Cricket and Bollywood in Bombay
Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
351Trip End Ongoing
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I arrived by overnight bus from Aurangabad into Mumbai in the early morning hours, unsure where I was in an immense city. Looking at my rudimentary map from the Rough Guide, I knew that the Salvation Army Hostel that Carmel had recommended was to the south. Wanting to stretch my legs and dig right into Mumbai, I began walking.
Hundreds of people were sleeping on the streets, next to the stalls they run during the day--the sugar cane juice men, the samosa folks, the newspaper families, the watch salesmen. Further down, the smell of fish, both old and fresh, marked the fish market. I continued through the heart of the city, past the Victoria Railway Station and down to the Gateway of India, a large archway near the largest port in India.
Before I even checked into the Salvation Army Hostel, a large man with a small braid dangling from his otherwise trim and stylish cut asked me to be an extra in Bollywood. "Sure, why not? But hold on a second, let me check in first." He was Kingsley, one of the casting coordinators for many productions in Bollywood. "So what is this film we're going to anyway?" "Indie," said Kingsley, responding as many Indians do--telling you what they think you want to hear.
This was a special time for India, one you couldn't see on the Bollywood set, but could witness in almost any house that had a television--The World Cup--cricket, that is. Unfortunately, as I was in Mumbai, India, with its Glamor Boy players, did not even make it to the Super Eight, losing to their smaller neighbors Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Tempers flared throughout the city, with women yelling at men, men yelling back "we suck, don't take it out on me" or something like that.
The newspapers tested their humor to defuse the situation...
"Here are 8 Super Endorsement Options Boys...
With India out of the Super 8, after a spineless performance in the World Cup, we are sure most players will lose their endorsements too. However, not all is lost for Team India. Here are eight products that the players can still model for. These Super Eight are:
Folding Furniture: India collapsed inexplicably against the Bangladesh bowlers and during fielding their shoulders were slumped throughout. The apocallapso shocked fans everywhere.
Bermuda shorts: India's world cup campain picked up very briefly against the extra large-sized Bermuda Players. Short and sweet it was, but all that post-Bermuda roaring came to nothing against Sri Lanka.
Eye care centers. The Indian batsmen need to visit and ophthamologist as soon as they return to India..."
Other endorsements the paper proposed were Fire Detartment, Butter, Save the Trees Foundation, Laundry Service, and Pain Relief Balm. Use your imagination.
I watched several games, on and off, learning cricket as I went. Throughout India, children played cricket in dirt fields or anywhere they could. Here, they had parks with green lawns just for cricket.
There's more to Mumbai than Bollywood and Cricket, but for me they were the two defining things of my visit.
Where I stayed
Salvation Army Hostel