Visiting Dr Sastry’s place where Indira’s younger sister Kauslaya prepared for us all of the Indian cuisines was a welcome treat, after the 2-hour cab journey from airport to the exclusive colony of the retired BARC employees. This residential complex in New Bombay with the 3-storey walk way apartments neatly laid out had all of the current facilities that a major metropolitan suburb of India can have. We were hosted for a dinner by Shastri’s at the ‘Big Bazar’ and even did a brief shopping at the resplendent malls.
Driving past Matunga, King Circle Rail-Station where you may recall we stayed from 1941-43 was another nostalgic experience. It is but natural that I could hardly recognize the 3-soryed apartment complex across the highway facing King Circle station or the Aurora talkies where we used to see the Sunday morning movies of Laurel and Hardy.
We visited Dr Sastry’s post retirement work place where he has a prized technical role and we had occasion to view on high tech spectrometers the variance between a Bohemian Glass and a genuine precious stones including rubies and diamonds. It is amazing to see how the variance frequency range defines the price we end up paying for the ‘real’ versus the ‘artificial’ copycat gem stones! Dr Satri’s showed us an album of the select team of gemologists to authenticate the ‘abharanas’ of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupathi Desthanams; being a technical expert of Mumbai-Jaipur team to certify these jewels he and Kaulsalya had the unique opportunity to have a special darshan.
It is depressing to see while India gloats over the growth of GDP, its utter disregard to the environment is evident even in the icons of Mumbai – Chowpathy beach and Kamala Nehru Park that we visited; we had to watch each step lest we end up with unpleasant experiences.
Affluence of middle class is apparent all over India and Mumbai is no exception. World Bank moneys are poured in urban India for enhancing the infrastructure – in flyovers and grandiose airports; so we can see the US tax payers’ moneys is (indirectly) at work even overseas!