Blast from the Past

Update for month ended 30 July 2010

I confess that I am a family man. I like being surrounded by children and really enjoy their company. Last weekend, I could not keep up with my writing as I was with a teenager – showing him around some of the sights and sounds of Mumbai. It was nice to be with him, as I returned to the 1980s when I was his age and as wide-eyed as him. It was fun exploring Mumbai that has existed for ages, but remains shrouded in some sort of invisible cob-webs that regular Mumbai denizens keep away from. Take for instance the museum-like “exhibition” of a famous book on Indian History. I have not read that book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the television adaptation that ruled the Indian airwaves in the eighties – with excellent narration from an actor who resembled the former prime minister and author of this book. This “exhibition” was truly a discovery for me as I went back in time and saw and almost lived through the golden age of the Mauryas, Gautama Buddha, the tumultuous centuries when Delhi changed hands under various Central and West Asian dynasties; the Mughal era; the European invasion; the progress made through industrialization and laying of the railways; the freedom struggle; and it abruptly but aptly ends on a positive note as the young nation enters the mid 1900s. This is a must see for any Indian passing through Mumbai, because although this is an “exhibition”, it has been here for as long as it has. Children who find history drab and boring, will see it come alive at this “exhibition”. I felt like a teenager myself, enjoying the 3D exhibits and the short and to-the-point explanation panels. So we were like two teens gawking in an empty hall where the attendants hugely outnumbered the visitors. We even visited the real museum which unfortunately for us, but fortunately for western India was shutting down early because of a heavy downpour. Unfortunately for us, because we could not spend time viewing all the galleries, but yes, we did see that great Mughal Emperor’s armour and weaponry on display; and the immaculately preserved collection from one of the most well known Indian Business tycoon’s personal collection. Only Parsis can be so selfless as to not succumb to the gavel at an auction while trying to encash an heirloom. Fortunately for Western India, as the downpour was just right to ensure enough waters filled our lakes, and our farmlands were well hydrated. My teenaged companion was almost overwhelmed as he spent the weekend in history in a crowded city, yet away from the madding crowds. Sometimes, I wonder why we grew up; but now I am reconciled to the fact that I can indeed become a teenager.

Many thought that the 18000 barrier will be breached this month, but alas, it still remained a few points away – about 8 on 29th and 132 today. And so I am quite amazed that the plucky D Street Boyz actually have that adventure and teen zeal intact. They still like to believe that their SENSEX will grow and grow, yet they selfishly want to keep it in its teens, preferably as a child. So although they can technically still keep the SENSEX a teen into the 19000s, they chose to restrict it to below the 18000s. And Indian industry played to their tunes, as one company announced good returns to spring up the SENSEX, while another softened that rise by announcing not so good ones. The government in turn is being regularly ignored, as they tinker with the Inflation and Interest rates. I think all of India is now only looking forward to a soul saving and face saving on the sports field. The cricketers are the world’s top team, but failing miserably in the emerald isle; and swimmers are literally falling into swimming pools, and the officials don’t seem to have a handle (literally) on the situation. So the SENSEX that flirted with 18000 a couple of times in the past fortnight, slunk down shyly to settle at 17868.

Catching up with the past at times is energizing. Well, for a person who is a confirmed Naughty Forty, anything that can re-energise, is welcome. So this weekend, I look forward to catching up with friends from my past, and maybe dabble in interests from that era. What are you planning to do?

Cheers and have a Nice Weekend…….

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