Asia/India

Daylight robbery

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At least the monkeys did not go thirsty. That was my water bottle.

I was robbed today, twice. The first time was just a silly bit of shanghai-ing which I fell for in a moment of distraction. Even as it happened I knew it was wrong. But it was the second episode that was much the more interesting.

Just across the bay from Bombay is the island of Elephanta. You can take a boat there from the Gateway to India. This I did and by the time I arrived on the island the heat was absolutely baking. The island is home to some quite remarkable shrines carved directly into the rock. Much has now been damaged and eroded away, but the air (inside them at least) had a certain quality and one could well imagine why people would choose to come here to pray. It was the air outside the relative cool of the shrines that was the problem. Looking around at the other visitors it was rare not to see a short drenched with sweat. The state of my own shirt only escaped detection because I was wearing a jacket over, though I was rather defeated as the afternoon wore on. It was the sort of heat that demanded constant drinking and so I had bought a fresh bottle of cold water when stepping off the boat and onto the island. But it was obviously not just the tourists who felt that the temperature demanded a drink. As I walked up the hill towards the shrine, taking in the sights and the colours and holding my water-bottle not a little lackadaisically, the second thief of the day prepared his ambush. Quickly he stole up on me and with one deft swipe of his arm knocked the bottle from my grasp. Grabbing it himself he shot up into a tree, removed the lid with his mouth and slaked his own thirst off as the water ran from the bottle. I really was very impressed. An hour or so later I was also very thirsty.