March 20, 2006

The Return

Unlike most others, I came home to an overflowing mailbox and a burgeoning unread list in my feed reader of choice – GreatNews – after two days in Bombay. It is almost three in the morning and after dedicating more than three solid hours to catching up on the information deluge I have decided to let the matter rest for now and pick the gauntlet up once again later in the working day. But strangely, even in the overwhelming relief that familiarity brings, I have not felt the typical elation I feel when get back to Delhi after any trip, nor did I feel totally out of place in Bombay, which says a lot.

Contrary to my expectations, I did not have an easy time during the trip. The initial plan was to take it easy with the work part of it and then spend time catching up with friends that I wanted to meet up with. Two of them, one due to the developments in Navi Mumbai and the other due to the improbability of the distances involved, fell off the list. But I did finally get to meet a blogger who is now more a personal and close friend, some four years after I first got to know her and also met up with another old friend and the gang from back here, who recently moved there. The spoiler, though, was the work part, which I have to admit was quite satisfying that took up most of my time.

That said, the romance I have had for the city did dwindle a lot this time around. A lot of it probably has to do with the fact that in my first trip there I stayed at Colaba and worked at Nariman Point, giving me some of the best parts of the city to exist in for the seven days I was there. The second time, about eight months back, was spent between Lower Parel and Bandra, with the office providing for most of the transportation. This time, I ventured out on my own a lot more, getting stuck in places like Mahim and Bandra and I even managed a late night and early morning trip to and from Lokhandwala. Even the sea food did not do much to rescue the situation this time, but I did appreciate the fact that I did not have to drive. I had not realised that driving takes away so much of energy and effort.

If you do know the secret, be sure to let me know about how the cabbies of the city manage to propel and direct their old Fiat cars at the speed and in the manner in which they do. They judge the space requirements better than any feline I’ve seen till date and the way in which they get their braking spot on would put any legendary formula one driver to shame. Another thing to note was the new domestic terminal at the airport which looked totally out of place and spanking good in its glory. We seriously need more of those. And why on earth would someone want to use a card system to regulate wireless internet access within the terminals? It kind of defeats the purpose even when have creatively named base stations like ‘Tusnami’ showing up on the network list.

In retrospect, the trip was pretty successful. I did manage to have two pretty useful and exhaustive meetings and also have a fruitful crack at deciphering the impenetrable legalese in two corporate agreements, leading me to believe that I might have finally found the real calling for me in life – in law. Really sad jokes apart, it is always a pleasure to connect in a professional capacity with the people of the city, there is so much less faffing around and wastage of time. I also managed to have a bit of run in with the mutual funds kind of crowd at the company’s event at a beautiful five star hotel’s premises in Bandra, though ten minutes into it I could see why I could never be good at it. It is just not my thing, I am happy being my geeky, asocial self. Well, at least for now.