Am waiting at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. It’s currently 7.00 PM and I have a 10.30 PM flight to catch to Mumbai. Yes, I know…I finished my meeting early and didn’t have the foresight to book a flight at a more reasonable time. But, because of a couple of things – the uncertainty of the end of the meeting and the Gujjar agitation in Delhi, I thought that it would be a safer bet to take the last flight out rather than take an early flight out and get stranded on the way back home in the Gujjar protests. Had quite an eventful day today. Was staying at the ITC Grand Central in Parel, where I chanced to literally have breakfast with the Chennai Super Kings. Had the good fortune to see Muralidharan, Balaji, Ntini (even had a brief chat with him in the elevator), a West Indian cricketer (whose name is on the tip of my fingers, but my mind fails me), Rudi Koertzen, Gony, Gopinath, and a couple of other players. It was quite late for them considering that I ate breakfast at almost 10 AM. They are very different in person and on the field. Ntini is always the crowd puller with his crazy comments and jovial nature. Muralidharan is always all smiles, be it while bowling or while gorging on idlis. Quite an experience I must say.
It’s been quite some time since I have been sitting here after enjoying some Vegetarian Roll at Balaji Sweets and being poorer by 50 bucks. Have quite a day lined up tomorrow as well. My wife is traveling to Mumbai. Ironical that today I leave Mumbai and tomorrow, she gets here. My parents are expected to reach Delhi; have quite a few meetings (4 in all) to attend, of which 2 are interviews, 1 is a client visit, and the last one is a complete waste of time. I am constantly hoping against hope that I will see an actor/actress from Bollywood will cross my path and I hope to be noticed and offered a ‘break’ in their next. ha!
Mumbai has this weird feeling associated with it. It’s a terribly dirty city, filled with shanties and jhuggies, traffic all around, loud sounds, hot and humid weather, etc., and yet – this place has a certain charm about it. The buzz in the city is addictive and the warmth that people express is overwhelming. Yes – this city is infested with over-metrosexual men (if you know what I mean), but they keep their distance. There’s a certain feel and soul to the city. The sharp contrasts of societal differences virtually nullified in the busy trains of Mumbai where Mercedes and bicycle owners hanging by the last piece of metal they can find in the trains. This city is a great leveler and that’s what I love about it. It has plenty of spunk, glamour, charm, and pragmatism feel about it. Although I would think twice before living here, considering the real estate prices here, this city pulls me towards it like no other. Maybe, some day…let’s hope a well-wisher or a crazy whacko decides to rent his 4 bedroom house in Colaba/Worli decides to give me his/her house for safekeeping and allows me to stay there as a caretaker for free. I would jump immediately at that opportunity, and in all fairness take extra special care of his place. Then again, it’s all wishful thinking!
Need to get a reality check and pick up my boarding pass from the Kingfisher counter now. The lady was kind enough to block my seat when I walked in 3.5 hours prior to departure. I enjoy flying Kingfisher not only because they make you feel special, but also because of the entire feel associated with the experience of flying Kingfisher. Regarded as a poor man’s Virgin, it’s done well for itself here in India. Let’s see how long they can keep this up. Their seats by far are the most comfortable for an economy class traveler in the Indian skies; their food is not stale, which is the biggest compliment any full carrier can get; their entertainment bouquet needs to be a little more prepped up. One annoying thing is when the air hostess announces that she’s either coming to get the blankets (which I never ask for), or when she talks about the Kingfisher Club Experience, or when she announces that she’s getting lunch/dinner, etc., and then goes on to announce the same thing again in a vernacular language – come on! I’m trying to watch something here. Don’t bug me unless we are about to die or if I have won some sort of prize.
Time to get my boarding pass now (really!) and wait hopefully for either a starlet to pass by and give me a ‘break’ (the movie kind) and/or find my well-wishing free house-giver in Mumbai.
Until next time – Hef.