Saturday, January 08, 2011

In Her Grandfather's Footsteps

Beate, Michael and Mira posing their Fabindia wares
"Winter" in Bombay is a time for guests. Once the fierce heat subsides all over the country, people from north America or Europe tend to flock here to thaw out their chilled bones. Among those who recently visited was Mira, the partner of an old friend, Michael who lives in Switzerland. She and Michael along with a third friend, Beate, were here for a couple of days, looking Bombay, sniffing out its special air, taking the local train from VT to Mira Road (curiosity I suppose to see what a road with one's own name looks and feels like), getting a shave from a roadside barber (that was Michael), and going berserk at Fabindia.

Mira, who has just completed her studies in medicine in Switzerland, was the first to arrive, some time early in November, and she spent the first several weeks following the traces of her grandfather who had lived in India, (in Bombay) from 1910 to 1930. After a few days in Bombay and being shown around Bandra which is one of the areas he lived in, Mira took the train to Delhi and further north to places like Naini Tal and Almora which her grandfather had also visited. While in Bombay she read out snippets to us from the letters her granddad had written to his mother during the years spent here, describing all that he experienced. The effort that Mira's put into transferring his handwritten letters to the computer and compiling them into an informal booklet is quite amazing. For that matter so is the minute detail and attention with which Herr Lieberherr has described the places visited, the country that was his home for twenty years. Everything from the colour and texture of the Goan soil to the taste of the King of mangoes - the Alphonso - supposed to have been imported from Brazil a couple of centuries back.


Currently the three of them are in Andhra and after visiting a few more places expect to be back here towards the end of their trip around the third week of January.

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