|We arrived in Mumbai on the last day of the Ganesh festival. The streets were full of singing and dancing processions on their way to bathe different statues of Ganesh in the water (rivers, lakes etc.)
The following morning we continued our intimate romance with the bumpy Indian roads by travelling to Nasik, with Kiran suffering from the flu which he caught in Chennai.
Once we arrived in Nasik, Kiran was dispensed with half a chemists worth of tablets by his dad and then we went shopping for spectacles (yes random we know - but such a bargain compared to the UK!). Kiran's dad and his wife, Preethi, are building a house out in Nasik so we got to see the work in progress. It's not exactly the common touristy pastime to walk around a construction site but it was interesting to see what the house promises to look like. Thereafter we were taken to meet one of Kiran's dad local friends - a farmer living nearby. It was an amusing situation with Neha max'ing out her Hindi (learnt from numerous Bollywood films) and Kiran not having a clue what he was being asked but maintaining the famous Indian headshake (does it mean yes, no or maybe - or all of the above?)
Nasik was finished by Kiran's dad hosting an 'introduction to his son and daughter in law' party at a nearby hotel. An entertaining night was had by all with more of Neha's hindi and Kiran's headshakes!
The trip was topped off by a visit to Bandaradara (although Neha could never say the name and Kiran could only associate it with a female trio band of the 80's - answers on a postcard please!). The only way we can explain the view from our room was that it was like a humid Lake District. It was great spending time with Dad and Preethi and we left to head back to Mumbai on train with Neha who was starting to get flu'ey. (Kiran, being the dutiful husband sharing everything!).
The heat and pollution hit us on arrival in Mumbai and a run of quirky traveller episodes began. Kiran's cousins - Shailaja and Unni - took us to a rooftop Persian restaurant on Friday night. It was a lovely place with muslin draped around the seats and views of the city. After sucking mint and orange flavour hookahs, Shailaja convinced us all to order dessert in the form of steaming hot jelebis and gulab jamun (Kiran's mother would have loved them!).
The drive back from the restaurant was eventful. The streets of Mumbai were practically empty, which in itself was a novelty but then again it was after 2am. As we backtracked after driving the wrong way down a one way road, a police jeep pulled us over and summoned Unni to get out the car and come to the jeep. While Unni chattered animatedly to the police driver we watched as one policeman circled the car, scrutinising every detail. Then he disappeared and a 2nd policeman got out of the back of the jeep to gargle and spit some water beside the car. The jeep was a bottomless pit of policemen. Luckily Unni managed to talk his way out of the situation and also got directions home! Finally half an hour from home, we were stuck in traffic and all we could see was lots of people dancing and smoke in the streets. It appeared to be a Ganesh procession that was a week too late and all this at 2:30am. Surreal!
The weekend was spent with family, shopping, playing arcade games (yes random we know) before heading to Udaipur. It's the last we would see of family for quite a while. Let the true travelling commence!