• Either Mumbai has changed or I have changed, or both. But things seem to have settled down. The infrastructure seems better. The roads are less pothole ridden if not pothole free. The pavements are walkable on. Granted I basically stayed in my neck of the woods, Bandra, except for the one rogue trip to Mumbai Central via a local train to pick up MinCat, but that’s my impression.
• Things are expensive but I have wrapped my head around it. Also the dollar is in my favour.
• Holi is not as crazy as it used to be, again in Bandra. I did read the now expected report about a woman hit in the eye while commuting to work by train. But I was not pelted with balloons while walking on the streets even the day before Holi, which is a change.
• The highway to the airport blew me away. Admittedly, it was Holi and so traffic was probably lighter than it might otherwise have been. But 15 minutes from Bandra to the airport is insane. In a good way.
• The airport itself is gorgeous. I noticed this on the way in where there are these beautiful installations showcasing the cultural diversity of Maharashtra, but it’s on the way out that you really get a sense of it. The building is beautiful, and so different from typical airport architecture and inside are all these striking columns and lovely chandeliers. Only problem is the mosquitoes, which are present even inside. I was complaining about this when I came in and my uncle jokingly advised me to carry one of those electric racquets. So imagine the hilarity when on my way out of Mumbai, at Immigration, one of the officers stood up and started swatting the mosquitoes with exactly such a racquet. Although our queue broke into laughter, mosquitoes are not funny as I know too well, having nearly died of malaria.
• As always, I come away from Mumbai feeling fuzzy about the warmth. It’s not just the people I run into who know me, and who often greet me with “How are you, darling?” as if I’m still five years old. It’s even the regular shopkeepers, waiters, people on the street, etc. Maybe this is because I am obviously priviledged looking and reek of money. But I see these same courtesies extended to everyone. Probably not at rush hour on a local train. But almost everywhere else.
• I did not get the slightest creepiness from anyone on the street no matter how I was dressed. It may be the extra kilos, though I must say I still cut a vaguely slim figure in India. But I did not warrant a second glance from the men on the streets and for that, I am truly glad.
It makes me feel a tad better about moving back to India someday.