The weather is very pleasant, the last of the global big wigs left by Mid December (Obama, Sarkozy, Wen Jiao Bao), and so Mumbai appears to be squeezing all of its social events into the December to end February period, before the weather turns hot again.
The Bombay Marathon was run three weeks ago. Some Kenyan or Ethiopian must have won, but honestly, do we care? Life’s one big mela, a fair, to be used to dance, shake your wares and pitch your product. And so the most important part of the Bombay Marathon is the Dream Run, which follows the actual marathon. A six kilometre congested walk, it’s yet another occassion for Indians to band together and sloganeer under the umbrella of their employer (“SBI Mutual Fund! SBI Mutual Fund! SBI Mutual Fund!”, never a more emotive rallying cry was heard at the onset of a public event, a call if ever there was one to rid the world of its social ills), or their NGO of choice.
So a few NGOs and public interest groups made it in too: Without a hint of irony, The Maharashtra Dyslexic Society, (I’m guessing they got someone else to write up their posters), Go Green and Toys for Tots.
Kumud and I saw a hilarious bit of stand up comedy, by Vir Das (“I used to live in the U.S. but got tired of being called Mr Weird Ass”). A two hour comic one - man review of Indian history of the past few hundred years.
Jet Airways, one of the country’s leading private airlines, apparently celebrates crews who achieve “no bell flights”, flights during which the crew has been so pro active in delivering service that no passenger felt the urge to reach up and press the button calling for assistance from the cabin crew.
Achieving a “no bell”, or even a “few bell” flight in India has to be next to impossible. I suspect that Indians get onto a flight thinking in advance what it is that they could ask for. They plunk down onto a seat, reach up to press the assist button, adopt a pained expression and say “waater must be there?”. There’s no waiting for take off, for the fasten seat belt signs to come off, none of that nonsense.
In response cabin crews patrol the air craft cabin with trays of water before take off. After take off full meals are served, breakfast, lunch or dinner, with a choice of vegetarian or non vegetarian dishes.
“Service is very poor nowadays”, one of my co - passengers complained to me before take off. He had been waiting three minutes for his bottle of water.
What he needs is a Newark to LAX flight on a US carrier, seated in 30E. That’ll cure him.
Btw, the banner photo was taken from our holiday home outside of San Gimignano at 6.20 am. What light! It lasted all of five minutes.