Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lost in Mumbai, India.

A spectacular day.
Appointment was with a 24 year old man who is a fashion merchandiser.
The rendezvous was in a fancy open-air coffee shop and there the interview took place.
Srijon Bhattacharya is one of the few participants of the project “The most beautiful people in the world” who did not want to reveal his monthly income.
His reply was: “I can survive”.
The team of the project accepted that answer because it is the participants who have all the rights to say what they want.
The team humbly writes down what the people say and that’s it.

Next it was decided that Srijon and his friend would get into one rickshaw and the team of the project “The most beautiful people in the world” in a second rickshaw.
Rickshaws are scooters with three wheels and a roof that can transport up to three passengers.
They are cheaper and often faster than the taxis described yesterday.
The plan was that the rickshaw of the project “The most beautiful people in the world” would follow the rickshaw of Srijon Bhattacharya.
But one must know that the traffic in Mumbai is rather crazy.
It is a rodeo on wheels with frantic drivers fanatically trying to get in front of anyone else no matter how.
Add to that the vast distances one must travel in the huge city of Mumbai to get somewhere and not one fervent and loyal blog reader will be surprised to learn that eventually the rickshaw of the project “The most beautiful people in the world” stopped somewhere in a totally unknown area of Mumbai having lost the leading rickshaw of candidate Srijon Bhattacharya.

Wish a person in such a situation all the luck in the world.
The rickshaw driver not speaking one word of English.
The team not knowing at all the address of the candidate nor his phone number.
This in a hot temperature and high humidity.
Engulfed by heavy pollution and strong noise.
Once out of the rickshaw surrounded by 40 to 50 curious Indian people who wanted to know what was going on.
Who were only complicating the situation but not prepared to let go of their curiosity.
It became clear that the rickshaw driver had been overtaking the other rickshaw and simply had been driving as a madman to a destination he didn’t know nor the team of the project “The most beautiful people in the world”.
Eventually he had run out of his lunatic steam and was surprised himself as well to find all of us somewhere in Mumbai.
What to do?
Communication with the driver was impossible as he spoke no English and we no Hindi.
One of the by now 60 to 70 Indian people surrounding offered to translate but that was not really helpful either.
Eventually it was decided to make the return journey of one hour to the starting point expecting Srijon Bhattacharya to go there as well.

One thing anybody who knows them will say of the team of the project “The most beautiful people in the world” that they are very optimistic people.
They take every experience as an event to cherish and celebrate.
So, this situation was considered as strange, funny and interesting.
Such things happen so why get upset?

While driving back suddenly the rickshaw driver screamed.
He had spotted at the side of the road the rickshaw of Srijon Bhattacharya.
Except for the driver it was empty.
Information was obtained where the candidate had been dropped off and it was in that direction the rickshaw was driving.
Until one attentive member of the team spotted standing in a most relaxed way in front of a shop chewing on medicinal leaves Srijon Bhattacharya.
A happy reunion and not long after the flat was entered where he is living with 5 other guys.

Although Srijon Bhattacharaya didn’t want to reveal his income, he had something impressing to say why he feels he is the most beautiful person in the world:
“I think this world is a very beautiful place.
And the human race in particular with a lot of beauty build inside.
Beauty of heart, expression, communication and emotion.
And I can experience all this beauty in me.”

His portrait was made on the roof of the apartment building he was living in.
With a vast view of the outskirts of Mumbai where many new apartment buildings are constructed.

When one reads carefully this chain of events, it will be understood how miraculously everything somehow fitted today.
How from starting point A destination B was reached.
But in a way that cannot be predicted nor foreseen.
It is the river flowing as the water wants.
Whispering: “Don’t worry, be happy”.


Pictures on this posting by © Marjolein van Veen 2008.


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