Travel notes from my year in India (2003): Mumbai. 3 of 16

December 22

Where do we go when we dream? Where is that imaginary space built with the memories and images of our past? I might have found mine, thousands of miles away, tucked into the late night of the streets in Bombay. Four in the morning, warm and humid, an orange light blending colors into a monochromatic fantasy. Very surreal, reminiscent of a Fellini movie. The line of time gone bye messing up with the one yet to come. Large trees with roots hanging from the branches bring back scenes from childhood readings (Salgari, Kipling). Old black cab cars parked at every corner, with blue and red neon lights inside and the drivers sleeping in the back seats. Memories from a time when cars were not just cars. Old, very old merry-go-rounds beg the night to take them away, to give them the rest they have earned with so many turns. Big swings that are asked to look like ancient roman boats, feeling lonely so far from home. Old colonial houses tired of dressing up for visitors that never seem to notice. A fugitive of the night passes by pushing an electric toy car. Then suddenly someone pulls my shirt from behind: "Would you like to see my trained monkey dance for you?"