Saturday, 22 February 2014

The smiles of Mumbai

A wonderful week is coming to an end. Our visitors are leaving, and we will miss them deeply. And what can be better than letting them tell you themselves how their first visit to India and Mumbai has been? Today's post is therefore a guest post. My fabulous sister: the floor is yours: 

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We`re driving through the streets of Mumbai. Houses that look more like huts or not even that, maybe only some sheds. People live there, I think to myself. Small kids without shoes, close to the gutter. Lives lived on the pavement. So many harsh impressions, visions that will stay on my mind forever.

Suddenly I hear my son saying, pointing out the window; Look mum, that`s terrible!
I am convinced he`s thinking the same as me. About the unfair world we live in.When I put on my most serious "comforting face" to talk to him, he responds with the special look he get`s when there`s something mum "clearly" doesn`t understand.
"No mum, not that. But look, that boy is wearing a Manchester United shirt!"

I just have to smile. My son is what you would describe as a serious soccerfan. He`s probably quite an average 7-year old Norwegian boy. Loves to play soccer and watch soccer (favourite team being Liverpool), loves everything about the game.

As many norwegians do, he has also travelled a lot, but mostly on typically child-friendly charter tours. Before we left Norway for India I therefore got the advice to try to prepare him for the poverty we would see. I tried to have a serious "preparation-chat", but he started being scared of what poor people look like, behave and what they will do to him, so I ended up dropping the subject.

Our little drive this particular day ended at the school where my sister is a volunteer for Children's Future India, and it turned out to be the best experience on the whole trip. It was joy, it was singing "head, shoulder, knees and toes" and reading a story about David (7) together with some children of Mumbai. It was a meeting filled with learning for all of us, and memories for ever.
"This was the best day, Mom", my son told me later that evening. Although he still cant get over that none of them had ever heard about Liverpool or soccer. Only cricket.

Normally in the winter holiday would go skiing. This year, we went to India.

Now, over a week has passed and we have had days filled with the most extreme impressions - all at the same time. The streets are full of contrasts. It`s fantastic, I`ve loved being here. My son has loved being here. Seeing my sister's life, being around to the places she has been talking about, meeting lots of wonderful people. Taking it all in.

But what really took with me by surprise is all the happiness. The friendly curiosity towards us visitors.
"Why are they looking at me, mom?"
"They`re probably curious. Maybe they haven`t seen people like us before?"
"But mom, aunt Eli has lived here for over a year!"
And we can`t really grasp how many people actually lives here - there are people everywhere!

We`re getting used to it. Today my son smiled back to the guys in the rickshaw that stared and waved to him. An attitude to take back to Norway. Along with heaps of memories..and some tailor-made clothes..:)

Yes, we`re in the picture, along with some enthusiastic kids we met during our visit to Mumbai.

32 comments:

  1. Lovely!! Children's perspectives - all so innocent!!

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    1. Thank you so much. Happy you liked it:-)

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  2. I have a football-crazy 8-yr old in my house too. :-) Though he says he knows all about the game, he just has to grow up a bit so he can play all the time.
    My love to the Liverpool fan and the Norwegian family. :-)

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    1. Ha ha - awesome:-) Thank you so much dear Jeena:-) Love back to your 8 year old:-)

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  3. You are doing a nice job Eli. Thanks for making the childrens day.
    Inspiring! Great!
    Cheers,
    Nishchal
    http://whatsupbollywood.wordpress.com/

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    1. Thank you so much Nishchal! So happy you are following:-)

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  4. nice to see all those innocent smiles.. they are so refreshing

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    1. Dear Smitha, always love your sweet comments:-) So happy to connect with you:-)

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    1. Thank you Gail - yes, a great time:-) Best to you

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  6. Great job you have done,happy to discover your space,ping me when you have a moment

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    1. Thank you so much Harini:-) Happy you are following:-) Best

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  7. Thank you so very much Eli for letting your sister share her and her familys adventures and feelings for Mumbai with all of us Such a joy to read. And how wonderful to have your family visting. I can just imagine the laughters and big hugs.

    Take care sweet Eli!♥

    Lotta
    xx

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    1. Thank you so much dear Lotta❤️Big hugs back to you

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  8. Children really do see the world differently as compared to we adults!! :)

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    1. So true Shilpa:/) Thanks for following. Best:-)

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    1. It was:-) Thanks for following Michelle. best

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  10. your son sounds sweet. :)

    thanks for stopping in!

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    1. And to you too:/) Happy to see u here:/)

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  11. Children's way of viewing te world is different is different from an adult.

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    1. So true:-) Happy to see u here:-)

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  12. Sounds like a wonderful time! So many lovely memories to cherish forever.

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    1. It so was:-) Just wonderful:-) Thanks for your kind words dear Kathy. I appreciate them:-)

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  13. Thank you, dear Eli for bringing your sister to guest post here, please pass on my hello to her and such a warm read this. So honest, straight from the heart, this put a sweet smile on my face as I kept reading on. Mumbai is one city that tends to grow on you and who better than you to know this. I am so happy that you and your sister and her son had a great time around, I hope they have a chance to visit again sometime soon. :)

    PS: This post also reminds me, I am terribly late for my guest post :(

    Wish you a wonderful week ahead, dear Eli! Sending across lots of love to you. :-)

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    1. Thank you so much dear Arti :-) I am so happy reading your kind words! I am sure my sister will read them and be very happy also:-) lots of love back to you dear:/) Big hugs

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  14. such a lovely post...glad u and ur son enjoyed your trip to India. Yes, the chances of kids knowing Liverpool here are still possible these days thanks to cable tv channels. 10 years back, it is unlikely they would have any idea at all :D

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    1. Thanks Roshan:-) Sure hope my sister read your kind words - and info on Liverpool. All the best to you:-)

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  15. Indeed a very heartwarming read. I giggled at the Cricket part. That is such a happy picture and I am sure a wonderful memory. :)

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    1. Thank you so much:-) So happy you like it, and I am sure my sister will too:-) Yes, wonderful memories..:-) Best

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  16. Dearest Eli and sister,
    What a lovely post; written from the heart and with great observation of life around Mumbai.
    Oh, it did hurt both of us the first time we drove past this biggest slum area of Asia where some 2,000,000 people live on 1-½ square mile. It makes you more aware about the good food we eat daily. It makes you aware of all the blessings we have in our daily lives... It also makes you sad as you feel so powerless for helping any of them.
    Wish more 7-year old boys could observe this kind of contrasts of life. And yet you still do happy smiles in such an area... makes us feel more conscious of what we have and for being grateful!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, written from the heart.
    Hugs to both,
    Mariette
    Just returned home from our 64th trip for visiting family and friends in 30 years...

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  17. Happy you returned home safely Mariette - must have been an amazing trip you had:-) Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. They are so valuable to me. I am sure my sister will love your feedback too. Hugs back to you sweet Mariette:-) And thanks again

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