Asia/India

A morning’s tour

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Today was all rather ad hoc as plans fell away and I reconstructed my day on the spot.

So what better thing to go and see first thing than the city’s dhobe ghats. These are where all the city’s washing gets done. No washing machines are needed here. For three rupees (5p) your shirt can be picked up, taken here, washed, ironed and returned to you. It is a huge area, set out in rows of large stone basins each with a shelf. The basins are all set on the ground and are large enough to stand in, which is what the washer-men do. The clothes are dunked in soap laden water and then pummelled and beaten, before being rinsed and hung out to dry. It puts quite a different complexion on washing machines.

From there I went to visit a couple of parks: Mumbai’s Hanging Gardens and the Kemala Nehru Park. So colourful and well laid out. Quite beautiful and quite at odds with so much of the rest of the city. All around the parks one can see two types of city: the modern concrete blocks of flats looming overhead and the shanty towns peeping through the trees don below.