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Tiffin Talk

The extremes of experience that had transpired the day before had left us exhausted, necessitating an indulgence in sleep, which would under any other circumstances be downright shameful. We woke so late, in fact, that we barely had enough time to work on correspondence before our most gracious host, Win Bennett, wandered in the door, home from work. Furthermore, with only barely enough time to overcome the preliminary chatting phase of interaction, we once again needed to excuse ourselves to hop on the cycles and head to an interview with Tiffin Talk, one of the first local news radio shows in Mumbai.

It was 7:00 pm and the sun had set. Win explained to us that traffic would be thick, but we were confident by then in our ability to navigate dense traffic on the Speed TRs and set out, expecting to make better time than had we taken a cab.

Outside Win’s apartment, we attracted quite a crowd, as employees from both Win’s and the surrounding buildings gathered to see the strange foreigners in Panama hats unfold their bizarre cycles. The crowd grew even more delighted as we attached our Knog Frog LED lights, and showed off the Speed TR’s internal headlamp, powered by the front dynamo hub.

Already running a bit late, we wheeled out of Win’s place, down a long thin crumbling drive called “Frontage Road,” which runs parallel to a giant sewage duct. Following Win’s directions, we climbed onto a nearby highway that proved to be quite unlit, and trafficked by an alarming number of taxis and auto rickshaws with no headlamps. While dark shapes roared by us on this giant unlit highway, we thanked the stars that at least we were lit up like aircraft carriers.

Traffic finally got thick as we were exiting the highway, wheeling our way around a vast curve. Soon we were forced to stop amidst a thick swarm of cars, auto rickshaws, and motor bikes, all pumping noxious smoke from their tailpipes. I coughed on the acrid exhaust, and found myself stunned at the ambient noise level. It seemed everyone in Mumbai had installed or modified their horns to create something louder and more unique. The horns also exhibited a strange anti-correlation with the size of the craft bearing the device. A gigantic cement truck might have a horn that merely made a cutesy “tickle tootleoo” noise, while the smallest 40 cc scooter would sport a gigantic fog horn overlaid with piercing and sweeping sirens.

Needless to say, in the insanity of the traffic, the noise, and the dearth of street signs, we ended up quite lost. This being not so atypical a situation for the AsiaWheeling team, we rode on, trusting in our compass and asking directions again and again, each time getting rather conflicting data. We were encountering another interesting Indian societal trait: when confronted with a request for data that one does not have, it seems it is more socially acceptable to provide vague or downright incorrect data than to admit ignorance. So with each sample, our pool of possible directions grew larger and more conflicted. Nevertheless, we kept on riding, hoping that the radio show was not live (since we were quite late by this point). We finally questioned a well-to-do Indian fellow who was so exacting and loquacious in his direction giving, and so debonair in his electric purple, well pressed silk shirt, that we began to gain hope in the validity of our trajectory.

And sure enough, it worked. We strode, sweaty and triumphant, into the courtyard of the makeshift studios of Tiffin Talk and recorded this interview:

(iTunes Link | Direct Download | Tiffin Talk Stream)

With that out of the way, we were free to meet up with Win and his friend Alex. Arthor Danchest, the host of Tiffin Talk, also gave us the pleasure of his company as we indulged in a little culinary escapism with them at a local European restaurant.


Comments

  1. Mark/Dad | March 23rd, 2010 | 1:13 pm

    Tiffin Talk was great! When is the NPR story?

  2. Woody | March 26th, 2010 | 4:49 am

    @ Mark/Dad
    That’s what I keep asking NPR… perhaps when NPR decided to assimilate Tiffin Talk…

  3. Arthor Danchest | March 27th, 2010 | 1:23 am

    I love the adventure it took to find your way to the interview. Great stuff guys, it was great to have you in town and on the show!

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