Monday, December 01, 2008
MY BEAUTIFUL MUMBAI
I've been to India four times in the past five years - and just last week I said to Myra (my trusty India traveling companion) that I was ready to go again - I haven't been there in a while and am beginning to need my Indian "fix".
There has been much said and written about the horror that took place in Mumbai last week. All those unnecessary deaths - innocent bystanders - the young couple who were running the Chabad House - police - the head of the anti-terror unit.
For me - as for everyone else I am sure - it was an experience happily to have been missed. But for me - and I'm sure for everyone who has ever been to India - it took on a personal dimension. There was hardly a place that was attacked that I didn't relate to.
We stayed at a lovely little boutique hotel just behind the Taj Mahal - although I'd been to the hotel several times. It was a magical, beautiful, elegant hotel. And the Oberoi was just across the street from my travel agent's (later to become our friend) - Mumbai office. The Oberoi was also lovely and elegant - although much newer and more modern looking - and when Myra and I were staying with her cousin Guy we used to go to the little deli there to shop - and eat of course...as we did in several other of their restaurants.
Leopold's Bar and Cafe? It was a hangout for foreigners, tourists and Indians right on the Colaba - and as far as Myra and I were concerned a place that served the absolutely best tandoori chicken we had ever eaten. And for me - a big bowl of incredible egg-rolls. Yes, a bowl - of I don't know how many egg rolls to an order - cut into pieces and served with delicious sauce. And where I always drank lemon juice and soda - with the "sweet" on the side.
The train station - a horror to see with the bodies lying all around. A station once so beautiful - so bustling - so full of life.
I saw images on the television of the Colaba with all the shops closed down - a street that was always busy and teeming with people - a street where there was hardly place to move - a street where we went often....to shop or just to browse.
Of course we were at the Gateway to India opposite the Taj Mahal Hotel - and we went on a boat to Elephantina Island from that area - from probably right where the terrorists landed.
I've been in toch with my Indian friends who are now living in Delhi - although they have friends and family in Mumbai who - miracle of miracles - are all fine.
I am so sad...for my beautiful city - for all those who lost their lives - for all those who are injured - for my wake-up call to reality when it finally hit home that India - and the West - and Jews - and everyone, actually, who doesn't agree with Muslim ideology - are all expendable when terror abounds.