In Mumbai the colours of the sky are reflected in the angry gun metal of the sea as they crash against the buttresses . The sea around Haji Ali which normally sparkles iridescent with light in the afternoon is drab,dreary and grey , a colour repeated in the wings of the hundreds of pigeons wheeling above the trees further down .
a colour repeated in the wings of the hundreds of pigeons wheeling above the trees further down the road .
In Fort we eat lunch at Britannia on the ground floor of Wakefield House ( no not Weikfield). As there is a crowd we sit outside for about ten minutes, watching a TV crew from BBC doing the rounds . They speak Bengali - all of them . Inside we meet Mr Boman Kohinoor Irani pushing 90 , who seats us at a table and asks me where we are from .
He's a gallant old school gentleman and suggests we order the sali boti, dhansak , sweet rice and the berry pulao which we devour with gusto . He also wants us to order lime sodas to beat the Mumbai heat . Never mind that its actually very pleasant that afternoon . Later we eat chocolate mousse which is rather like Nutella - thick chocolate clogging your tongue rather than a light airy dessert .
Mr Irani loves us because we are from the land of Tagore , Santiniketan, Vivekananda and Netaji . He professes to hold Netaji in higher regard than he does Gandhi . He is also a devout anglophile and shows us a card from old Blighty with the Queen's picture and proudly declares her to be Queen of the whole world .
Myth has it that there used to be a live rooster on the counter . Now there is a cat lying supine and being stroked by a small child who hangs downwards from her father's arms . There are 20 kilo rice bags stacked on a window sill . The eating area on the mezzanine has sturdy 60s table fans tacked on to the balustrade to circulate air . The plaster has peeled off the ceiling , the rusted beams are exposed , the air downstairs is circulated by long stemmed ceiling fans and the wall clock , another antique tells the time .
On the Worli seaface , people sit on the broad parapet . Each has their own space , doing their own thing , entirely oblivious to the world .
Young people , a couple -arms wound around each others' waists , a couple of hijras sitting quietly for a change , munching something from a packet , maybe peanuts, three boys horsing around,two girls with their bags on the ledge y , a group of men , a dog with his ears straining back , four crows - all sitting companionably.
The entire palette is a drab grey - brown-black repeat, except for a woman in a brilliant pink sari ,loose hair and a pallu end which suddenly lifts in the breeze as she plays with an anklet and streams in a vivid pink pennant against the sky.