* Riding on potholed roads ought to qualify as a low-intensity aerobic workout. Further, riding the stretch from Hill Road to Mehboob Studio in Bandra can prove to be a better and cheaper option to the physiotherapy one was undergoing in Dubai. Honestly, my back has improved considerably in the last couple of weeks.
* ‘You’ll be surprised by the Western Express Highway,’ says Ana. There are lane markings and it’s a comfortable drive, she convinces me. She’s right. There are lanes marked out quite clearly and for the most part, seems to be a smooth ride. I can’t help noticing that my auto driver seems to drive right on the line, rather than within the lines. Oh well.
* Some things are comfortingly familiar. Like travelling by the local train. I step in and my eyes automatically scan for a seat opposite to the direction of travel – an old habit. If there’s no sitting room, I head to the window where I can stand in relative comfort. The other day I was making my way to the window when I inadvertently stepped on someone’s foot. I was awarded a generous shove which sent me flying to the window. I bit back a retort – another old habit. A dozen stations later, the same lady called out to me and offered me her seat. Are you getting off, I ask her. No, but I’m getting another seat at the next station. You’ve been standing all the way, so you must sit down. Some things are comfortingly familiar.
* My old book haunts bear a haunted look. Crossword at Bandra has a cosy coffee shop, but little else. The one under the Pedder Road flyover is no better. I mean, there are books, but I miss the days when you could spend hours browsing through the expansive sections, and reading the little recommendations hand-written by Sriram. The recommendations these days are printed, and rather yawn-inducing. Most of the books I asked for were out of stock on each of the three occasions I went there. Surprisingly, Strand Book Stall also proved disappointing. There seem to be more management and self-improvement books than quality titles. Ara tells me Landmark is the bookstore to visit. Next trip, perhaps.
* Metal detectors in malls, a swanky domestic airport, the high cost of parking (25 lakhs per year in Nariman Point!!) - it’s taken a bit of getting used to some of the changes in the city. But one new occurrence that still has me gobsmacked is that Alison can read. Two weekends ago, we were in the B.E.S.T bus, when she leaned over and peered under the seat for a few seconds. She then turned to me and waited. What, I asked, unnerved by the steady gaze. Leela, don’t be an idiot. Before I could narrow my eyes, she pointed to the poster above the window of the bus – “You’re not an idiot if you look under your seat.” It was a public service message to warn against explosive devices. Make sure you check next time, she told me before looking out of the window.
The city’s changing too fast for my liking.