I don’t know what the protocols are here but i thought you all might like to eavesdrop on this Indian conversation about the tragic and yet to be concluded events in Mumbai. Nikhil is the son of an old friend and schoolmate. He’s a designer and I have a rich relationship with him via Facebook from where i clipped this conversation. At the end of this thread is an excerpt from and link to one of my favourite bloggers anywhere, Domain Maximus. Named Sidin Vadukut when not in the blogosphere he lives in Mumbai and has an amazing post on the last normal hours at the Taj because he was there interviewing an Israeli CEO approximately two hours before it all began. And personally i think the main targets of these attacks were the Israelis who were in Mumbai for trade talks…so read on.
From Facebook at 8.15 am Jamaican time:
and from Domain Maximus:
The lobby is not as busy as usual. As I wait, a suitably socialite looking woman speeds down the lobby followed by an older woman who reassures her that “It is okay to wear shorts here baby!”
I recognize no one except for a Mr. Wickmann. (My memory may not be precise on this.) I know his name because of the quaint and subtle way in which the Taj summons people waiting in the lobby. Someone walks around with a little whiteboard, with a name on it, stuck on top of a stick There are two small bells on the stick which jangle as it is carried about. Around 6:20 or so someone comes looking for a Wickmann. Wickmann is a tall, white-haired man with spectacles. The staff member escorts him away somewhere.
The publicist picks me up around 6:35 PM from the lobby and we walk down the corridor that connects the new Taj to the old one. To me that walk is the shiniest part of the Taj. The windows and floors and lights all combine to make it this shimmering tube of light. I noticed little of the walk, though, as the publicist made small talk about the global economy and recession and what our paper thought and so on. In fact the only thing I did notice was a show window. It was empty except for a bottle of Dom Perignon on a little stand in the corner. At the time I thought it was a very poor display for Dom Perignon.
We went up the lift to the sixth floor of the heritage building and then took a left, over a flight of stairs to the CEO’s suite in the corner. I was too strung up for the interview to notice the wooden barristers and ornamentation of the corridors of the old Taj.
Our interview started late but lasted for just over an hour. She spoke about her life in the industry, her weekend pastimes, the Indian market and how she once served in the Israeli army. Then it turns out that she has dual citizenzhip: Israeli-British. I quietly admire the cosmopolitanism of it all and then sip on a black coffee. She offers a few hotel chocolates and biscuits but I refuse.
We get up after I switch off the audio recorder and exchange business cards. We shake hands and then she tells me that she’s off to meet a few local business associates for dinner. We share some small-talk and then I finally leave after a short but interesting interview.
For the rest of this post click here
Photo of Taj by night by Aratib.
3 thoughts on “Mumbai on the fly”
I think the science v. security debate is misplaced. There is no reason why India can’t have both. Indeed, there is much reason why it should have both.>>I’ve been following the crisis in Mumbai on the BBC website, with alarm as the number of dead rise, and wondering who the ‘militants’ are and what the raas they want. They’ve certainly captured the attention of the world (though I suspect that many of my students, when I ask them on Monday, will have paid no attention at all).
keep your thoughts flowing. it is the time of the bloggers.>>i am not watcing all of cnn but>it looks they have had gag orders>on them, with the justifiaction that the other side is getting also the same info.>>more!
Really heart wrenching story of Mumbai!