Well, 2 days ago we had another sharing in class. We were to say something ridiculous we missed about our cities back home. For the first time readers, i am attending a course on Conflict resolution & peace at the Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok.
So we have trainers specialised in conflict resolution, game theories, applying theory to groups & so on & so forth…everyone was expected to mention something. Now i have a friend Mr S. He asked me through text if I missed Mumbai. Which I do NOT right now. I am NOT really one of those who misses anyone or anything, not because i am cold, detached or cruel. I live in this moment. I live in the very present. Missing connotes an emotion of weakness, in my analysis functioning & living.
Missing means, you are dwelling on the past & living on the past. Missing according to the dictionary means, “Lacking, absent, failure to accomplish or achieve.” That is why i said it is a weakness. I have NOT failed & even if i didn’t get something i wanted, today it may NOT be that significant. If you miss someone or person, that also means you are holding onto something that is NOT yours, in your existence. I do NOT miss people as a rule, especially those alive. Sometimes you may reminisce, recollect memories, but that doesn’t mean you miss. People are meant to come, go exit & enter your life. One has to learn to live with these happenings.
So i told Mr S that he may not believe it, but I really do NOT miss Mumbai. He ofcourse said he expected this answer as “Miss” doesn’t exist in my vocabulary! Which is true. So when i was confronted to reply in the class i was jaw locked! Seriously, i wanted to laugh. I shared it in class that i do NOT miss anyone or anything.
The trainer persuaded me & coaxed me. He said, “Something ridiculous you surely miss neeta.” And you know in a brief spilt of a second i said to myself, “Yes Neeta you miss the dirty odour & smells back home!” So i had this absolutely naughty grin on my face & one colleague said, wait you’re going to say something really funny. Yes, I said it aloud, “I miss the dirty odours in my city, I miss the dirty body odours back home of men & more so young girls!” The whole class was in splits & making sounds.
An Indian colleague who sits next to me, Ankur looked at me sympathetically & said, “You know Neeta you’re right. The people in India really have worse body odours!” Some extra smart will read & say so you go round smelling people is it. No, i Don’t do that. One doesn’t have to take that extra effort in Mumbai or India. We are just a bunch of unhygienic race.
Men have huge body odour (BO as politely & politically correct i am told) problem. In our DNA office dammit, the young girls smell of BO early in the day! So many journalists have BO. I have already written about it earlier in this blog. In fact Ranjona (A senior in this field& Off) had her ear filled with my daily outbursts about how there is a strong BO in my section. Yes, young PYTs chavlyas matkyas as i call them, dress to the hilt, sex bombs but oh! My god, have such strong BO. It makes me nauseated.
Do i need to emphasise how traumatic it is to travel in a bus or train with strong BO?? eeks. rattling, unnerving, assault on my nose, its my basic right to protect myself. So Ranjona has donated her deo to me. I carry one in my bag, a napkin to cover my face & I am unashamed to hold it on my face as i move around in the city. I carry a fan too now, so that i can get fresh air as opposed to odour filled air.
Mumbai city has a lot of it. It also has a peculiar stink. Now China has a stink through out the country, may be because of their Stinky tofu. It is a peculiar stink, quite unlike the fish stench that coastal or tropical cities have. NOT like Mumbai’s beaches where they dry prawns & Bombil.
Thailand has a mix of odours. Bb as in Bad breath is across Asia & Oh! Yes, the true old America, as they use very little water in their lives. Thailand they have all sorts of stinly food prodcuts, their food stinks. plus they use shrim & other fish sauces, so they stink too. Walking on the streets is a pleasure on the feet, as they are clean, NO garbage, drains. But it is definitely an assualt on the nose!
Mumbai has strong sewage, bad drainage & overflowing mahole stench, bad odour problem. There are heaps of garbage & that too gets mixed in the air. So imagine now firstly BO, then mass BO, garbage, drainage, sewage & the famous Mithi river (Nullah) stench problem, mixed with drying fish, odours from slums & lastly but NOT the least coastal sea odour.
Can you imagine how many odours on a daily basis (minus the fragrances of perfumes, deos, food, etc) that we inhale on a daily basis in Bombay?? Gawd, it is a torture, it is also ridiculous. Because these odours are something we can minimise. We all together can identify there is a problem with us so bathe properly, use deos, allum & eat well. These odours are from people who are earning decent salaries or income & can afford to minimise them.
Sometimes ridiculous also becomes a serious …so the class definitely had a laugh as they said “eeks, that is something outrageous Neeta.”