Before I left for Bombay, I had been panicking about overcommitting myself and how I was going to manage to spend time with everyone I wanted to. I was more than a little stressed out also at the prospect of meeting my extended family all at the same time after ages.

Nevertheless, when I got to the airport, I was excited.


By the time I got home in Bombay it was 2 am and my mum and I chatted until 4 am, which set the tone for the entire week. We woke up at 6.30 am because we were sleeping in the hall and my gran had woken up.


I had made an appointment at the bank three weeks before I arrived. I had a simple agenda – to close my account. The ‘relationship manager’ effusively told me to pick any time and she would ‘clear her schedule’. I picked 10 am, and she suggested 11 am. I agreed.

That morning, just as I was ready to leave for the bank, my mum got me to proofread the mass for my gran and I got delayed. Luckily, when I rushed down there was an auto in the building but we were halfway to the bank when I realised that I didn’t have my passport. So I got the driver to do a U-turn, raced up six floors, got my passport and veered back. The driver sensed my urgency and was driving like a hero. Then I panicked because I didn’t have cash. By this time, the driver had pegged me as truly cray cray. But there was more to come – I realised I didn’t know where the bank was. Asking random people on the road elicited directions to various banks but not the one I wanted. Finally one bored security card told us we had passed it.

Jumped out of the auto and ran into the Premier centre, only to discover that the so-called relationship manager had forgotten the appointment. I refused to wait 45 minutes for her so someone else was deputed to serve me. Then it turned out this guy had also effed off somewhere. All the while I was sitting there seething while I heard the receptionist call people to see to me, and various other people arguing. A sharp contrast from the muted ambience of the Premier Centre in Hong Kong.

After someone finally attended to me, having the gall to ask why I was closing the account as if the events of the morning were not self-explanatory, I headed to the state bank I have now decided to bank with. The service was prompt and friendly, though there was an ironic moment when my passbook was almost taken away by another customer while the bank employee was telling me how secure everything is with biometrics.

I then headed to get my arms waxed. I went to the little place in the bazaar that I had been going to since I was 13. The same lady who had waxed my legs way back then was still there and I’ve realised there’s noone like her for threading my eyebrows. The cost of waxing my arms and getting my eyebrows done to perfection was Rs 100. I left a large tip.

I had arranged to meet Curly for lunch as I was determined to get some solo time with her before the crazy of the cousins took over. We had an awesome seafood thali at Soul Fry and caught up, before I raced home for a truncated nap.

In the evening I met my cousin at Bagel Shoppe where I had a delectable cream cheese chorizo bagel. It was proving to be quite the day of awesome food and conversation.

By evening though I was knackered. There was dinner for the entire family at my cousin’s place and I caught up with my uncles, aunts and cousins from around the world. But I was dazed and found the conversation and camaraderie forced. It made me wonder what the rest of the week was going to be like.