Friday, April 14, 2006

Mumbai Sheep Incident

So, I'm in the back of a cab in Mumbai. In of the grimiest and densley populated cities in the world, stuck in solid traffic at a busy junction in the rush hour - noisy, polluted, dusty, insane.

Frantic doesn't even begin to cover it.

I look out of the window to my left, and standing on the (narrow) pavement is a sheep. I've seen goats, I've seen cows, I've even seen elephants in cities in India - but they were unlike this sheep in one important respect. They were all dusty brown - naturally, or from pollution. Step outside in Mumbai and you need a shower. Walk down the street and you are looking for a dry cleaners before they will let you back in the hotel.

But this was a clean, white, totally spotless sheep. Freshly minted, or straight out of a Sheep Laundry that clearly must be nearby...Strange indeed.

So, this clean white sheep is stood there, head down, calmly waiting on the pavement as traffic flies past beeping and honking, spewing out poison only a couple of feet away.

And our clean sheep is untethered. It is just standing there calmly next to this guy, for all the world like a well trained dog next to its master.

And it's standing underneath a sign for a Vegetarian restarant - in fact, they are both just outside, and the guy seems to be chatting to someone who works there. So I think - is the sheep waiting to go in, or are the owners considering a change of culinary strategy....?

But then this thought is interrupted with the screech of brakes and a smash of glass, as over to my right there's obviously been a collision.

Everyone on the pavement looks up and across in surprise. The people in the restarant look up in surprise. The f-ing sheep looks up - and now I know what the expression is on the face of a startled urban sheep !

I can see - as can the sheep - that a bus has bumped into the rear lights of a car at the traffic lights.

From the state of cars in Mumbai, this is clearly not an unusual occurrence. In fact it might be that some models leave the factory only after at least one light has been smashed and 3 scrapes and a dent added to either side of the car.

But the driver of this car is not that calm.

He gets out of his car and starts berating the bus driver.

Who looks down on him from 12 feet up in the air, bemused, and does nothing.

So our man goes to his boot (trunk), opens it up and then gets out a hammer and starts smashing up the front of the bus!!

Cue arrival of Police, cue instant crowd.....cue sheeps attention is still 100% on this pnenomenon....

...and then the lights change and away we go....!

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