at the horizon, and the temperature is near perfect.  The flute guy plays an odd, evocative, aimless tune.  It’s not as peaceful as when I was in Islamabad, waking up to the call to prayer, but in its own way it is a sound I’ll probably always associate with Mumbai’s rare moments of serenity.

If asked I can come up with a few hundred adjectives to describe Bombay.  Outside of those oddly beautiful weekend mornings, peaceful is not one of them.  The general lack of peace and serenity here has taken its toll on me the last few weeks, and though (somewhat miraculously) all was good with the world Sunday, that has decidedly not been the case general state of things since we got back from Kerala.  I’m feeling disenchanted with “here” and all that goes with it.

My sinuses are killing me, as are my throat and my lungs.  Its almost certainly the pollution, the lack of cleansing rain, and the smoke from a thousand poorly made Diwali firecrackers, combined with the aftereffects of an overly strong air conditioner in Cochin.  The fairly standard three day cold has now stretched its denouement over two weekends, and a dull pain throbs in my sinus cavity all the time.  All of that contributes to a general anger pervading my daily life.  The world around me, in all of its chaos, often feels like “the enemy.”  All of it is too much for my congestion enfeebled brain.  The cacophony of noises: honking, jackhammers, barking, crow squaks.  The innumerable unpleasant smells: human waste, rotting fish, exhaust.  It’s fair to say I’m done with my honeymoon period in India and things are in that awkward “getting used to daily life” stage.  But this city really makes nothing easy.  Mumbai’s overwhelming like no place I’ve ever been before and I’m starting to feel mentally worn from the experience.

Which is why, lately, I’ve been dreaming of a month of Sundays.  Unfortunately, R&R is very far away.



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