Kumud and I were driving up Hughes Road yesterday afternoon when, just across from the Porsche dealership, a brown cow and her calf came galloping towards us. I deftly swerved to the right and avoided a collision. It was strange to see a galloping cow and her calf here, on Hughes Road. It would have been much more normal in Thane, Dadar or even Parel. A woman in a sari was chasing the cows down the street, probably on her way to Babulnath Temple, round the corner from Hughes Road. People chase cows in any city around the world right? I've seen pictures of people running behind bulls in Spain, or is it from them?
So much of what we do in India is commonplace around the world, or at least we like to think so. Mira said to a friend in school the other day that she had become so Indianized, given the amount she uses the head wobble. Her friend gave her a puzzled look, was silent for a few seconds, and then said in a high pitched voice, "but everyone uses the head wobble na?". "No", replied Mira with a benign smile, "they don't. It's only us." Her friend was not about to give up. "Ya, nodding means yes, shaking means no and wobbling means ok?"
Back to Hughes Road. We were on our way to Priyadarshini Park (PDP for the initiated) to attend the tail end of Mira and Tarini's sports day. The 1500 metres was about to begin. One of the teachers, who had obviously missed her calling as an events reporter for the BBC, commented on the race in clipped and measured tones. "And we're off to a wonderful start, Mr. Declan leading the pack, come on boys, try to keep up. Water bearers, please make sure the runners get a glass of water. Mr. Declan CERTAINLY does not appear to need any water". The tall Australian Mr. Declan inciting just the slightest hint of breathlessness in the commentator.
It was Makar Sakranthi last Monday, the 14th of January, the date Hindus mark as the move of the sun from the Southern to the Northern Hemisphere. Besides various different types of prayers in North and South India (where it's called Pongal) the day is marked by the flying of kites. As I drove to the airport on Monday for a flight to Delhi, the sky was filled with kites. One day of kite flying frenzy across an entire country. Amazing.
The Mumbai Marathon is being run today. More than 350,000 participants. The effect of a marathon on a city is great, for months people have been running along Marine Drive, getting ready. We'll get there, like people across the world. Phit phit, physically phit.
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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.