Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bombay and the Summer Boredom

2 weeks ago we took Son to delight, terrorize and empty the pockets of his grandparents in Bombay, The InLaws. The previous time visited there, Son was 6 months old, my father died the day I landed in India and I got laid off the day I came back from India. Suffice it to say that it made for a very peculiar association I had with the city. In addition, due to the poor child’s jet leg and the fact that I was still nursing, we did not really get out much to see the city and as a result, my memories of it were rather gloomy.

I was entranced with Bombay this time around. This is one modern, CLEAN (ok, maybe I have been in Dhaka  a little too long and my cleanliness yardstick has been severely skewed) , happening city.
The first day I decided that I need some TLC after receiving the news of our next assignment upon landing in India and headed over to an upscale and pricey French hair salon. I spent almost 5 hours there pampering (well reflected in the final bill), reading the Indian versions of People magazine (it is amazing how complicated the love lives of cricket players are in India) and sipping endless cups of green tea. In the end, after my hair was washed for the 17th time, the hot water stopped and so they had to bring in buckets of water from somewhere else to finish. To his credit, the hair dresser never lost heart. I came out of the salon looking fabulous in my blown-out, highlighted, cut hair and French manicure. Exactly 4 minutes later, the entire ensemble went to hell when a torrential rain poured over Bombay and the humidity in car made me look like the usual distressed poodle. At least it was a poodle with highlights.

We went out to dinner twice in 4 days, and found 2 fab restaurants with amazing food, exorbitantly expensive alcohol and somewhat good service. The second restaurant happened to be all the rage in the area we went, which is something we did not know – we just stumbled upon it while looking desperately for a place to eat late in the evening. I have never seen so many women dressed in miniscule tight dresses, platform heels the height of which will make Kim Kardashian green with envy, and enough bling to pay for Bangladesh’s national debt. Next to them were the inevitable gaggle of young men in muscle shirts, muscles indeed bulging from everywhere, various forms of goaties and moustaches and their fashionable permutations, as well as strikingly pointy shoes and tight pants. The picture was completed by several tables filled with matronly women in striking (read: screaming colors and shapes) sarees out of which their abdomens and love handles were generously pouring out, sitting next to even more matronly men sipping vodka and smoking enormous cigars. It was classy. The food was, however, exquisite! Once we finished dining, generously washing down the inventive Italian cuisine with a bottle of fabulous white Indian wine, the restaurant turned into a club, spinning some excellent Indian R&B and techno. Having promised the InLaws that we would be back before 12 (it was pushing 12.30 already) we had to leave with a sigh.

Son was spoiled rotten as usual and took his grandpa to the cleaners. Twice he dragged the InLaws to the toy stores (they obliged with delight) and asked them to buy him a myriad of planes, trains and automobiles, 4 boxes of crayons (“Why did you want all 4?,” asked I; “Because I don’t know!,” answered Son), 26 coloring books, a ball, a giant stuffed Doberman and a smaller stuffed tiger. The damn Doberman was so realistic that it almost gave me a heart attack one night when I went in to check on Son and the creepy toy was sitting quietly in front of his bed, looking at me menacingly in the dim light of the Bombay night. We left the city sans the majestic creatures – the thought of me running around Bombay airport carrying a massive, disturbingly realistic Doberman under my arm just did not sound like an awesome idea.

Dhaka, on the other hand, is bizarrely quiet. Many expats and Bangladeshi party animals have left the city in search of other summer delights elsewhere in the world and the usual party scene is sadly dead. We just sit and watch the rain fall. Which it does a lot. 'Tis the season...


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. It was a real pleasure to walk my grandson around the market and allow him to empty my packets. Eagerly waiting for the next time to have the pleasure!Thanks for the opportunity you gave us to indulge with our grandson, by you and my son being away for most of the prime day time!

  3. In the second paragraph I think you mean "skewed" not "eschewed." Otherwise, good stuff!