Yesterday was nice. My sister was visiting and after two hectic days of shopping, we decided to spend the day just walking my favourite paths in townside. The cab dropped us off at the Trident end of Marine Drive where tons of news vans were parked. I realized that Trident was opening again. Some members of the public were already gathered to gawk. TV channels must have begun to hysterically scream about how Mumbai was back in business. We got away from all of that and began to walk among the standard Sunday morning crowd - old people power walking, marathoners practicing their runs, young couples shyly sitting on the parapet walls and holding hand. I had wanted to show my sis Marine Drive on a Sunday morning and it was heartening not to see the emptiness I had seen the weekend after the blasts.
She was pretty impressed anyway. And in one of those rare moments when we discuss the state of the world, she confessed that seeing Mumbai finally gave her hope that India could some day be like a developed country. ‘You mean, like the broad roads or the cool looking bus stops in Marine Drive?’, I asked, a little taken aback I must confess. After all, townside in Mumbai is hardly representative of the progress of the rest of the nation. ‘No. Those markers on Marine Drive that says how many kms you have walked. I never thought that we would actually spend on something that is a convenience, not an essential’. It made sense in someway. I guess our thinking has changed.
From there we went to Leopald for breakfast. Sis tucked in the yummy Akuri and Strawberry lassi and in the middle of it managed to roll her eyes at a couple of people who looked like hookers and I excitedly whispered how the area attracted backpackers, and consequently the trinket sellers, drug peddlers and also everyone else catering to this populace. Though from there, I restored respectability to the place by taking her to Good Earth, Adamjis and Titan, past all the branded stuff stores. It was not until a friend pointed out later did I realize that we had not thought of spotting the bullets which are still rumoured to be embedded in Leopald.
After walking the streets and randomly buying stuff, it was time to wind up with a mandatory photo shoot in front of the Gateway of India and Taj with pigeons flying about you. Unfortunately, entry to Gateway was through one of those metal detector gateways in a single file. My sister refused to join the rush of people surging through this pathway and could not get why there were so many people out on a Sunday noon forming a huge crowd.
I thought nonchalantly ‘Yeah, that’s Mumbai’