Saturday 12 March

Today (and by today, I mean today in Mumbai-time. Although that itself is a bit bizarre since it’s 10.5 hours ahead of America, but as we speak America is ending daylights savings time, so I suppose it’s just 9.5 hours ahead now). Anyway, today, as I stated in the last blog post, we landed in Mumbai and were greeted at the airport by some of our HCAP Mumbai delegates. We then headed in taxis towards Ashuli’s apartment.

I realized that there are few things I enjoy more than just sitting in an (air-conditioned) car and watching the city pass by in front of me. Rohan (an HCAP Mumbai delegate) was in the car with us and narrated a bit about what we were passing and answering any questions we had.

After about 30 minutes of driving we arrived at Ashuli’s place, which was absolutely breathtaking. Her family’s apartment had white marble floors, crystal and glass vases on the shelves and best of all, the whole apartment looked out from large windows over the sea (that had a rising sun behind it as we were arriving, since by now it was about 7:30am!)

We (the Harvard and Mumbai delegations) ended up chilling in Ashuli’s apartment for a bit, which was the perfect way to start the day. We were all exhausted, but so happy to see everyone after being apart for six weeks. We spent a lot of the morning chatting, listening to music and having a delicious breakfast complete with freshly-squeezed mango juice.

After a bit we decided to go on a walk (even though by now it was about 90oF outside!) Yes, the traffic and driving is crazy here, but our delegates gracefully led us around and between cars, busses, motorcycles and cows on the roadway. Eventually we ended up at this incredibly beautiful park that was right on the water. We explored the park for a bit (particularly savoring the shade that the trees provided and the breeze from the water).

We then walked the thirty minutes back to Ashuli’s house. After hanging out for a bit more, we headed to St. Xavier’s college (the college of the HCAP Mumbai delegates). While at the college, we were able to eat lunch in the dining hall, with some of the younger students. Kavin explained that they usually go to school from Monday-Saturday, but on this particular Saturday there were only younger students present.

After a delicious lunch, we exchanged our money into Rupees and headed to the YMCA, which is where we’ll be staying for the week. I’m staying with Niahm (who is the only other senior on the trip!) in a double room that has its own bathroom and shower. Niamh actually arrived the day before, so she went to Starbucks when we got back to the YMCA and I was able to shower and take a much-needed 3.5-hour nap.

Around 7pm, we headed to dinner at a great restaurant called Leopolds. I had delicious chicken kabobs and naan (a type of Indian bread). Because it was a Saturday night, after dinner we came home and (barely) rallied to go out.

We ended up going to a club that was having a Bollywood dance night! We had to enter the club around 10:30 (but Ashuli arranged VIP access for us!) The music started off OK – it was a weird mix of old(ish) American songs from our Middle School days.

Around midnight, however, they finally switched to Bollywood songs and we were all having SO much fun. Dance has been a big part of my life more or less since day one, and I’ve taken a particular affinity to Indian dance after performing in three Ghungroo shows. When Gulaabo (one of my Ghungroo songs from this year) came on, I freaked out, and then when “Hello, hello” (the song we danced to with the HCAP Mumbai delegates at the Harvard HCAP talent show) came on, we all just went crazy doing our dance. It was the perfect way to end an amazing, yet exhausting, day.

TGT: 1) Bollywood dance night 2) Hanging out in Ashuli’s house 3) delicious dinner at Leopold’s.

Until next time,
JK

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