Bombay was beautiful. Well, not. It’s probably (as I told one of the architects I interviewed in HK) one of the ugliest cities in the world – but I would still probably rather live there than anywhere else.

As we dragged our suitcases to the lift in my building, I couldn’t help thinking how shabby everything looks. Why can’t they paint this? Why can’t they put in a new lift? This thought-stream continued throughout my stay in Bombay. Basically, the place is a dump.

But it’s my very own dump. Even if I don’t know the coolest places to eat or party anymore, there’s still JATC. And the same friends to sit in JATC and have conversations with over coffees and cigarettes. Conversations that range from in-laws (must-do topic for the only two smug marrieds in the gang with the result of ensuring that singletons remain singletons out of fright) to men who have effed off to do their parents bidding and get married to magnetic hypnosis (go figure). I cannot have these conversations anywhere else in the world.

This time I was smart and planned my visit – or at least informed everyone and met everyone I possibly could. Many thanks to all those people who hung out with me even though I wasn’t there for a single weekend.

I also bonded with parents and spaniel but came away feeling like it wasn’t enough. The tragic part about living away and having only five days of visit is that there are no second chances. The things you didn’t say or do can only be done next year. Which is so far away I cannot bear to think about it.

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