Re-grounded to my roots

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Just got back from 12 days in India, and boy were they a great 12 days. Having not been home to India in 3 years, this visit I realised what I was missing. I took glory in watching my driver have a haircut at Raju’s 2mx3m barber shop, in watching the panwala across the road oiling his hair with his chuna hands in between making pan for his customers, in eating on the streets and being faced by a cow sniffing around to see if there is anything in my plate for him.

We went to India to attend my cousins wedding. 8 days of family, life stories, scooters, poojas, dupattas, dancing, singing, parathas and kulfi has left me 2 kilos heavier but so fresh and rejuvanated, I’m surprised. Is it just because I have’nt been to India in a while? or having lived in Dubai for 8 years, any whiff of culture and reality is just overwhelming? I dont know.

The only thing I could have done without were the hole in the ground toilets that are slightly difficult to use with a saree on! 🙂

As is obvious, 8 days of the wedding were in a very small village, so some time in the city was mandatory for an all round, all awakening trip. My last 4 days were in Mumbai where I met my close friends, ate the best food, went to the general post office (?), went to the best bars, checked out the salsa scene, danced to remixes of Kajra Re and drank Kingfisher beer! Mumbai knows how to have fun, I can’t wait to go back.

You must have realised that when you land in another country and step off the aircraft, the first thing that alerts you to where you are is the smell of the air. The smell of Mumbai is very distinct: sea breeze, mud and humidity mixed with pollution from the traffic and the slums. These smells get accentuated by visuals as you walk into the airport. The havaldar (police man) in his khaki uniform with a danda (wooden stick) in his hand, the coolies running around to help you with your bags and then the taxi driver tying your 7 bags onto the top of his car and smoking a quick bidi before he makes his 250 rupees he has been waiting for, for the last 18 hours. He still manages a smile and points out landmarks in the city as he takes us home.


I landed in Dubai last night and smelt nothing but plastic mixed with expensive perfume.

Oh well, I guess thats just the way it is.

4 responses to “Re-grounded to my roots”

  1. Think u know who it is... Avatar
    Think u know who it is…

    Actually u get the smell of that Dettol/Phenol cleaning at Mumbai airport. It strikes you as soon as you land. That and the mosquitoes hovering around that made me yawn with my mouth closed for the week that I was in Mumbai! I still remember the smell and my stupidity at going to the immigration counter and telling the lady (much to her dislike) – Assalam Walekum. And she looked at me said – Wat re…nah kiddin! Had to throw that in there somehow 😉 she said – Arre Dubay se aya na? Then realizing that I should be sayin Namaste – the max extent of my Hindi. Which brings me to another thing…1 week of everyone ending sentences with NA or Yaar. Luckily Taj President did not have any ground toilets. God knows how I would deal with that!!

    Anyways, welcome back! Back to Work! and Happy B’day in advance!

  2. Abha Avatar

    hahaha! I thought of you on the flight on my way back actually because I was sat next to a lady who smelt very strongly of pickle 🙂 I laughed to myself for atleast a few minutes!

    Guess I should’nt be speaking to you for a while, I’m very Indianised at the moment yaar 🙂

    And arre, lose the anonyimity na! atleast get yourself an alias so you dont have to think of an identifing sentence each time

  3. Muster Avatar

    I shall call myself MUSTER…in keepin with the Dubai Tennis Open that is comin up….that way you’ll know who it is…..although quite honestly….I believe u know who it is as soon as u read a few lines……I’m a dead give-away….but here’s to MUSTER from now on……

  4. Abha Avatar

    Yes you are a dead give-away, now you are a dead give-away with a name other than yours 🙂

    I should have guessed Muster. If you would have asked me to give you a nick, thats what I would have chosen too 🙂

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