It’s been an interesting few days in Mumbai. We decided to spend the last few days of our trip in luxury so are now staying in the beautiful Taj Mahal hotel, which is an experience in itself. It’s amazing to think that almost exactly 2 years ago it was subject to the terrorist attacks that rocked Mumbai. Amazingly the hotel was up and running again in 2 weeks. I think this shows remarkable strength and courage in the face of adversity and demonstrates the resilience most Indians seem to have to the troubles life throws at them. People here (from the business man, to taxi driver to person living on the street) certainly appear to just rise above things and get on with living their lives.
There’s been no talim for a couple of days as there have been some concerts in town. I arrived at Gurujis house on tues night to find Ustad Shujaat Khan staying before his concert the next day. Shujaat is the son of the late great Ustad Vilayat Khan who my teacher was a disciple of. I was lucky enough to stay for a couple of hours chatting with him and Mr Parikh. Yesterday, we all went to Shujaats concert at the Nehru Centre (close to Haji Ali Mosque, also known as the mosque in the sea). He played Raga Jhinjoti and then some light classical/sufi tunes at the end, a great concert.
On another note, I was admiring the new building, which has been built next to Gurjis house. I have since discovered that this building is the new residence of the head of the Reliance Group (who has a personal wealth estimated at 13.7 billion US dollars, which puts him ahead of Bill Gates), has 27 floors, 150 servants, estimated (once complete) to be the most expensive residential building in the world, will have a floor space larger than the Palace of Versailles…..and will house about 5 people! Alta Mount Road (which this building is on) is currently the 10th most expensive place to buy residential property in the world.
Over the past 11 years since I first came to India I have certainly seen the city of Mumbai develop and each time I come back you can see that wealth expanding (not necessarily equally over the population however), India has certainly developed into a power to be reckoned with and will undoubtedly continue to grow. I remarked the other day that there seem to be a lot German cars on the road (BMW and Merc), thinking to myself how expensive they must be to ship over here. Silly me!! They are all now made in India!!