Friday, December 25, 2009

Breakfast with Mr. L on the 24th December morning...

...implied getting up at 04:20 in the morning to undertake the trip from Sai Baba Nagar to Road "A" behind Churchgate. Sanjeev came out with me and procured a taxi near the main drag. From there we raced down the Western Highway, passing close to places like Kandivali Candolim; Goregaon Goregão; Andheri Anderim; Vile Parle Irle-Parlem; Santacruz Santa Cruz; Bandra Bandorá; and so forth. Close to the S. Gandhi national park, the early morning midst felt cool and pleasant. later on, the stench raising from the Mahim creek was the right queue to break air without molesting my driver. When we entered "A" road, I woke up some night watchmen to pinpoint my benefactor's apartment building.

Mr. L. had obviously just got out of bed when I rang his door bell at 05:50. However, with a lungi tied round his waist and his hair slightly dishevelled, he was still the coolest secretary in the Maratha Government by far. And he ushered me into his living room outlooking towards the Arabian Sea.

I showed him my permission letters and some other paperwork. At the same time, he cooperated with his wife in serving me breakfast, including papaya, tangerine, onion-tomato uttapam, toasts and tea.

Time elapsed and my train was leaving shortly from VT. Mr. L. offered to drive me to the station on his car and came down with a special light to be fixed over the hood in order to make haste. However, another resident had parked in front of his car, obstructing it. Mr. L. then suggested we should grab a taxi. Walking a little beyond his building, we reached Churchgate, where a lot of cabbies stood their ground; however, none was keen to take us to VT, a very short distance away. Finally, at the fourth refusal, Mr. L. coolly mentioned to the driver something with the words "police", "Maratha government" etc. and we were on our way. As we stepped out of the cab at VT's gate, I had exactly three minutes to locate and board the Mandovi Express before its departure.

Mr. L. rushed in front of me carrying my white linen suit for Fernando's wedding and I followed close on his heels carrying my brown suitcase full of olive oil and gifts and my black mochila with the working material and paperwork. And so it was that we found the train in platform 17 and Mr. L. made sure I was set on my way to Goa, towards a different landscape and different food.

As I sat back on the berth and took a long breath in, I reflected upon those ten days in the great city of Mumbai. According to the best interpretations, the preliminary work for my Konkan Surveying Tour could be considered a success.

Manuel de Souza, a Goan from Saliago working in the Gulf, entertained me for the rest of my trip.