Sadly I’m in this rather beautiful city for only a little over 24 hours so exploration time is limited but I did get to the Gateway to India – actually a large memorial to Indian soldiers killed in the First World War – and walked along the broad avenue to the Parliament buidling. Not the kind of ‘research’ on which to build any firm conclusions but it did underline the importance of ‘the media’ here. An area close to the Parliament building looked a bit like a used car lot for broadcasters’ satellite trucks. There were more than a dozen there, most unstaffed late yesterday afternoon but all obviously on standby to beam news around the country.
Then, just a few yards away, a crew was shooting a Bollywood movie (it’s called ‘The Wedding Gift’ if the clapperboard is to be believed). As the crew, swathed in scarves to protect themselves from the sun, set up in the road other members of the team patiently ushered curious passers-by, including me, out of shot. That included, at one point, stepping bravely into the traffic to stop cars going about their normal life.
Meanwhile the extensive grassy area stretching beside the broad avenue bore testament to another constant in Indian life – cricket. There were perhap half a dozen improptu matches each with sizeable numbers of players. Nobody seemed at all moved when the odd straight drive or sweep – depending on which side of the avenue – saw the ball hurtle through the short hedging and into the road.
Next stop Mumbai!