Trip to Mumbai
A friend’s son was getting married…a Wharton business school graduate who put his name on Shaadi.com and found a response from….a schoolmate! The date was the same as our 30th wedding anniversary , and we decided that we would celebrate it there.
We decided to try Kingfisher Airlines this time. My inputs: The economy (sorry, Kingfisher class) was definitely more cramped than the same section in SpiceJet. And guess what happened to Deepa Murphy…I was the sole passenger whose “personal entertainment system” (read, tv in front of seat)wasn’t working! I was in the window seat of a cramped 3-by-3 alignment…with the flight going full, there was no way anyone of the cabin crew could attend to the problem, so, having paid nearly twice as much as I would have on Spice, which I liked very much on my last trip to Pune, I sat and watched a blank screen…let me see if I get any response to my feedback letter. If not the King, at least the Prince of HR should respond!
The stewardesses were, to my eye, PYT’s with far too much make up on their faces…but I realize that most of the passengers might not have been looking at their faces! To be fair, they seemed pretty (er…that word keeps coming in, doesn’t it?) efficient about their tasks, and one young woman repeatedly apologized about the TV malfunction.
The bright red of the uniforms, and the whole accent on hedonism, jars a little on me, but then, I am probably in the minority here. But given a choice, I will take SpiceJet, not Kingfisher (Deccan Air is too unreliable…haven’t tried GoAir yet.)
…Indian? What’s that? I have forgotten the days when TINA, rather, TWNA (there was no alternative)! ;-)
The mehendi and sangeeth ceremonies where at a place called Mayfair. The families put together the usual slide-show but the groom’s was SO well done and witty, done by some of his cousins and friends. The wedding, the next evening, was in the landmark (Gateway of India, Mumbai) Taj Hotel…a really lovely building and I went around the whole hotel avidly, asking to be shown some of the suites….we were staying at the New Annexe of the National Sports Complex of India, on the Worli sea-face, with a view from our window half over Mahalakshmi Race Course and half over the sea, where the mosque of Haji Ali sent its minarets up to the sky from a long jutting outcrop of land….we walked down to the Mahalakshmi Temple after which the area is named, and the next morning, before leaving for our flight, we actually had time to visit the temple (my spouse said he hadn’t gone inside the temple in 30 years, neither had I, since 1972!). It was uncrowded and nice, and we watched some of the morning Arati. To me,though, such loud music does not gel with my own spiritual needs. I prefer introspection/meditation in quiet…..I find that I prefer the quiet of churches to the social focii that temples often are.
We also walked down to a “designer” shop called “Vama” on Peddar Road…I will never be a “designer” buyer. To look at salwar kameezes and dresses that started from Rs.25,000 and went on being more expensive…made me even more uncomfortable than usual when I came out and the little urchins came begging at our car window. I didn’t buy such expensive dresses when either I, or my daughter, got married, and I fear it is too late to convert myself now. The only thing I liked about Vama was that they have large cement tubs with plants lining the pavements all the way to their shop, for a distance of more than a kilometre. Good addition of badly-needed greenery to a industry-grey city.
On a birding note, I also watched a large number of Pariah kites swoop and soar in the air, enjoying the monsoon winds. One swooped down and snatched a bit of fish from the nets on the beach…and was mobbed by several crows, forcing it to drop the fish, which the crows then bickered over! Interesting little cameo performance, as I looked on from my window!
But the Peddar Road area is definitely one of the older, more gracious areas of Mumbai. Here and there were beautiful old bungalows, amazingly, in good shape, too, and many more trees than one would normally associate with this city. Some of the architectural details (the sunshades and the balconies) of even old sets of flats were very beautiful to see.
We started on our 31st year of married life…we find, in the words of a Swede whom we met some years ago, who had married his childhood sweetheart after World War II and parental objections (yes!) had separated them for more than 30 years….that “ in the ashes, there are embers”!
Spoke to two people from St Louis on SkypeOut, which gave trouble after I had downloaded the “New, Improved, Wondeful Voice Quality” version…then they called back and we had a loooong chat….