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  • Writer's pictureDia KL

Mumbai : cows, coconuts and slum kids (India 2011)

While walking the streets of Mumbai, there are so many things happening at the same time, all these small stores selling everything and anything, garbage here and there, people everywhere, lots of noise, horns, traffic... but there is one thing unique here, the cows! They are everywhere and not to be disturbed since they are considered sacred in Hinduism. Although prevention of killing of cattle is mentioned in the Indian constitution, the real penalty for killing a cow depends on the laws of each particular state, in some extreme cases it can even be life imprisonment (for example in the state of Gujarat)!

Just another corner in the neighborhood. Cows chilling, chickens running and clothes hanged to dry. Mumbai, India

Just another corner in the neighborhood. Cows chilling, chickens running and clothes hanged to dry.


This piece of land was full of garbage and had a distinct smell. Crows were scavenging the garbage bins, a dog was taking a rest and a guy was taking a piss. Mumbai India.

This piece of land was full of garbage and had a distinct smell. Crows were scavenging the garbage bins, a dog was taking a rest and a guy was taking a piss.

Dirty piece of land. Mumbai India.

The interesting part was that sign on the premises which read: "This property is in the possession of The Court Receiver High Court Bombay" (?!)


School graffiti. Mumbai India.
Paintings on the school walls.

At some point I passed by an elementary school, it was a small building with a few rooms. At first, a teacher noticed me while teaching and then the kids started coming out of the classroom to check me out and greet me. After a few smiles I left as not to disturb the lesson.


Sandy ground, a few skinny cows were chilling and a kid was walking around being curious. Mumbai India.

Reaching a viewpoint with sandy ground, a few skinny cows were chilling and a kid was walking around being curious.


Guy on palm try tied with a rope. Mumbai India.

A guy on the palm tree was cutting and fixing stuff, he had tied himself and his legs with some kind of rope and that was all, so high above the ground! No security measures no nothing!


Children in the slums. Mumbai India.

Going through one of the slums, a bunch of kids noticed me and I smiled, they smiled back and joined them for a chat. One of them spoke good English and worked as the translator. They asked me the usual, where I'm from, my name and stuff, if I like India. I told them I'm half Philippino so all these are not entirely new to me. They were making jokes to each other about having many mothers and fathers. In the end they also joked about a kid being gay. Laughing a lot, they made sure that I knew it was a joke. They asked me if I had any US dollars, they wanted to see. My instincts immediately said "sorry I don't have with me", but I showed them one of my lucky euro coins which I have found on the streets in the very past and carry with me as a lucky charm. They were so fascinated and even though it was my lucky one I wanted to give it to them, they politely declined, they just wanted to see it. Then I felt so bad for not letting them see a US$, since I had some with me. In the end I asked if I can take them a photo. The English speaker told me it was alright, and added that he hoped I will not go back to my friends with that photo and laugh and say "look at these poor Indians". His comment really broke my heart, couldn't imagine what kind of treatment all these people get from the rich tourists who went there being exposed to dirt and poverty and taking photos of the slums. I assured them that it is definitely not the case and told them they are not poor because they have a big smile and good energy so they are rich in the heart. They were happy and they posed for one shot, big smiles. So many things that you learn in India just by strolling around...


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