Lost in translation?
Where do you go if you want to get somewhere in Mumbai? You just take a taxi or a riksha. It is a known fact that drivers have no clue where you are going at (ever seen 18 million people in 1 city?), but they just say “yes” anyway. A normal conversation goes like this (“mei Hindi bhasja siek ta hoon” = I am learning to speak Hindi): “Namasté, je address malum hai?” (do you know where this address is?) “Yes, Sir, Sahib, Sir!” “Je meter pe tchalno?” (go by the meter, yes the one instead of the mirror 😉 “Yes, Sir, Sahib, Sir!”
You feel comfortable, or at least you try to (we are too big for those small cars) and they take off on a death ride as my friend Bert B. is calling it? After a couple of blocks you feel that they are on the wrong way already, but how do you explain that (I should go to advanced Hindi lessons now!)?
Imagine 2 big European guys, cramped in the backseat of a taxi, explaining the way in a foreign city, in one or more “strange” languages. Add a generous mix of bikes, motorcycles, busses, trucks, cows (the only undamaged vehicles in this city) and some strange unidentified objects (used to be cars) on the road. On a 2 lane street we are with 6 cars next to each other (what is a pavement for?) all using their horns. Oops, was that a hole in the road? Damn, those taxiroofs are pretty hard! Oh, did I mention those hundreds of loose, wild humans crossing the street at the same time without looking?
Welcome in Mumbai! 😉
Anyway, we got back to the hotel safely.
Time to study some Hindi, we definitely need it!