For a small town girl like me, you'd think Bombay was an experience. It was.
I loved the anonymity in the trains. Pressing against unfamiliar bodies. The stale smell of sweat and the intimacy of another person's odor. You frantically lower your head and soak in the familiar smell of your own body and take deep breaths. Refuge in the known.
I loved bargaining with the shopkeepers. We both knew I was lousy at it. But the sense of importance you feel when you quote a ridiculously low price, the mock horror at his being almost robbed, the pout that is reluctant to leave and his coaxing of your petulance. All the world is a stage.
I loved standing by the waterfront, the arabesque sprays touching your salty skin. Our umbrellas flap recklessly. A scarf that's curved fashionably on slender necks tugs to let go. If alone letting go was that easy.
I loved sitting at marine drive. An old friend and past conversation. Somewhere in between we'd stopped making new memories. So this time we made an effort. Her eyes are watchful of the many bags of won deals that I have carelessly scattered around me. She is on her guard, lest someone nabs what she considers my recently acquired possessions. I don't have the heart to tell her that I never wanted most of what I bought. They'd remain in mothball scented cupboards, a memento that I'd never bother looking at.
And the stars... Oh, we never saw any.