Sunday, October 21, 2007

Watching the Indian CNN at Mumbai's aiport

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The Sensex rose after a sharp fall.
A Karachi bomb blast kills 150.
But Benazir Bhutto, the target, is safe and back in Pakistan after 8 years in exile.
It’s the festival of Durga and people are dancing the night away.

That was just from a 4 min. snippet of news.
Even the news seems different now. There is something like a Good Morning America show with a cheerful woman host, called Breakfast with India. The words "optimism" and "energy" wouldn’t be inappropriate. People are dressed differently. There is definitely a layer of lifestyle here that is very close to our lifestyle in the west. I haven’t left the airport, so it remains to be seen how widespread the change is. A young man died unexpectedly soon after his wedding and his family and the public took to the streets in protest, crying foul-play and accusing a prominent politically connected family of murder – the words, "clean and transparent process" and "truth" are being thrown around. Democracy is alive and well.

While the airport is newly renovated, there are still 400,000 slum dwellers right around the runway that are going to have to be displaced as the airport expands. This has already caused a storm of controversy. As our bus wound its way from the international to the domestic terminal, over the walls of the airport grounds, I could see Christmas lights hanging on the houses and on the streets in the slums in celebration of the Dhasara festival.

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