The Holy Cow! Tour
India was an adventure which was co-scripted with the Great New Yorker. I never had any ambition to go to India but the GNY called night and day, every day for two weeks. Because I needed to get some work done at the office, I contacted the Travel Corporation of India and signed up. It worked out nicely for me because the calls resumed their weekend schedule and centered around shoes, Chanel, and gossip. But on New Year's Day 2008 a year or so later, I wake up from a nap in Seat 11C and look at the window at Bombay, India as Virgin Atlantic flight # 1920 from London screeches to a halt.
First things first: I know and am quite aware that the tribal name of one of the four largest cities in India has been changed back from its Portuguese derivation, Mumbai from Bombay. Happened back in last decade of the old millennium. Problem is, people of Mumbai, er, Bombay, and all of India for that matter, haven't gotten the word yet. They refer to this place as Bombay. Good enough for me! Don't write in about this. I always run with the locals. Let them have their way, I say.
So I'm in Bombay with only the vaguest of recollections on how I got here. But I am firmly remembering my family at home back in the snowy Pacific Northwest, seeing them skiing and partying in my mind's eye, celebrating and joyous in each and every day of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Outside the plane window, it looks like it's warm. I gather my new blue pillow and my bag and trundle up the jet way, hoping there's cold water.
There's no cold water but instead lots of construction, graffiti, traffic, noise and sharply acrid hot, dusty air that makes my eyes burn dreadfully even before I step into the open air of Bombay itself. Oh good! A welcome sinus headache! How much fun will this be!
The Maharani Jabel