last night i hugged my sister goodbye and started the next chapter of my time here in mumbai…i moved from my dad’s family’s flat to a hotel in the colaba/churchgate area–located at the very south end of mumbai…

i woke up missing my family but excited to explore this part of mumbai on my own…

it has always been a favorite of mine–on the  water and packed with indians, tourists, tall buildings, shops, bars, restaurants, art, architecture, and history…

although i have been to this area many times, our trips to this part of town have always been fast and furious day trips…

but today i began my exploration of south mumbai with a long walk from the gateway of india to churchgate station, where i lingered, and then on to marine drive, a 3 kilometer boulevard in the shape of a “C” along the coast of the Arabian Sea….

the seawall, at any given moment in time, is packed with mostly indians sitting, facing the sea, and hanging out…

i decided to join them sitting on the wall
with my journal and pen in hand
and began to draw…

one of the things i have noticed about the indian culture is that uninhibited staring is not uncommon…

and, as i sat there, i experienced this phenomenon again as i felt the presence of those walking along the wall stopping to stare over me as i sketched…

i tried to set aside my self-consciousness but was finding it difficult to do so until two young, college-aged indian girls stopped and instead of just staring asked, very politely, whether they could look at what i was drawing…

because i was not happy with what i had sketched and was in the middle of re-working it, i said “no, but you can look at my other sketches…”

and the young, more talkative-of-the-two girls said, rather incredulously “really…” and then she and her friend sat down and began to page through my sketch book…

as they looked at my sketches,  we began to talk and share bits and pieces of our lives, histories, and aspirations…

despite the 20 year gap in our ages, the fact that they had no idea that i am indian, and the stark contrast in the way in which we were raised, we were able to talk, exchange ideas, experiences and dreams as if none of those differences mattered…

after they walked away i realized that, perhaps more than anything, this is one of the things i love most about art– it is a catalyst for conversation, a link to our history and our pasts and provides moments of shared emotions…it bridges the divide between us and brings us together in unexpected yet powerful ways…

and this moment with these girls, in which i learned that they are studying psychology at KC College, the very college where my mother got her degree in psychology, was one of those moments….