Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Goodbye Mumbai

Yesterday I farewelled Bombay for the greener pastures of Pune where I am staying with friends until 25th Jan when I return to Hebron School, Ooty for the new School term. 

When I say greener pastures, I don’t mean to suggest that Mumbai was a poor experience, nor that Pune is farming country, neither of these statements could be further from the truth. The double use of that particular hyperbole in the previous sentence infers that logically, the ‘truth’ must lie halfway in between the two. I therefore conclude that ‘truth’ equals the Mumbai-Pune Express Way.

The Mumbai-Pune Express Way is the first intercity highway that I have travelled on in India and it is certainly a drastically different experience to any of the other roads encountered by yours truly thus far. There are a few distinct qualities that differentiate it from other Indian roads, specifically
  1. The surface allows you to concentrate on driving (as opposed to dodging pot holes)
  2. There are lanes
  3. There are no Rickshaws
  4. There are no pedestrians to hit

This might make the road sound safer to the average lay-Australian* but it is important to consider the response of the locals when confronted with an infrastructure item of such quality. All four points identified previously allow an increase in the forward propulsion that a driver can request of his vehicle.

I phrase it in this way because different machines are capable of travelling at different speeds. Most passenger vehicles are either Suzuki (India goes home in a Maruti Suzuki), Hyundai (first car, first choice) or a Toyota Innova (MPV: Multi Pleasure Vehicle) all of which can comfortably cruise at speeds above 100 Km/h. This in itself does not provide the problem, however when coupled with the presence of trucks which are either broken down in one lane, or moving slower than an Equatorial Guinea swimmer in the overtaking lane, the push for clear road becomes a slalom course. I am not someone who spends much time with gaming consoles (last I heard, a cod was a fish) however the journey reminded me of my one time love affair with the computer game ‘Need for Speed Underground’.

First the Avensis was 'The family sports car' and now their INNOVA is a 'Multi Pleasure Vehicle' I think the Toyota Marketing guys need to get in touch with reality. 
Being a game based on street racing, it was common to be driving down a street on which you would be forced to manoeuvre your car through traffic moving much slower than you wanted to. Adding to the danger, there would be other cars trying to go faster than you whilst having to combat the same traffic. When there are troubles on the road ahead, instead of giving way, it is a matter of getting to the gaps first, swerving across three lanes of highway to find clear traffic is the recommended option. It was this part of the game that the Mumbai-Pune Express Way reminded me of, frequently our car would be swerving between trucks; flashing lights and blowing the horn to alert other users that we meant business.
I guess we were only driving a Suzuki. Perhaps the two aren't that similar

The end result was a safe arrival in Pune and another reason to waste your time through the creation of a blog.

For those eager to hear about my work with Vision Rescue, I am still attempting to work something out with the Mumbai Indians, I have had numerous email contacts which I continue to try, so hopefully something can be worked out. I have one final day in Mumbai before I head back to Australia at the end of February, so it might just be that I am required to wait until then to finalise any agreements.

Even if nothing further does eventuate, there are now many more people in Mumbai who know what God’s faithful servants are doing at Vision Rescue and why they are doing it, so my time here has been anything but wasteful.

For the pray-ers out there, I thank you for your continued prayerful support and for the non-prayers, its nice to know that you are thinking of me.

*Potentially stretching the layman’s term too far.

Prayer Points
Praise God for being faithful
Thank God for my time in Mumbai
Thank God for the people I met
Ask God that progress will continue to be made with the Mumbai Indians
Ask God for a refreshing break in Pune
Ask God for safe travel to Ooty on the 25th 

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