Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Delhi Smells, Mumbai Stinks
I take the Blueline buses to work daily. The smells and stinks on the bus have been a muse needing a vent for a long time now. In fact I have been so vocal about my smell issues on the blog, that this post will not be a big surprise for the regulars to my blog space. As if the smells and stinks of the fellow passengers on board the Blueline Delhi buses was not enough of an inspiration, I chanced to make a visit to Mumbai and experience the concoction of smells on board the ladies compartment in the local trains of the city.
This post should not in any circumstance be taken in a light vein. I am discussing matters that might have dire consequences on the smelling prowess of the generations to come. Let me be partial as usual and talk about Delhi first.
It is summers, the ideal time for the flourishing of varied smells, odors and stinks. The bus that I take has an eclectic mix of passengers. There are people like me, who spend a fortune on deodorants and perfumes in a desperate attempt to save themselves from death due to smell, there are others, who believe the more you stink the better and some have body odor because they genuinely have no means to have even a decent bath. I have no qualms with the third category. But the first two varieties combine to treat my nostrils with a blend of odour that qualifies me to receive the highest global honours. Let me explain how it works, a man standing right in front of me, while I am seated, will very artistically break wind. Another one will lift his hand up so that his underarms are aired and the passing wind carries the fragrances of the juices produced in the cozy comfort of his armpits. Added to this, an aunty who decided that wearing flowers with very strong fragrance in her hair and not removing them even at evening when they have wilted and turned brown… all this creates a concoction that most of you might never chance to experience. I feel sorry for you.
Next are the Mumbai stinks. Mumbai Local train, second class ladies compartment at peak hour. The women keep repeating “peechhe se pressure aa raha hai” (I am feeling the pressure from behind). Initially I thought, Mumbai women are liberated in the truest sense of the word. Maybe the theory I had given was being practiced openly in the financial capital of India. However, after 3 long journeys aboard the trains of Mumbai, I understood the real meaning, they were talking about being pushed from behind and making the previous statement in defense to the ladies, who question being pushed. Now back to smells. I rarely like to say that Mumbai is better than Delhi, but on this occasion, Mumbai wins hands down. The main ingredients of Mumbai Stinks are: coconut oiled hair, gajras (small garlands put on hair buns or plaits), the body odour caused by the killing humidity, the fish baskets being carried by women, the powder that most of them had applied 12 hours ago (the same time they had had a bath too) that turns into a gooish kind of black pulp resting on their neck lines and last but not the least, itr or traditional perfumes that most of them adorn themselves with. Now at least once in your life you must be able to enjoy the company of these women, who provide a free of cost body massage while traveling in the local train compartments. Sadly, I cannot comment on the men’s compartment rather general compartment (poor men, there are no special compartments for them :P) because I did not have the privilege to travel in one of those.
Hoping that your life Smells great… just as mine does :-)