KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We were able to change our flight home from Istanbul, to four connecting flights leaving from Mumbai. This gave us a chance to visit two of our extended families that live in there. We took a taxi from the airport to the home of Anil’s sister’s daughter and her family, and spent a lovely afternoon catching up on the past five years since our previous visit. Their son and daughter have grown up so dramatically, if we hadn’t seen photos of them over the years, I don’t think we’d have recognized them at all.
The family had moved into a new apartment a short distance from where we’d visited them many times in the past. We were comfortable making our way from their new home in Bandra, over the SeaLink to Worli where we were staying with Anil’s oldest cousin and his wife. We had a lovely afternoon with Kajal and Deven and their children and then set off early that Sunday evening, hoping to avoid the traffic after dark. However we still got snarled in traffic and we inched our way through streets almost unrecognizable, now that some many new skyscrapers have been erected.
To make matters worse, construction is underway for a metro to take passengers all the way from the airport to the tip of the Mumbai peninsula where the famous Taj Hotel stands. It will be terrific once it is completed, but will most likely only used by the middle-class workers. Still, it will take the pressure off the commuter trains and hopefully fewer upper class people will choose to drive into the heart of the city for work.
We had only two short days in Mumbai, just enough for visiting with the three adult daughters of Anil’s cousin Rajendra Kapoor, (the eye doctor after whom our own son Raj was named) and his wife Kusum. The youngest daughter was just a year old when I came to India for our traditional wedding in 1974. We managed to squeeze in some quality visiting time with the daughters, their husbands and two of Raj and Kusum’s grandchildren.
The doctor is now in his late 80s and rarely leaves the house except to go for an evening walk to take in the ocean breezes near the dramatic SeaLink bridge. I gave him a hard time about his shaggy hair, something he’s used to me doing over the years, but this time I managed to convince him to let me give him a trim. He seemed to be impressed that I travel with a complete hair-cutting set, including a cape and when I promised him he would have to take another shower after the hair cut, he agreed.
We all had a great laugh while the trim was underway, even the cook got in on the act, and Anil was quick to capture the unusual event with his camera. The smile on Dr. Kapoor’s face says it all, it wasn’t too, too short, he wasn’t covered in trimmings and he didn’t have to pay a barber to come to the house. The person who was clearly the happiest was his wife Kusum, she couldn’t quite believe that he let me near him with my scissors.