James Preston Reply 2:00 PM
By now you should know the drill of this "Tandem Blogging Project". (If you don't click here to go to last week's Post and read the intro for a summary.)

I'm going to get straight into this one. Yes, as in right now... this is my post. In the first person. Speaking to you directly.

I went with this format because I am privileged enough to have been to India. And whilst there, the country experienced one of its worst terrorist attacks in its history. And it happened in Mumbai.

I was in Delhi at the time, but the nation was in absolute shock. These attacks were arguably worse than the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in 2015. I felt the impact of those attacks more than most, so when someone says "Mumbai" (even in cricket), it brings back pertinent memories.

So what I will do is, in honour of the 164 innocent people who lost their lives in a Mumbai November 2008, I will take you on a journey through my experience of India.

Many of you having traveled there yourselves I'm sure, and being good Geography students of the internet, would know that India is the world's 2nd largest country by population (1 billion people) and 7th largest by land area. It has 29 States, with 46 cities populated by 1 million or more people. 13 of which have populations of over 2 million, with 8 of those having populations of over 4 million.

The top 3 most populated cities in India are 1-Mumbai (12,4 million) 2-New Delhi (11 million) 3-Bangalore (8,4 million). Just get your head around those numbers.

I so wish my trip in 2008 took me to Mumbai, but having immersed myself in Delhi in 2008, I felt it was a good second best.

New Delhi is up in the mid-North of India, and is the nation's capital. While Mumbai is on the mid to South-West of the country's coast.

I loved the country! And what I want to do off the back of that intro is take you through a bit of a photo journal of my experience and give some thoughts as I do so...

I found the people to be among the most friendly and hospitable of any nation I have ever visited. And I have been privileged enough to travel to a fair amount.

These kids, complete strangers who had just come out of school as I walking the streets, saw me taking some shots and wanted in! They embodied the hospitality and fun-loving nature of the Indian people.

In stark contrast to young children in decent school uniform getting a good Indian education (which we know provides a good stead!) was a woman in what I could only describe as "abject poverty". Her eyes were blank, her stare eternal. If you think South Africa has a crazy divide of middle-class and poverty, take a trip to India. The poor are "truly among you".

Travel to anywhere in the city is easy and cheap on a "Tuk-Tuk" or "Auto". A little three-wheeler mo-ped type of thing. Just know where you are going! And hope you get an English-speaking driver!

Depending on your budget, accommodation is pretty affordable on the South African Rand. This hotel would easily have passed as 3-star in South Africa, and if my memory serves me correctly cost us less than R500 a night per person including breakfast, internet, aircon and a daily newspaper. Again though, the contrast of middle-class and the feeling of poorly managed suburbs was intriguing. Despite the fact that this is one of Delhi's upper end suburbs.

A trip to New Delhi is not complete without a trip to Old Delhi, the original bustling hub of the city. The bustle hasn't left. Traffic moves from 4 lane chaos, to all out open-ended anarchy. Drivers are confident. To say the least.

Old Delhi's heart. One of the most populous places on earth. You're literally walking in a sardine can...

India to this day remains one of my favourite memories, unfortunately marred by the justifiably sombre mood which overshadowed the nation in the wake of the atrocious attacks in Mumbai. I long to visit India's most populous city, do some business, meet the people, and watch some cricket.

Here's to Mumbai!

To see what the 8 other Blogging talents came up with for the title "Mumbai", check them out below!
(One of our Bloggers, Nick Frost, is celebrating his birthday TODAY!)


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