10 March 2006

Some of you may have noticed that when you log onto an Indian website, you're immediately deluged with dozens of pop-up ads. I used to be amused by this. Now that I've been in Bombay for a couple of days, I understand: Indians are just naturally good at filtering out distractions. Walking through Colaba is like using a search engine with erratic results and no pop-up filter. Within two minutes of going onto the street, I'm offered marijuna, hashish, cocaine, "an Amsterdam coffee shop," a "massage" from a "pretty girl," train tickets to Goa, and anything else I might need, when all I really wanted was a pay phone.

All in all, Bombay keeps gaining and losing my goodwill. Sometimes I'll be struck by a moment of beauty, let my guard down, and then, bam--another atrocity. Here's one observation: whenever you think you've just seen the worst slum in the world, there's always a more horrifying one around the corner. On the other hand, there's something touching about a city where you can leave a sleeping baby on the sidewalk, and apparently trust that it will still be there when you get back.

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