I’ve spent the last 10 days travelling and given it’s the first time I’ve been out of Bombay in exactly a year, this holiday was a blessing. An uncle had told me that when you look forward to coming home by the end of a good holiday, you’ve grown old. If there’s any truth to this, then I’m middle-aged. I had very little inclination to return to Bombay but I must admit, after surviving 10 days’ worth of smelly loos of varying hygiene and convenience levels, I missed my bathroom at home. As the plane landed in Mumbai and then proceeded to cool its wheels on the runway because there was a traffic jam between the runway and the parking bay, I imagined going home, to my loo. Which made me imagine the route to my house and there certainly is a comfort in knowing precisely where you’re going and the route you’ll take to get there, complete with shortcuts and landmarks.
So I get out of the airport, entirely ready to embrace Bombay as my city, my home, mine mine mine. And I see a hoarding announcing a Bryan Adams concert with the excitement of multiple exclamation marks. Then, a while later, I saw one that was for a movie titled “Tum Hi To Ho”. The advertisement informed me that “For the first time ever in Indian cinema, an actor arises from Africa.” It also had a summary of the film: “He was MAD…/… about HER!”
And finally, before turning in to my neighbourhood, I spot a blow-up of the new issue of Vogue. It has Aishwarya Rai wearing wings and is titled “The Work Wear Issue”. While it’s true that in Rai’s profession she has to frequently wear feathers (most recently for the “Kilimanjaro” song in “Robot”, if I remember correctly), I’m not sure whether wings are necessarily what working women think of when they get up in the morning and prepare for the day ahead. Yet there she is, wearing wings, on the cover of a magazine whose theme of the month is work wear.
Joy, that’s what this city is.