First, all compliments to the new management at the Mumbai International airport. No more sweaty queues to get into the airport terminal or to get the luggage screened. Smiles all around, courtesies extended and no more desperate crowding. Probably it’s because the air-conditioning was working. But, on a more serious note, the change now makes the flying out of Mumbai a pleasurable exercise.
And then to Istanbul. Somewhere I had been expecting a bleak city, with emotions ruling between the grey and the black, the burden of history weighing heavy on the ordinary Istanbullus’ shoulders. Maybe that’s what happens when you try to see the world through the eyes of Orhan Pamuk. According to him, there is a common leitmotif running through the city’s intricately intertwined genetic lattice – melancholy, or huzun, as a predominant cultural identity. But, on the surface, that somehow seems absent. The city looks bright and colourful, with the people eager to succeed, though the strains of balancing the plethora of competing cultural strands that make up modern-day Istanbul do break through the surface sometimes. But then, this is just a superficial impression gained from spending just one day in this great city. More later. Some pictures too coming up soon.