A lift operator's workspace is large by this city's standards. However unlike the people who work in other barless cubicles, most older lift operators have a grumpy face which goes against the grain of what makes a Mumbaikar. Contrary to what people say about the people of this city, the people of Mumbai are friendlier than people from other parts of the country. Living, travelling, and working with someone's elbow in the face have made Mumbaikars respectful towards each other. Just like how the people of Japan, who live in similar cramped conditions, have devised elaborate greetings to reduce friction, Mumbaikars have evolved a short and sweet non-intrusive smile to ease the tension of a millions of people living on a small island.
On a stormy, rainy night, a tourist and a friend find shelter in a plastic sheet covered stall that cater to the tourists who walk up and down Colaba Causeway. They were woken up by the stall owner at 11am. If he turns out to be like Shantaram, we can expect a book about his nonsense chats in Leopold, walks up and down the Causeway and that stormy night he slept on the street.
Most pilgrims do not believe in comfort during a pilgrimage. Some walk for miles, others travel in lorries, singing bhajans. Bhajans that become the lullaby on the long hard journey in the company of the fevicol social network called the Thursday Bhajan Group (for Sai Baba devotees like these groups from near Jalgaon, Maharashtra) who make life that much easier.
Just a few kilometers east of Igatpuri and Thull Ghat in the green Shayadri hills and the landscape undergoes a drastic change. The monsoon clouds empty most of its moisture when it encounters the hills, creating a bald, brown rain-shadow region. However, the winds continue to blow and with more than enough strength to power a string of windmills that produce electricity.
The factory that produces the prasad at the Shirdi Sai Baba Shrine is powered by a large array of concave mirrors that collect sunlight to create hot water and steam for the cooking process. It even works in overcast monsoon conditions.
The dirtiest driving job in India just got a little better in the last few years. Now, the drivers have windshields and plastic covering on the top. This is next to useless against the moisture laden Monsoon wind blowing in from the Arabian Sea, as these truck speed towards Mumbai, just outside Nashik City. And yes, it was this gloomy, like in a Tim Burton movie.