Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mumbai at last: 28th February 2013

Over six days have passed since I landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai at a few minutes before 8:00 A.M. on Friday 22nd February 2013. This is my third visit to Mumbai since I left to work for the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in November 2011. I have attempted to discuss many facets of my life there in the last 14-15 odd months in this blog.

My first vacation was in May 2012, when I came to Mumbai for about 25 days; during that visit, I also went for an internal holiday to Sikkim and Darjeeling with my family. The second time I came here was in October. My father had just passed away, and I came to Mumbai for about a week to meet my mother and other members of our families to condole my father's death.

This is to be my longest holiday - 35 + days. Also, no long internal holidays are planned this time as Hannah's exams are getting over only a few days before the end of my vacation here. I do plan to meet relatives and friends, of course, and this should take up a fair amount of time.

My first six days have been a bit hectic, as I have been busy running here and there for several domestic matters. I purchased a second-hand Chevrolet Beat as Hannah, my younger daughter, plans to use it to drive herself and/or the family in the days to come.

In other news, I must say that I am surprised that I am actually missing my friends in Saudi Arabia. The first time, I did not, as my ties with them were not as strong at that time. The second time was a very brief visit to meet my family at the time of my father's demise. This time around, there are no hard and fast rules, no serious issues of engagement and I am free to relax and to do what I please in the next month or so that I am going to be here.

After coming to Mumbai, I have begun to go to the Mazgaon Garden for the morning walks. So far, the progress has been fair. My family and I went to see a movie and ate out the same evening at Ling's Pavilion, the restaurant behind the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower near the Gateway of India. The food was delectable, but the Mongolian chicken preparation was really, really HOT. We had to have it between sips of water.  For those not familiar with this Chinese eatery, it has a lovely milieu and interiors, a running stream with large fish in it under one's feet, a multi-level seating arrangement and great food. To reach this place, one has to enter the Cafe Mondegar Lane. The restaurant entrance is tastefully made, and eating within is a pleasure too.

Which movie did we see? Oh yes, we saw the movie Kai Po Che (the guttural cry made by kite enthusiasts in Gujarat when they manage to cut and set free another flyer's kite ... it literally means "Have cut it!"). This movie is adapted from Chetan Bhagat's "The Three Mistakes of My Life". Rating: 4 stars.

I performed Hajj last October, so I am also distributing a "hadiyah" a token gift of dates, zam zam, and a small memento to all my relatives and close friends. In connection with that, I have been busy too, making the parcels and then going to each one's place to hand these over with respect and love. 

Will continue to update my experiences in the days and weeks to come ... 

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