Friday, August 25, 2006

Home sweet home away from home

I’m sitting at the dining room table at Anupam’s house. He and his wife Kanika are taking a quick post-breakfast nap. We didn’t get in until around 2:30 am last night. Anupam has high speed internet, but Blogger is being a real pain in the ass about posting pics so I'll only get to put one or two up for now.

I had a busy day yesterday with work, and when I was done I returned to my hotel to collect my luggage. Anupam came by that evening to collect me. I was very happy to see he drives a Suzuki Maruti Wagoner, a truck/car with good trunk space. My belongings are getting increasingly heavy.

It’s been great to be with them on so many levels. For four weeks I’ve been in business mode. I’ve had nice conversations with people I’ve met at some of the companies, and had some nice chats with locals. But to hang out with people you know, swap stories over beers and laugh out loud at the inanities of life feels great. We started the evening by going to a bar in Colaba and catching up over a few beers and starter dishes. Anupam is doing very well. His company is doing consulting work for HP in Bangalore. Kanika just landed a very exclusive job in the head office at Tata Group, India’s largest company, through a program where they train people to become company leaders.

From there we went to Bademiya, which translates into big brother, a street stall that has been around for years and is probably the most famour eatery in Mumbai, even with all the top-notch restaurants. It’s a drive in. You park your car, and just like in the old A&W days, a waiter takes your order and brings the meal to your car. We snacked out of the back of his vehicle and watched the bustling city street around us.

Anupam lives in a district of Mumbai near where all the famous Bollywood stars call home. It’s a two-bedroom apartment on the first floor. My bed is huge, at least a king size, if not wider. This morning there have been a steady stream of people at the front door. A lady came to clean the house. On most days a guy comes to cook breakfast. The laundry people came to collect clothes. I gave them my jacket to press because I have an important meeting on Monday in Delhi. You can get anything and everything delivered right to your home here. Feel like renting a movie? They deliver. Run out of toothpaste? They deliver. Need bread? They deliver.

In a bit we’re going to head back downtown. I have to pick up my Air India ticket to Shanghai. Then we’re going to visit some sights.

As an aside I love reading local papers when I travel. The options in China were limited, of course. But there are many English language papers here in India. Every day’s paper is engaging. You just can’t get drama, crime, gossip and political stories like these in Canada. Here’s a synopsis of some of the stories from yesterday’s Times of India:

-a bull in a market broke lose and gored a traffic cop before an army of firefighters could subdue the beast
-politicians debating in parliament broke into a melee after one MP accused another’s “men” of being involved in a rape. The accompanying sketch showed one politicians hurtling a speaker box at another MP’s head
-a woman set herself on fire after police and city officials showed up at her front door to enforce an eviction notice
-a leading industrialist was arrested for supplying bullet proof cars and flack jackets to organized criminals
-dowry deaths are on the rise in India. A court called them a “national shame” after convicting two men who poisoned the wife of one of them because she didn’t bring enough of a dowry to the marriage
-a famous millionaire “bar dancer” faces charges after she assaulted her body guard when he asked for his pay

Pics will come...


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