Year 2004. During my first professional assignment in Pune, India, I made a short visit to Mumbai during the weekend just before leaving the country. I stayed at Hyatt Regency and asked the Reception to please find me a car and driver for a day to get around. After some negotiations we end up with a fairly deal and gone to what supposed to be for a long day of sightseeing. According to the map the driver would take me some landmarks such as Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (later a stage of a terror attack) and would proceed to Colaba Area where I would look for Antiques shops which I love to circuit.
I visited the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and then walked to the Gateway to India as planned. In this specific area there were allot of pigeons flying all over and making it difficult to photograph because as they fly blurred marks will appear on the photos from their motion which does not look nice at all and takes time to edit. Eventually I managed to take some photos and went to look for the driver because he told me he would move around the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel since it is impossible to park the car in this specific spots. I got into the car and he proceed the journey as agreed. The heavy traffic of Mumbai make it difficult to drive at more than 20km/h and only bit by bit. As I asked a few questions pointing to the map I sensed a strong smell around. The car was quite used and typically stained as most of the cars I have been in India. Water is a problem and the cleaning of cars is not a priority, even inside. But the smell was not there before. My nostrils started to get soaked with a putrid acidic smell that made me feel uncomfortable. I asked the driver if he felt the same but he shacked his head in a typical indian way which for us westerns is like a non/yes/non/yes at the same time. I open the window but nothing happened. I ask him to stop the car for a few minutes to see if it was the engine because it was not there before, hell no! Nothing has changed. I looked around inside but apart from my backpack with water and a sandwich the car was empty…
As he was driving in Chandra Bose water front road I started to feel annoyed by the strong smell that would not go away and seems even stronger. My annoyance start slowly transformed in irritation and not knowing what to do (the driver was mute as never) I ask him to drive me back to the hotel, my sightseeing would be finished. Afraid I would break the deal and loose money he stopped the car just in front of these kids in the photo what seems to be brother and sister having a lazy day in a hazy day. Because he would have to turn right just ahead, with the car stopped he surprised inquired if he understood me right to go back to the hotel with half of the journey done. I acknowledge it was right and told him I could not bear that putrid acidic smell as it was causing me irritation and at that stage a itching feeling. He restarted the engine but then I stopped him, I could not let this picture go unfrozen, I found it cute!
Upon our arrival at the Hyatt I paid him what we agreed and he felt relieved and wanted give me back some change which I did not accepted because it was my fault not his. Crossed the lobby and entered the elevator. Pressed 11th floor pushbutton and as the elevator moved up I noticed that the smell was not going away, hmmm… I looked at my shoes again and nothing. I started to touch everywhere in my body and smelled my hands after slight rubbing each place such arms, legs, face and hair… Shit! It was my hair!!! I had two big pigeon defecation lumps on top of my head!!!
Wonder why pigeons are not welcome to nest in monuments…
After my cloths were thrown into the laundry basket and a shower and deep hair rinsing I sat to drink my water and look at the photos. This particular photo made my day. My good mood was back again and sneaked myself into the hotel’s lavish buffet before taking a nap.