The first thing you’ll notice about riding in the back of an auto-rickshaw is the silent voice screaming in your head: “Watch out for the car! Don’t hit the bike! Slow down!”
After dozens of close calls you realize your physical existence is assured but the psychological beating has just begun. The crushing poverty. The brutal heat. The dust that seems enjoined with the air in just the way you imagine it would in a third world country.
After arriving at my destination, I stepped out of the rickshaw and the pleasure I thought I’d feel from escaping the piece-of-shit golf cart turned into something else: fear.
Little time to ponder this emotion. A homeless man — barely covered in clothes, horribly skinny — grabbed my left ankle. I broke free of his weak, helpless grip and then dodged one of the hundreds of stray dogs which roam the street.
I snuck a wistful glance back to see if my rickshaw was still there. It was not. It had rejoined the chaos of the city.
I turned and faced the street and the overly curious, aggressive stares of the dozens of people standing or lying on the sidewalk.
Bombay, India. Day 1.