Monday, August 22, 2011
1.oopm is a great time to fly out of Bombay and, fortunately, it wasn't pouring as I made my way by car to Sahar airport past pot-breaking Govinda revellers out to make a killing on Krishna's big day.
Good flight on Jet Airways--really helpful, very pleasant cabin crew, edible food although the best part was the Baskin Robbin's Honey Nut Crunch ice-cream! And I saw two movies: The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt and Just Go With It--with Jennifer Anniston and Adam Sandler.
Good touchdown at Heathrow under dry skies. Spied the Thames Barrier, Millennium Dome, Canary Wharf and London Eye although I was in an aisle seat! The Immigration queue snaked along for a whole boring hour although my time at the counter took precisely 10 seconds!
What's it about me, cabbies and Heathrow arrivals? We never seem to connect at first shot. Finding my driver always takes a call...which means borrowing someone's cell phone...and a few minutes later spying an equally confused driver with a placard in his hand that bears my name.
Lovely drive through Central London. Always love it when they take Cromwell Road because then I get to pass through some of my favorite London architecture--The Natural History Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Harrod's. Around the statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus and then we were in the Theater District and on High Holborn. Such a strong sense of deja-vu made me forget I had single-handedly raised the stock value of Kleenex by the time I said goodbye to my Mum and Dad in Bombay.
And then, I was ringing the buzzer on my former building and entering the lobby and riding the elevator (with all the rocks of India weighing down my baggage) and walking right past my flat. And then, what a homecoming from my former neighbors Tim and Barbara! A real, old-fashioned dinner party was in progress in their flat, much to my astonishment. Well, there was nothing else I could do but go in for a swift shower and come out looking halfway decent to face a bunch of female mathematicians--Barbara's classmates from her college days in Cambridge. And what a brilliant bunch they were too--a mechanical engineer, an actuary, a lawyer and a fourth bright person who described herself modestly as "nothing really".
And when Tim cooks, a feast follows. This time it was an authentic English roast dinner--a splendid cut of beef brought in resplendently under an old-fashioned silver dome (I don't even know the word for the sort of flourish you would expect at Simpson's-in-the-Strand or some such legendary place). Needless to say, there were all the trimmings--Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes and sides of carrots and cabbage with just a hint of panceta. And as if this evidence of culinary genius were inadequate, along came the puddings (dessert to us Yanks)--Tim's Brown Bread Ice-Cream hiding a delicious secret inside--Strawberry Sorbet! And if one pudding is good, two can only be better...so along came the Lemon Tart and very elegant Champagne Raspberries. And then the cheese board and the chocolates with "Crunchies" (chocolate-covered honeycomb) and coffee. The goodies just kept on coming! After spending a whole day eating airline meals, you can quite understand that I was in Seventh Heaven!
I fell asleep thinking (as I have done countless times before), how lucky I was to have been situated near such great guys when NYU decided to post me to London two years ago.
I am so excited to be back in London...and now may the good times roll.