Was bumper to bumper on the way home today and bumped into a car in front of me when they slammed their breaks in response to someone in front of them who slammed his breaks.
It was in front of the JJ flyover with a late monsoon shower breaking loose over us. The policeman tried to get us to patch up ("samjhauta kar leejiye", come to an understanding), but I was at fault and the driver of the Government of India vehicle couldn't afford to have the cost deducted from his salary.
His passenger, a South Indian lady called Mrs. Shankar, berated me for driving too close to them. Try keeping three seconds' distance from the other car in Bombay traffic.
We exchanged insurance details, bumped iPhones so to speak, and moved on, but not after I had apologized and she had rolled her head.
The entire city lives bumper to bumper and when stuck in traffic I am amazed if not exactly fascinated by the lives of people that I observe on the street. Increasingly I turn away, which is as sure an indication as any that I am turning into a Mumbaikar, a Bombayite, seemingly impervious to the poverty around him. And yet I am amazed when I see women and children sitting under a tree or a lamp post, combing their hair as they would when living under a roof, and laughing. The toddlers trying to attract their mothers' attention and the mothers responding as mothers typically do, by smiling and laughing back. How do you smile and laugh when you're living under a tree, in what would appear to be inhuman conditions? Or is there something essential about being human that comes to the fore when your life is stripped of its
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.