I’m getting woken up every day at 6am, and I am trying to figure out which religion is responsible.
Islam has a call to prayer five times a day, it’s short and loud and just a voice. There are also longer, thirty minute, singing and instrumental performances at dawn as well. As my brother remarked, ‘If there’s music, it ain’t Muslim’, so I ask around and it turns out it’s a Hindu thing.
I’ve also met some Jains, who are a Hindu branch, and run some really awesome pacifist temples. They are so vegan they don’t eat garlic as it’s an insectacide.
And today I partook of some Parsi hospitality at a fantastic restaurant. Parsi are the Jews of Asia, they are Zoroastrianists (pre-Christian fire worshippers) who fled Iran when Muslims invaded and set up a small community in Mumbai. They value education and family success, and they were persecuted until the British arrived in 1700 or so and put a stop to it.
I got a warm welcome as a subject of Queen Elizabeth, and I was asked to pass on the regards of the Parsi community to her majesty next time we meet. The proprietor, who goes by the name of ‘Mister Bhatman’ (hahahaha), is ninety five years old and met William and Kate three months ago.
His family cooked me the best food I have tasted in years (mutton berry pulav). I asked for the secret Parsi recipe and he said he couldn’t give it up. The American ambassador had asked for it the previous day and Bhatman had told him he would only trade it for the recipe for Coca-Cola.
I suppose I should blog about my day for a bit. I’m in Mumbai and it’s ridiculously overcrowded. Imagine the worst London tube strike and multiply it by ten, that’s their normal Tuesday.
The trains here have no doors, and I spent a mile or so hanging onto a pole half out the train. This occurred when we pulled up to a platform and a flood of people came in the opposite door, almost pushing me out.