“Mumbai’s HOTTEST club: 48 hours!” -Stefan

The first 48 hours in Mumbai have been a blur, a blessing, and full of movement. More than once, I’ve commented on how these 48 hours have felt like a week in this enchanting city. Since we first stepped off the plane, we’ve met uber inspiring and successful people like Shanoo, Popular Indian Cinema Casting Director, ate piles of food of different spice ranges, rode in rickshaws, attempted to haggle street prices, learned how to say ‘thank you’ in Hindi, and participated in Bollywood dance number workshops at film school, Whistling Woods International…

It all started at Reagan National Airport in DC, when we were two hours too early to our two-hour delayed flight where we would meet our to-be SUBollywood friends in the fabulously large Newark airport. The moment that we all congregated in Newark, I knew that this journey was going to be epic. The 15 hour plane ride from Newark to Mumbai solidified my expectations of epicness when watching multiple films, learning some impromptu Hindi, and doing little dances to myself and my neighbors.

When we arrived in Mumbai, it was late and hot and beautiful. The first time was a culture shock but this time I felt like I could look at and through every element, searching for a story or hidden beauty. The airport artwork and city architecture and interior design began to catch my eye.

We arrived at this beautiful hotel, the Sai Palace, which has 7 levels including a roof that is home to a gorgeous view and haunting crows. The main desk and chandelier caught my eye and comforted me in my sweaty-post-airplane state.

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This will be my home for the next two weeks where I will become close to these beautiful people who decided to embark on this journey, where I will have amazing breakfasts, late night room service, watch Bollywood films in the am’s, and use only a handful of Wifi hours.

Next amazing piece of awesome is the view from the rickshaws/buses/taxis. The outside world of Mumbai is pretty brown and grey but abundantly spotted, like a dalmatian, with tapestries, hanging clothing and blankets, and intricate signs of brilliant, vibrant colors. I feel like this represents the city in the context of the world because it is perceived as a hopeless place, but has so many areas of sparkle and shine that bring life to the inside and outside community.

Another place we ventured off to during one “late” night.. i.e. 7-11pm (HEYOO SLURPEES!) was an urban restaurant/dance place. There we met Shanoo Sharma, who intrigued me with her chair-hoop earrings and contagious personality, and inspired me with her journey to becoming the best casting director in India and sticking to what she loves. The restaurant not only held this masterpiece of a human, but also a minimalist meets romantic Grecian architecture. Most everything was sleek and white, making all of its inhabitants the splashes of color.

FLASHFORWARD TO NOW: We just finished the first day of school at Whistling Woods International where inspiration becomes a fervid part of my vocabulary. I cannot wait to continue opening my mind and filling it with culture and positivity, making tight bonds with this fabulous community, trying new things, dancing in a Bollywood number, diving into a mini-documentary, and living and breathing India. This post isn’t nearly half the adventures of 48 hours, but right now, I’ve got a rumbly in my tumbly and need to see to it. This ain’t toodle-oo, it is namaste to the next three weeks of adventure and new-found beauty in the unexpected India.

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