So, you have one of those days, in a strange city, when you’ve just had about enough of hotel food and hotel beds,

when the car you hired, comes in late, then has to go fill diesel, then it’s a/c conks off, then the driver decides to change it for an ambassador, which is very romantic, but very slow, and creaks a lot, and it’s raining outside, and the driver’s shoes are not smelling that good,

and you have to run out in the rain to be on time for a meeting with a corporate honcho, and you walk into his office with your pants wet, and he is immaculate with a tie, and has a pretty girl sitting with him taking notes, and he offers you tomato soup, and talks of everything else but business, and you are meant to smile politely and be impressed,

and then, you go to a meeting at a government office, which is situated in three different blocks of the same building, and in the absence of any signboards, and the presence of receptionists, who are busy gossiping and giggling on the phone, you end up walking up all three office blocks, before you reach the right one,

which should have been new, but looks like government offices have done for the last sixty years, and already the computers are swamped by piles and piles of paper, and the peon offers you some water, which you take thoughtlessly then worry about it, and after an hour or so, the clerk says it’s better to come another day, because saheb’s conference will go on for some more time, and another clerk suggests that you go to another office, and meet someone else, who is at the other end of the town.

Finally, you decide to go to the airport an hour before you are scheduled to be there, and you still get caught in traffic, but you doze off, exhausted, and the driver wakes you up to ask you if you are going to give him more money than you had agreed on, and you get caught in an argument,

and then you go into the airport, and it’s freezing, and as usual your clothes are not right, and hungry, you eat something which is cold and doesn’t agree with you, and you just want to sleep, but can’t

and the plane too which you get into after two hours is cold, and you can’t sleep and your stomach doesn’t feel that good, and it’s a turbulent flight, and it needs to circle for 45 minutes before it can land,

and then you sit down in a rickshaw, and the guy drops the meter, and does not haggle for money, and drops you safely home, even though it’s the middle of the night, and you are alone, and the air is warm, and smelly as Mumbai always is, and you remember for a few minutes that you do love the city, and you are home, even when you will be back to cursing it tomorrow.

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