India from Slides prt1: Bombay


HotelRoomView | digitized from slide

Bombay, 02:00. The cab-driver didn’t speak a word English, but when I showed him the name of the hotel I had booked, he nodded his head… We drove and drove. Outside it was horror. People sleeping naked in the open air; weird agglomerates of shelter-roofs made of corrugated iron, plastic and other, tied together junk. People, kids, dogs, chickens and little fires underneath them. And then that awful smell. The cab-driver started to make noises and gestures which gave me the unpleasant feeling that he hadn’t the slightest idea where to bring me. “Victoria Railway Station”, I said, because I knew my hotel was somewhere close to that station. And we drove on. Suddenly he stopped and pointed at a huge, old building: Victoria Railway Station. While I showed him the address of my hotel, three noisy guys came towards us. Fortunately one of them spoke a little English and they managed to explain to the cab-driver where my hotel was. Great guys! According to my little diary, that I traced this morning, I entered my hotel-room around 03:45. The boy that brought me to my room poured me some water; and then he waited. After a small tip, he left the room. I switched on the rusty ‘airco’. It made a terrible noise. So I had to decide: heat or noise. I chose noise, because it sounded a bit familiar, like the engine of the Boeing that had brought me to this place.

Streetview Victoria Railway Station

Streetview Victoria Railway Station | digitized from slide

Next morning I walked to Victoria Railway Station, to buy me a train-ticket to Bangalore. It took more than an hour; and the extreme airco almost gave me a cold.

Inside Victoria Railway Station

Inside Victoria Railway Station | digitized from slide

While walking through the streets of Bombay, a police officer joined me. He offered me a banana and asked where I was from. Then he asked whether I wanted to buy some drugs. I said no and immediately he crossed the street and disappeared. Astonished I moved on.

Gateway of India

Gateway of India | digitized from slide

Icebag and a Smile

Icebag and a Smile | digitized from slide

The Constructors

The Constructors | digitized from slide

The Look of a Sikh

The Look of a Sikh | digitized from slide

Sunday afternoon in a Park

Sunday afternoon in a Park | digitized from slide

  1. I went to India in 1986, not to Bombay, but I totally understand your culture shock. Oh, and I caught typhoid!

    • Hey, Ashly. I recovered from the shock when I started to understand that it is just as it is out there, with it’s own ‘rules’. Then I became an interested spectator with a return-ticket. And I enjoyed it a lot; despite some stomach problems.

      • On the whole I enjoyed India too. A land of extremes, I thought, always a sight, a sound, a smell to grab hold of one.

  2. Rondje said:

    Erg mooi en leuk om te lezen! Mooie tones ook gekozen…
    groet, Ron.

  3. Aah, India! What an interesting and colourful place. Your story sounds very familiar and brings back lot of memories 🙂

  4. Ajaytao2010 said:

    Oh dear you were in Bombay my city
    we could have met dear, it would have been so lovely to meet you


    • Hello, Ajay. Yes, I was in your city in 1990; but I did not know of your existence then. Otherwise it would have been nice to have met each other. But I am glad we met on the internet and enjoy all the photo’s we share. My best wishes for you!

      • Ajaytao2010 said:

        Oh Harrie you were here in 1990, oh I thought you were here recently oh okay dear thank you so much if you ever wish to come over please let me know you are most welcome dear 🙂

        thank you

          • Ajaytao2010 said:

            Thank you dear 🙂

  5. I was brought up in north India, lived there for first 15 years of my life and when I went back for a visit a few years back, even I had stomach issues the entire two weeks I was there! haha Beautiful shots, Harrie! 🙂

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