Good morning, Bangalore!
At the cost of sounding like (a better-looking version) of the Terminator… I’m back! As my plane flew over the muggy skyline of Mumbai, I marvelled at how all big cities look alike. Imposing skyscrapers that rise into the clouds, and cars that look like tiny ants scurry on arterial roadways, rushing to reach their destinations. Once in a while, one can catch a familiar sight or landmark, and my heart always does a little flutter of recognition. Then, there is the vast expanse of the sea, and I know that as soon as I lose sight of it, the finality of returning to my land-locked hometown will finally sink in. Anyone who straddles two cities and calls them both home, will know what I feel.
Parting was sweet sorrow, and leaving behind family and friends is always tough. Usually, my trips are short work-related ones, but this time I spent three weeks there on a work-cum-holiday trip. It was fun meeting people I knew in Bangalore who have now re-located to the ‘ultimate city’. My social life was full and varied, what with catching up with old friends and discovering new ones.
There is a strong hierarchal order in the city. The social scene is divided into aspiring television stars, Bollywood biggies and star-struck industrialists (now, I don’t have to spell their names out, do I?) and the crème-de-la crème comprising old families, old money, old culture and old sophistication, who one rarely gets to see. There is another sub-group of writers, artists and intellectuals who dust their mothballs off when there are literary and cultural events, or a serious breach in the interpretation of the Constitution. The rest of the teeming millions live, work and go about their business in a cheery fashion, adapting and re-inventing themselves indigenously and cheerily… always loving their city with a sense of belonging which is almost fierce.
It’s always nice to know that one is relevant even outside one’s comfort zone. For an inherently gregarious person like me, meeting new people and interacting with them is almost natural! I thrive among differing viewpoints, ideas and eccentricities. Sometimes I plunge head long into conversations and at other times I like to play the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’. People-watching can be so much fun!
I usually don’t respond to social media requests for conversations, and I delete them without a second glance. They abound with sleazeballs requesting me to ‘make franndship’, or the more gutsy variety compliment me, expecting me to swoon at their bad grammar and syntax, (halo bootiful and chubby chiiks being their most favourite terms of endearment). I don’t know what prompted me to open one request (perhaps the grammar was right), and it was a message from the PR of Glenfiddich from Delhi, who was desperately trying to get in touch with me to attend their event at the swish ‘The A’ in Mumbai. To cut a long story short, I did attend their event, aptly called Glenfiddich Elixir’s Sensorial Experiments. Whew! Though I prefer my single malts as they are, I must say their host of different Elixirs did add a ‘sensorial’ touch! Their brand ambassador, the charming Angad Gandhi, made my day by saying he had ‘never met anyone like me’… Sensorial!
I was invited to ITC Maratha for the unmasking of their Millennial Culinary Oyster (double whew!), the Peshwa Pavilion. Needless to say, the fabulous buffet, the never-ending flutes of champagne, and their wicked sweet lime and gin cocktails made sure we slept in a utopian food and drink coma for the next two days. Dear friends, GM Zubin Songadwala and his lovely wife, Monisha, made sure we were watered and fed, and good friends from Bangalore, Virender and Sheeba Razdan, made sure we were in ‘high’ spirits.
Mumbai ‘meri jaan’… till next time, ciao.
writer, actor and funny girl