Silence. No tooting, no tuk-tuks, no taxis. The pigeons attempting fruitlessly to nest on the synthetic roof of the hotel’s neighbouring outbuilding don’t get a look in either. No Call to Prayer to be heard today. Commerce is the ruling religion out here in Sahar, Mumbai.

The wake up call for the clientele is the distant sound of the Stock Markets opening.
The gentle hum of the under employed AC unit and the thick panel of sound proof window, my looking glass into the other side of India. The reinforced bubble. The India that pays the bills, moves the economy, keeps the rich obscenely richer and the foot on the throat of the others.

A mile into the clearing distance, giant jumbos climb at regular intervals into the morning Mumbai air. Hawks gracefully accompany them on the prowl for breakfast.
After five weeks of backpacking, for my last night in India I’ve had an upgrade. Welcome to Waterstones in East Andheri. A newly opened boutique hotel and a cross between The Rainforest Cafe and the ill-fated Cuban hotel in The Quantum Of Solace in among the familiar, bigger names. While the Gateway to India stands watch impressively in front of the Taj Mahal Hotel, here, overlooking the international airport, is the tradesman’s entrance.

After the first time in a long time, I’m on the inside looking out rather than the main attraction at the museum. Down to breakfast, through the impressive scored marble corridors and the rough shag astroturf carpet. Business people heads in papers, tablets, frothy coffees. Two mint blondes turn heads for a minute. A ghastly, reedy cover of a New Order song does the honours on the Muzak Jukebox. From the ceiling, plants grow downwards. Water cascades needlessly down the outside walls. Janitors pluck and sweep tirelessly at the omnipresent plastic grass.

The black coffee tastes good. I wonder fleetingly how that miserable Northern bastard from the hotel in Nagpur has got his this morning. I really don’t care. Lost in luxury and reflecting on England’s triumph, my second visit to this tempestuous holiday romance of a country and the next stop on my travels.

I sit in dreamy contemplation.

Then Wizard’s cretinous Christmas anthem playing over the hotel airwaves wakes me from my daydreams. Is nowhere safe from this horrible, horrible song? Time to go to the airport.

Sukriya India.

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