I take the bus to Crawford market, but as it’s sunday everything is closed. I wander through the muslim quarters and the call for the midday prayers fills the streets. Children have fun on a merry-go-round, and ride wooden horses named Mumbai, Delhi. Culcata, and so-on. The maidans are filled with cricket players and families lingering around on the vaste green lawns. I walk back to Fort, the large avenues are rather empty compared to Bombay norms. A nescafe milkshake in the Yoko restaurant is a tasty refreshment. I keep it modest, while families gather here for the sunday brunch.
Walking by the Bombay store this seems to be one of the only open spots. The larger shops, american model, are all open on sunday. The new hype are ayurveda beauty products in a trendy package. It’s tempting. It’s a relief to be able to smell and watch and try without vendors on your back. The selection is good quality, the price is similar.
Walking towards Cinema Regal I have a tasty veg. toasted sandwich at a streetstall named Sanjay’s. It’s a discovery: grilled toasts filled with vegetables and topped with spices and ketchup. Yummie.
Under the arches of Dr. Naoroji Road streetstalls sell hairdryers and vibrators in all sizes. I thought Indians were puritans?
Dinner at Basilico Cafe, Apollo Bunder Road. This is the new hype: some kind of NY deli, filled with NRI (non resident Indians) coming from the States or the Emirates. Rich people, their cellphones on the tables and with an air of desinterest over their faces. Most of them, especially the young boys, are fat. The good american hamburger life. Boursin cheese is proudly presented in the cooler section.
The Hindustan Times wrote that a mob of eighty men attacked and nearly raped two twenty year old girls on new years’ night in the Juhu neighborhood. The girls came out of an expensive hotel, an exclusive party with Bollywood filmstars, and were apparently tipsy. They shouted back to the men teasing them. They got attacked. The police was not too fast to help.
When you see the behaviour of these NRI (the girls both lived in California), their arrogant way of acting and wandering around, and at the other side the tense situation of the nationalist Hindus fighting for ‘their Indian rights’, you’re not surprised that something like this can happen. No claim was made at the policestation, and the girls returned the next day to the States.
This made me think of the Moroccon emigrants/imigrants last summer in Marrakesh. There’s always this necessity for a show-off: ‘see how I made it abroad, and my big car and my foreign accent put me a step higher in the homeland hierarchy.’