13th April

It’s been four days in Bombay for me, and as I say goodbye to the City of Dreams, a few random thoughts float around.

Chennai does not have the worst weather in the country, Mumbai does! Some cities just get a bad name…

It’s nice to see the Nehru cap actually being used as a practical head-gear. So far, the only places I had seen them were on TV or during patriotic plays.

I love the Mumbai locals!…well, atleast for 4 days, it’s an experience worth having. In fact. I think this much-hyped ‘spirit of Mumbai’ has its roots in its local trains. When you are lost in that sea of humanity on the Dadar station and you get jostled and rattled for space, it isn’t only your body that gets crushed in the process, but also your ego. When you realise your destination is decided by which way the crowd pushes you and that you have no control, you understand that you have to hone your survival instincts to fight against the tide. At the same time, you realise that you can’t make it without your fellow passenger’s help, and so you co-operate. It’s a beautiful exercise in developing one’s individualistic and collective streaks at the same time!

The local train is the best mode of transport for a woman. Often is the time I’ve been squeezed between a wire mesh and a huge, sweaty paan-chewing chap, only to see on the other side of the Great Divide, a couple of women in the empty women’s compartment calmly having their lunch.

The Gateway of India isn’t half as impressive as it looks in the pictures.

The people are helpful and good. Case in point is the wonderful family I stayed with. So what if they’re Mangalorean? I like to think it’s partly due to the Mumbai spirit!