It was a long, plodding ride in bumper to bumper traffic on a tropically hot Saturday afternoon. I was on my way to the Coastal & Marine Biodiversity Centre in Airoli, Navi Mumbai (New Mumbai), an hour and a half from Mumbai. To see flamingoes from a boat in the Thane creek. Before they head back to Gujarat, the state in western India where they will stay until winter.
The Thane creek is the largest in Asia, extending 26 kilometers and separating Mumbai from mainland India. Part of the creek has been declared an eco-sanctuary and is home to life-sustaining mangroves, and host to hundreds of migratory birds each year including the iconic flamingoes, which were lovely to watch from my boat.
Today though, I will not document the beautiful, graceful flamingoes or the egrets or the rare bird species I witnessed up close.
Today is dedicated to an unknown man, a working class toll-booth attendant in a blue shirt who stands in the hot Mumbai sun in the middle of May, readily offering his warm smile to motorists along with the change he dispenses.