Home at last

Yesterday at 11.45 a.m . we arrived at our apartement after a 24 hour trip that brought us from Bangalore via Mumbai, Dubai, Vienna to Graz . It was an exhausting journey back home, which pushed me to my very limits in Mumbai where we had to change over from the domestic airport, where we arrived from Bangalore, to the international airport. Although we had more than 3 hrs in order to change planes we made it by 15 minutes to catch our plane to Vienna.

My nerves where cracking for Mumbai airport was in a state of war: checkpoints, military, weapons, and outside busses, auto rickshaws and cars created a confusing and daunting situation. We had to push our way through the mess to get into the airport building.

More about this hell of a trip back in my next post.

Now we have settled in again in our snug little appartement. We are more than happy and thankful that we are back in Austria. India has taught us more than anything else to appreciate the privilege of being able to live in Austria. I have never been more aware of that. The memory card in our camera is making problems so there may be no photos from our trip . Such a problem might have made me freak out in the past. But at the moment, all I can do is laugh about it. Is it of any importance?

In Bangalore, we had a gorgeous driver who drove us all around Bangalore; he escorted us to the Bull temple and even helped to find a palm leaf reader at an obscure address. He was a happy man and had just bought a brand new auto rickshaw for 2000 US$. This was on Wednesday just before a lot was about to change for India. On Thursday while the terrorists were wreaking havoc in Mumbai he gave us another lift. It was immediately noticeable: The happenings in Mumbai had deeply affected this man. He appeared distraught and was close to crying when we talked about the sad happenings. The Mumbai attacks clearly left a trace and although we were about 1000 kilometers away from the metropolis, the atmosphere and mood of Bangalore’s citizens was gloomy and sad to say the least. They related to the sorrow of the people of Mumbai; to those that died or were injured and their families. But they also knew that the next months would be tough. So many Indians rely on tourism as their main source of income. So many are rickshaw drivers like our friend and live on a couple of hundred Rupees a day. The Mumbai attacks just came at the start of the high season. Flights out of Mumbai are full and we have heard that it is impossible to get out of India from Mumbai at the moment

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. Everyone not Indian seems to want to get out. This is understandable. Thus, our friend will drive around a lot fewer people this winter and there will be a lot less money coming in. Supporting his family and paying back for the new motor rickshaw will become even harder. Beyond the immediate grief, the consequences these attacks have on so many Indians is hardly grasbable.

What was really strinking about India was the fact that it appears as a harmonious amalgam of seemingly all the religions of the world . A Muslim mosque may just be a neighbour to a Hindu temple. We saw almost more Christian churches than in Styria and there are Synagoges scattered all over the sub continent. We never experienced any tensions between Indians of different religious backgrounds. Apparently, the irenic Indian mentality allows for such a coexistance and proves that harmony and cooperation lies beyond religious creeds.
The happenings in Mumbai now seem to poise a real threat to this unique balance . It can only be hoped that the peaceful, humane, non-aggressive Indian mentality prevails over those extremist cells that are manipulated into a deadly ideology of hatred, atrocious misantrophy.