Home > Uncategorized > Bombay Diaries – 30 Sep

Bombay Diaries – 30 Sep

Getting to the office here is very similar to many commutes in the world in towns and cities, with large amounts of cars, motorbikes, cyclists and pedestrians. The differences here are poignant here in Mumbai.

In the UK, we are restricted and hemmed by our traffic system with traffic lights, road signs and one way systems. Here, there are still the same junctions and flyovers and traffic lights. But here, the road markings are non-existent and traffic lights are more of a guide.

At a crossroads, you filter across by nudging out into the speeding traffic coming from your left or right which is quite an alarming experience. The motorised rickshaws or tuk-tuk’s take a lower priority than cars and they are expected to give way to cars and lorries.

Mumbai 001Filtering through traffic is a case of who honks their horn the most and who is the most assertive. Motorcyclists filter and weave in a manner which would make London couriers look sedate.

Motorcyclists wear helmets in a casual manner and we saw one rider sending a text message while riding along the dual carriageway. If a biker bumps into a car while filtering, there is no road rage but more likely to be an apology from the rider to the driver and a hand shake.

Most cars have as many scratches down the sides as cars in Paris and you can see why with the amount of creative filtering that occurs. 

There are many more motorbikes here and the weather makes for much for Mumbai 002comfortable riding. But also this is a key part of why this city’s traffic system works. There are fewer cars and the traffic, despite the mad filtering, keeps moving. We are hooked to our cars in the UK but if more people rode bikes and scooters to work we would have less congestion. 


Mumbai 003



One of the main eye-openers on the way to the office is one of the public lavatories in the street. The smell in the air is fairly strong normally but I can’t imagine what the smell is like in this building! 



Mumbai 006

Life beside the road is bustling with many small businesses selling car parts, hand made furniture, marble and food. There is a fair amount of open-air butchery but, surprisingly, I have not seen the clouds of flies that I used to see in Africa around meat being butchered. 

The office in which we are delivering the training to the Three Mobile retention teams is called the ‘Prism’ for obvious reasons and it seems out of place amongst the plethora of small businesses and grime. Mumbai 009

The building sits beside a river estuary and the smell when you get out of the car is a mix of raw sewage and seaweed which has been warmed up in a low oven.

The inside of the office is much the same as any corporate environment in the world, except that there is a scent in the air which is quite sweet.

I have been sitting in on Liam Kane’s course taking notes and listening to how he delivers before I start to deliver the course later this week.

The group of ten we are training are from the ‘Premier League’ team whose job it is to rescue people who want to move their contract to another supplier and who are close to the end of their contracts. They are a bright group and they have a keenness Mumbai 011about them that which should make any young people shudder in the UK. They are responsive, enthusiastic and genuinely warm. 

The training is broken up my short breaks to the canteen where Liam and I drink the sweet ‘chai’ and chat about our similar business backgrounds. Because we start the day at 4-30pm, we have supper at 9pm. For 30p, you get a delicious curry on a metal tray which includes a small pudding too. The canteen is a very lively place with music playing in the background, pool tables to the rear and different activities each day. Today, there were two roulette tables which were packed with punters.

We finish each day at 1am and return to the hotel through much quieter streets. I find it difficult to go straight to bed and so I stay up until about 3am catching up on emails or calling Penny through the Internet. 

I am enjoying the routine and I manage to get to the gym each day, which is more than I have managed in years. Let’s just hope my waistline improves with all of this PT.

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