What I've been doing: I did it, just so you know. The airport store, I am happy to inform you, has been operational for the last fortnight now and is doing spectacularly well. So, if you're traveling out of Bombay via anything but Kingfisher, Kingfisher Red, and Indian Airlines, do check out the store. And let me know what you think please.
I'm also just back from approximately 20 days of almost constant travelling - Madras, Bombay, Ahmedabad, Madras. As always, work was insane but a number of the evenings were full of cheatery at various games. The young son of the dear friend I stay with in Madras is an absolute delight and is probably the only person on earth who can get away with calling me all kinds of pet names. My mother's very happy that I bond with him so. It gives her great hope for grandkids, don't you know.
What I’ve been eating: Meen kozhambu (Chettinad Fish Curry) and some rather awesome prawns with utthapam at the home of the aforementioned friend. There was also some rather good grilled red snapper in Mahabalipuram and awesome French fries to go with it. It is rather surprising how few vegetables I eat in Madras. I think I eat more meat in Madras than I do in Goa! Chicken/prawn biryani, idlis and prawns, fish curry and rice, uthapam and fish curry, all kinds of kababs. No fruit either unless you're counting two sitaphals.
What I’ve been reading: Leaving India by Minal Hajratwala, the new release from Tranquebar Press. When Kulbushan met Stockli, an Indo-Swiss graphic novel collaboration from Harper Collins India. Chai, Chai, also from Tranquebar Press, a lovely travelogue of the places in India that you pass but don't get off at. Dragon Horse by Peter Ward, a young adult fantasy set in ancient China. The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi, forthcoming from Random House UK, that I have been commanded to give a super-quick review for by the boss.
I'm particularly interested in Leaving India though because the author's tracing and documenting the migration of her family from Gujarat to five different continents and in a larger sense, she's tracing the roots and motivations of the Indian/Gujarati diaspora. You must check out the Indian edition - Tranquebar's done a *way* cooler job on the cover than Messers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the US.
What I’ve been listening to: Some very awesome stuff off the ipod of the super-awesome boss. Are we not horses by Rock Plaza Central, Vampire Weekend, Okkervil River and about ten others that I don't remember now. Pearl Jam's Back Spacer. Assorted Regina Spektor. Lots of Tori Amos, Nick Cave, and Love Aaj Kal (you can put down the eyebrows now) - comfort music, really.
What I've been thinking: The returns room at the store is a lonely, lonely place and DAMN, I miss being in an office full of people. What I'd not give to be around the super-awesome bosses and my colleagues in Madras. What I'd not give for the the delicious, enveloping feeling of being part of a team that works together... well, at least for the largest part. I miss the laughter the most. They're always laughing in Madras, you know. It might be in a language that I don't understand but there is always an undulating, omnipresent laughter around the office. It's not that the store isn't a team but... they're not in the way that my merchandising colleagues are. And I fear that they never will be.
What I’ll be doing next: Trying to keep my head above the water mainly. The elder sibling's art partner, a sister of the heart, is getting married and I'm quite, quite excited because we're hosting the mehendi for her next Sunday. That I might be running to Ahmedabad for the next few days is a very real possibility and I'm really hoping that it doesn't work out. I'm exhausted in a way that I cannot even fully fathom. All I want from my life is to curl up in a cold room in Pune/Goa and read my life away. If only wishes were horses...
Post format taken off Minal Hajratwala's blog.