Which hour of the day do I start to describe the sounds of Mumbai when Mumbai never sleeps?
The dogs barking wildly (which even on the 24th floor, they miraculously sound as if they are right outside the window) and the rooster usually wake me around 3 am and I then hear the horns and rickshaw motors. At 6am the first Islamic call to prayer of the day can be heard…..then at about daybreak the pounding will begin, constant pounding and the horns start in at a decibel that if you cannot tune it out, it will drive you mad. The dog barking is now replaced with the roar of traffic, rickshaws, horns and pounding that is continuous throughout the day. If you are inside, add random ringing of the various doorbells and dragging of chairs across marble floors. When you hit the streets for a walk, the horns and pounding are magnified. So much so that you may not hear the Islamic call to prayer that continue throughout they day. I usually hear the one at about 6pm…..
The traffic, horns and rickshaw motors go thru the night, at 9:30 last night the pounding was still going. This also sounds as if right outside the door. I can hear chairs being dragged across the marble floors in the other apartments since I know we are all in bed…..The dogs may start at midnight or 3am, depending on what is going on in their dog world. I am not using my earplugs to sleep any longer which means I will sleep like the dead when I return home. I tend to wake up frequently, with the shades drawn it doesn’t seem dark unless you go out for a walk, then it seems very much so.
I have heard that people from Mumbai feel lonely if they leave the city. The quiet leaves them empty. My first day, after just a couple hour walk I had to draw the shades and lay on the bed in the dark room, my head hurt so bad. I spoke to some expats who didn’t even leave their apartment the first month they were so overwhelmed. A few times the first few days I felt the rise of anxiety with the noise and just tried to keep calm and grounded. Jen said and I agree, how important meditation and yoga is to a place like this. To help remain centered in all the chaos. There is a free yoga class at 6am each morning that I am attending. It is fun, the people are very kind and helpful if I hesitate to watch some of the stretches since I do not know Hindi. I am having a great time here in India. It challenges and conjures so many emotions each day. I embrace being in a place that has such an impact.