Last night, at about 12.15am, I was standing in a corridor. My Fabindia-clad back was pressed against a red wall. An elbow belonging to a waiter dug into my stomach as said waiter tried to squeeze his way past with a tray of wannabe Bellinis. A Louis Vuitton bag moistly rubbed against my upper arm — moistly because both the bag and my right arm had received a little sprinkle of Bellini, courtesy Mr. Elbow — and on my left hamstring, I received a gentle kick from the well-heeled Bandana Tewari, who, for reasons best known to her, raises one leg randomly while cooing to companions about the opening of the Sabyasachi store. (No, I don’t know her. Incidentally, when googling Bandana Tewari, the prompt you get is for Band of Horses). This is, apparently, me enjoying the delights of “like-minded” company.
This business of collecting “like-minded” people is obsessing a number of people I know. A friend of mine recently organised a singles’ party after deciding that the singles’ groups she knew of were too “aam junta”. She wanted to create a network of, yes you guessed it, like-minded singles. Someone else I know got invited to an intimate dinner organised by a guy who said he just wanted to bring together a collection of like-minded creative guys. Another friend met a chap at the fancy cheese shop he frequents and at the end of the trip, he had 100g of Emmenthal, 100g of chèvre and a dinner invitation to the other guy’s place, just a “quiet” dinner with a few “like-minded” people.
Not that collecting people is a new thing but in Mumbai, it’s done with a certain sense of determined industry and with a concrete objective in mind. The objective could be anything: find a husband, expand your network, improve relations with a potential client, whatever. It doesn’t feel like people are making friends with you; rather you have something they want or can use. In case of some, it’s their talent. In my case, it’s my Louis Vuitton-worthy upper arm and kick-friendly leg. And then friends ask me why I hate going out.