There is something about NYC's superficial, hyper-excited, antiseptic club-scene that puts me off, so I am quite comfortable spending weekends at home there. But Bombay is different. When I am here, a certain people-loving part of me acts up, and gets troubled if I'm not doing 'something cool' over weekends- something that happens much more often on recent trips to India, since the fellowship has broken apart.
I was complaining about this to a friend who never updates her blog, and she decided that she must do something about my lack of life. And so I ended up at the Alan Parsons concert, with people I only vaguely knew. The passes were free and I had the pleasure of being picked up from home, which was good.
Sometimes, the realization that you are growing old strikes hard, and in strange ways. At the concert, we decided it wasn't worth the trouble jockeying our way in to the front of the crowd, and stayed at the rear fringes. I caught a distinct whiff of the blessed weed. This in itself was not so surprising. What surprised me was it was coming not from some college kid doping his way through a concert, but from the uncle and aunty standing ahead of me. I remarked about this to my new found friends, who had the courtesy of pointing out that 'uncle and aunty' were probably only a few years older than us.
It turned out that i knew uncle. He was, in my former life, a counterpart on another trading desk.
India is booming, in case you didn't already know. Everybody I know talks about how its a long term thing, and how i should totally come back. A friend who is now a big-shot consultant, having said that he was *not* going to sell me on the India story, ended up gushing like a teenage girl at a bryan adams concert. (see, even my pop-culture refs are dated.) Statements like "we are a lucky generation because we are getting to see millions being lifted out of poverty" were made. Terms like "broad-based growth", "the skills shortage" and "the knowledge premium" are thrown about. In the India of today, it would seem, there are no pessimists.
I mostly agree about their assessment, though. But I also know there will be a correction the moment I decide to move back. My market-timing ability is zero that way.
Sometimes, i think of returning. Then i get stuck in traffic in bandra for an hour and a half, and dream of a log-cabin in the middle of nowhere.
After the concert, we decided to grab dinner at Spice Tree.
As I made my way to the loos, someone called out ">My Name<". As i turned around, i found myself face to face with rant herself, who had coincidentally come to the same place. She yelled at me for not having called.
The other folks were waiting for some friend of theirs to turn up along with his wife of two weeks. He turned out to be a former colleague, and reacted with a "Hey, didn't you work with XYZ?"
His wife turned out to be someone I knew several years ago as a close friend's college sweetheart. She mumbled a quiet "How have you been?", even as the others wondered how we knew each other.
It only lent further credence to my hypothesis that all Indian yuppies know each other.