Today after work I joined Apurva, one of my coworkers, for a night out in South Mumbai. We weren’t going just for kicks though, there was a free art festival going on called Kala Ghoda (roughly translating to Black Horse). When you first walked in there were huge pillars created from recycled materials. All around the area were booths showcasing art, jewelry, clothes, and accessories for the home. Plus, the food was pretty bomb too. I tried a new kind of dessert called an ice Gola which is basically a snow cone except the guy shaves the ice right there in front of you and the syrup used has a somewhat salty after taste. Needless to say it was really really good.
I found it interesting because a lot of the art had a specific point to it. Some talked about recycling, another talked about the harms of big business exploiting slum workers, and a couple that I saw touched upon abortion and rape. It was interesting to see how the people of India interpreted and critiqued the world around them.
It made me really happy when I got to see a comedy show. Not only was it funny, I was actually able to understand the jokes. It was presented in mainly English, but I guess the part that made me the happiest, was that I was able to relate to a lot of what the comedians were talking about and understood some of the stereotypes used.
I don’t think I have ever felt as at home in Mumbai as I did in that moment. Full of good food, surrounded with new friends, and being able to laugh along with the people of Mumbai was the best experience I have had thus far. On the train ride home I reflected on my day and I realized something. In this evening and in that moment, I truly felt I had a place among the people of Mumbai and nothing made me happier.