I spent last week in Mumbai visiting a business we have there. It’s the first time I’ve been to India at all and without question was one of the most humbling and inspiring four days of my life. I left India with a renewed energy that can only be given by a place that shows you just how hard you need to fight if you want to make something of yourself in this world.
At some point when I can collect my thoughts I will write about it.
One thing stands out in my mind and here’s why.
It started by hearing a song in the hotel car. Now when you stay at the Taj palace the driver wears a suit and white gloves. He has a set of ten disks in his car – one for every perceivable foreign speaking person that may be in his car. I happened to be English and so one of the songs on the disk was the song below. If you listen to the song as I did I tried to recall where I had heard it and I’m pretty sure it was SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (i went to go find the link afterwards) and i found the song harrowing. Ive spoken about the combination of music, dance and emotion before on this show as it seems to introduce me to musical genres i would otherwise never make a connection.
As I lay back in the car listening to this harrowing song having just left the brand new AER Bar at the Four Seasons Mumbai where like a socialite glutton (at the time I must confess I loved it) drank Grey Goose vodka on the 45 floor overlooking Mumbai feeling like an international rock star.
The problem however is as I sank back into the chair and glanced outside I realised we were driving through a slum. Now the slums of Mumbai make those in South Africa look like the Four Seasons I had just left and it became more and more clear how sad and unfair life is. Here I was being chauffeured drunk on Grey Goose through Mumbai back to my exceptional hotel while these millions of people slept with no lights, no water and no form of civilization I could see or think of.
Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t the first time I’ve seen poverty nor the first time I’ve felt sympathy but the combination of alcohol buzz and the words and melody of this song conjured the most powerful of experiences and I realised why I have to remind myself everyday of just how lucky I actually am.
Close your eyes one night and listen to this song in the quiet darkness of your home and imagine the life both better and worse that you could have had . . .