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Bye Mumbai.

INDIA | Friday, 4 January 2013 | Views [553]

    "India", was my boss's reply when I asked where I was flying. I would be spending 2 months in gloriuous India. I was so excited, I didn't know what to do. I was asking myself "what do you know about this country?" "You have definetly seen some things on TV, but what about actually being there?" My mum was really supportive and encouraging me to go so I prepared my self with lots of uneasy feelings. I was excited, but as my departure date closed in, I was getting very nervous. I remember saying, "Bye Mum, bye" with a shaky voice. I had no clue as to what I was getting into, I was still wearing warm winter clothes in the airplane as it was snowing in Istanbul when we departed. It happened to be spring time in India. I knew this, and some how I felt it was as if the closer we got, the warmer the plane was getting. I had gotten rid of all my winter clothes by the time we landed, I was only wearing my tshirt and jeans.

    My welcome to India was with my first mosquito bite while I was waiting for my luggage. At the time, that felt like the least of my problems because I was already midway into a culture shock. The crowds of people hovering around me, the stale smell in the warm air, and oh.. where's my lugage? After what seemed like an eternity, I finally I found my luggage and walked out to meet the person who would take me to my new home. It was so early in the morning, that it was still dark. We rode almost a half hour in the small taxi/motorbikes called "tuk tuk" to get to my new home. I couldn't really make out what my street or the house looked like in the dark. All I could notice in the dark was the potent smell of stale air, and the incredibly vibrant and loud sound of the traffic that was as alive at 4 am as it would be at any other time of the day. I was so exhausted from my trip and taking all my surroundings in, that I fell asleep 2 minutes after being introduced to my bed.

     The next morning, I opened my eyes and an Indian woman was looking at me and saying something in Hindu. I still imagine it to be something like "breakfast is ready". During breakfast, I had milk in a bag for the first time, which wasn't white. This little culinary adventure was the begining of many hours I spent in the toilet for the next two months as a result of discovering the infinite variety of amazing flavours in the Indian food.

   After my stomach recovered from the first meal I had in India, I ventured out of my house to explore. The noise of the traffic was twice as loud now, and I noticed most eyes on the street looking at me. This was definitely not Istanbul, and it did not look like the pictures I had seen on the internet. It was then that I realized I must have been in the suburbs of the city, which I remembered reading about on the internet too. The reviews of the suburbs hadn't been good. Nevertheless, this was my new home for the next 2 months, and I liked it. While walking around my neighbouthood, I was attrackting people who wanted to sell me different things. Suddenly an old lady came by my side to sell me the eggs she was carrying in the basket above her head. I felt I should buy some of these eggs, but I didn't have any Indian money with me. I thought to myself "I really should have stopped at the dark looking exchange offices at the airport, but I had made a judgement against it at the time". I tried to explain to the lady that I had no money, with hand gestures as best as I could, but she insisted I took some eggs anyway. I felt a flush of overwhelming gratitude to this lady who appeared to only want to share her wares with this stranger who obviosly looked lost and out of place. It seemed though, that the egg lady had a different plan. She had spotted where I lived, and returned to my house to wake me up every day from then on to sell me some eggs. She became my welcomed alarm clock every morning at 6:36 am, and this picture was taken on one of these mornings. 

    This photo was also my inspiration on realising I was surrounded with people telling incredible stories with their expressions. After taking this picture I sought out portraits of faces telling a million tales. My 2 months in India was spent on taking photos of Indian faces and lifestyles, and trying to imagine what lay behind these compelling expressions. I ended up extending my trip twice, and was terribly reluctant to return home. I remember uttering the same sentence I'd said on my way to this wonderful country, when boarding the plane back to Istanbul. This time my vioce was shaking while I said "Bye Mumbai", and I have had a strong desire to go back ever since I boarded that plane.


Sina Korcan


Tags: expressions, faces, india, mumbai, travel, trip

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