miercuri, 27 mai 2009

Mumbai to Bangalore

I have one day in Mumbai. To meet a load of people and close a series of negotiations.
Mumbai is bustling with life, unlike Delhi. The streets are actually walkable, there are sidewalks, new buildings, old buildings, ancient cars, the latest Mercedes model ...and then the slums that make me shiver...

I am falling in love with Mumbai, with the relaxed look on people's faces, with the warm sun caressing the walls of the office and with the smell of incense that brightens up the new day.
I can now distinguish the dialects. PJ speaks differently from KP, I can tell from the tone and the length of the words. I understand little, but the language is lovely when spoken by people I instinctively click into place with.
Contextually, I gather that "ThIka" means "precisely", or "correct". I think to myself that I am ignorant not to have bought a dictionary before leaving for India, then I forgive myself (I normally do...) and promise to buy one on the return voyage.

During the day I meet impressive people and the ideas flow naturally, as I find things in common with such a distant culture. I take my time in listening...this is what enriches me the most.

We leave for the airport pretty early (3 and 1/2 h before the flight to Bangalore is scheduled), but the traffic is so terrible that panic starts to install and I am realizing we might not be able to make it in time.

The flight leaves 5 minutes before we arrive at the check in, so there is nothing better to do then do some damage control.

We cool off in a matter of minutes, realize that this is the actual silver lining and we spend together the only time when we would not be talking business, that is around 3 hours of sheer laughter and genuine bonding spiced with details on how (NOT) to be "almighty".

These 3h make this trip worth the while, and i feel I am really regretting the fact that I have to part with this feeling of normality that the city (and the company I have) induce.

We have a flight at 1.30 am and we plan to sleep on the plane to save some time. Air India doesn't impress the critical traveler in me, but at 1.30 in the morning...all I'd ask for is some quiet time...

The arrival in Bangalore at 3 am is terrible..My body is used to sleep deprivation for a few days now...but this night seemed an abuse. We have 3 more hours to sleep before the next meetings, and I do make the most of this time:).

Bangalore by day is the home of high tech city, very different from what I had seen of India in precedence. Gardens and green spaces surround the office buildings and the weather is better than in Mumbai. People nod the wrong way.... and, at some point, I have the urge to tell PJ that, but I refrain...as this is another cultural pattern that I simply need to learn to interpret:)
I remember I wanted to buy Rahman's album and I realize there is no place I can find it in, just like that...
However, I am taken for a shopping spree in Fabindia, a woman's paradise, unless she goes there accompanied by 3 men :))

My Bangalore day is coming to an end, as I move on to another white night, on the plane that will take me to Singapore, a place where I'll be closer to "home" in terms of what I am used to.

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