Or at least I thought it was funny; anyway, I felt I had to share it. Alternately this could be titled, “The Inconsequential Tales of a Salaryman”. Does it belong in the travel forum? Dunno.
I should have twigged something was up this morning when the driver asked me about the office location. My company has been in India for 50 years and the offices are in the four corners of Mumbai and on some less known streets. But, I was so absorbed in my ipod and bberry I missed the fact we missed the entire Badra-Worli Sea Link – a huge, 4-lane, cable-stay suspension bridge. The next thing I know we’re going past the slums near the airport, 180 degrees away from where I want to be - Tardeo. So with a lot of head wagging, we discuss why I think we’re going the wrong way and why he thinks he is going the right way. I know he is wrong, but can’t explain how. I am also not 100% confident what I know is right, and I for sure can’t tell him how to get going the right way….whichever that is. I tell him to stop and call the dispatch for clarification – no dice. They just repeat the address, which he doesn’t know. We ask around, but this is a completely different part of the city, and a huge slum, so no one knows the address. Finally, I get a hold of a colleague on my mobile at 4 dollars a minute who talks to the driver. We figure out approximately how to get there, but it’s not really clear since my colleague doesn’t know where we are. I think the driver is getting worried since he keeps apologizing about getting lost. Strangely it doesn’t make me feel better. I smile and tell him if you get me back to the Sea-Link, I can guess my way to the office. We get back in the car. Now it hits me. The 2 orange juices and 3 coffees I had for breakfast strike with a vengeance. I really, really, really have to pee. I guess I was too worked up to notice. But, we’re in the middle of India’s largest slum and I’m dressed like the Gov. of The Bank of England; a nice navy blue pin-stripe, a starched white shirt, my favorite Hermes cufflinks and my best brown Allen-Edmunds shoes. There is no bathroom, for miles. When I tell him, He turns around while driving, looks at me, wags his head and goes, “ach cha cha”. We take a couple of detours through the slum and get to a large, low stone bridge with wide, low walls and pull over. “Here.” “Here?” “Here.” We both get out, climb up and stand up on the wall. The water is a brown porridge. A whiff of it almost sends me reeling. I close my eyes and use yoga skilz to visualize white vitreous – relax… release…… Both of us stand, hands on hips in the hot morning sun, and let rip in tandem, freestyle. I feel much better now. The driver looks much happier too. We get back in the car and drive the 30 min through traffic to get to the Sea-Link. From the Sea-Link, amazingly, I actually get him to our office, which is in a very tighly packed section of Tardeo. I’m Chuffed. So happy I buy two milky teas from the tea hut outside the office. We drink the tea standing next to the car in the parking lot and set a pick-up time.
It was 9am. Then I started my day at work. I just hope that I don’t get explosive diarrhea from the tea on the red-eye home tonight.