Mumbai, India, has changed

Mumbai, India, has changed
It was with slight worry and trepidation that I was sitting in the Bangalore airport, all checked in to go to Mumbai to collect my first prize. It was exciting to know I had won the first prize in the print category of Environmental reporting.
Besides a generous chq I was to get felicitated by the German Consul general as well.

What made the prize extra special was the fact that I had won it for my story on Goa. Being a Goan by roots, the whole of India had participated. Hundreds of journalists from every state, and they chose my story on the polluted Campal creek, the main creek which flows through Panjim the capital of Goa.

So in an hour and a half I was in Mumbai and the first change was the climate. We are spoilt in Bangalore with a wonderful, air-conditioned climate. Here the heat hits you head on as you walk out of the airport, looking for your ride to the hotel. The cab diver is polite and smiling, unlike our nasty sorts in Bangalore. Infact he immediately put me at ease politely asking me how the flight was. We women in Bangalore avoid cabs if travelling alone as we have been at the butt end of many nasty experiences. Most of us prefer the Volvo bus which costs just Rs 220 and drops us literally at the airport entrance, and it is very safe.

The Courtyard Marriott was plush and it was good to feel the welcome as my things went through the mandatory security check. Waiting at the reception I grew impatient with the young and inexperienced receptionist who insisted I was sharing a room with two men! I almost had a fit and resigned myself to waiting in the lobby till the issue was resolved Thankfully a young and efficient woman arrived and I was swept up to the fourth floor, with a grand view of the metro and the pool and I sank into the cool sheets, to relax and slurp down some water.

As the drive brought me in I was pleasantly surprised to see less cars on the road, than we have in Bangalore, and certainly much less two wheelers. The Metro has taken off a great number of wheels from our roads explained good friend Julia Jones and I secretly wished we had the same response to the metro in Banglore.

I always find the aircon unbearably cold, so the first thing I did in the room was find the switch and reduce it considerably. After which I headed to the shower and then plonked on the bed and stared at the idiot box till Julia and Lilly Jones came to collect me and take me to their home to Worli for dinner.

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