Mumbai – We used to visit it, in order to experience it – understand what a big city was all about, marvel at the skyscrapers and of course, the sea. We were the typical small-towners who would travel all the way from Pune, simply to ogle Mumbai. I was fascinated by Mumbai then and that fascination remains to this day. The Mumbai taxi wallahs (“chor to woh dilli walleh hote hai*, humare paas ghuma ghumake lene ke liye time nahi hai”), the street vendors who assess your bargaining skills with one withering glance (“poona se aaye ho?”), the havaldars and the immigration officers at the airport who are delighted to be spoken to in Marathi and establish an immediate rapport, the impossibly good-looking girls, the celebrities, that ‘glint’ in everyone’s eye – a great place to people watch.

And then there is London. The history oozing through each and every corner – this is the place where Charlie Chaplin used to dine, this is the place where Princess Diana used to get her gowns designed, this is the place where beheadings took place, this is the place where Charles Dickens lived and other fascinating details on every street. The beauty is
only secondary.

And just like we used to visit Mumbai to look at the skyscrapers, we now visit London to look at the Christmas lights. Small towners travelling to the big city to gawk

*[apologies to all dilli wallahs, the taxi-wallah’s words not mine]


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