Monday, June 11, 2012


I arrived here in Mumbai after sleep deprived eight days in Afghanistan (trip report and photos by accompanying Amir Somji coming up shortly) where it was numbing cold in Bamiyaan but scorching hot in Mazaar.  But Mazaar weather was a treat compared to New Delhi and Sirsi, India where temperatures came close to 50C.  This is a whopping 122F; as close you will ever come to sweat dripping from your undies.  The heat saps any energy you have the instant you step out in the sun.

It has been raining all day here in Mumbai, the first showers of 2012 monsoon season, so I know the short trip of thirty minutes to the airport will turn out to be double that - at least.  It remained thankfully dry the first three days I was here so could run my errands and enjoy seasonal mango madness and for the first time ever, splurge in jamun fruit ice cream from Natural Ice Creams – what a treat!

I am at Ramee Guestline Hotel in Juhu, Mumbai waiting to be taken to the airport for my flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, my first time there, insha’Allah.  My mood has soured however; just received news a poor man CAI was trying to assist with kidney disease just passed away.

For those who follow my Blogs and have asked for updates:

1.  I have no contact with Zulaikha Bahadoor (Baby Sultana’s Eyes) since I last met her and Baby Sultana some 14 years ago; I believe she did remarry and lives somewhere in Bihar, hopefully happy.

2.  I have also been unsuccessful in contacting Mir Mohammed Mirza (Mirza's Dowry Dilemma); he seems to have resigned his job with Indian Railway and retired; returned to Hyderabad?

3.   I do make contact with Saira Ashrafi (Saira’s Story) and do not have good news.  Saira refuses to meet me, declares she is not interested in meeting a Mullah (meaning me…how rude!).  She proudly tells me she had an abortion with help from a ‘Christian’ aid group, has discarded the hijab and now works as an information technology developer making ‘very good’ money.  She advises me to be more ‘modern’ (?), help girls like her without a ‘religious’ tag.  I thank her and hang up.

4. Abdul Raheem’s home and business in the slum area around Chakrapatty Shivaji International Airport (A Toilet With Tiles) has been demolished; the entire neighborhood is a large track of flattened land devoid of any structure or humanity, indication of imminent construction activity.  I pray Abdul got his high-rise apartment promised by the government; with or without tiles in the toilet(s).

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