KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
Coming to Mumbai is always a reminder of my first trip to India in 1974 - Anil and I arrived in Mumbai for our Indian marriage - to be held in Anil's home town, Patna a few days later. My introduction to my new family was wonderful - we met Anil's first cousin, Dr. Rajan Kapoor and his wife Kusum. We have photos of these same two people seeing Anil off when he left to study in Canada, and here they were welcoming us back to India with open arms and open hearts.
Just a little family history to fill you in. Anil's father was one of eight brothers. His father was brother number four, while Dr. Kapoor is the eldest son of brother number one. This means that technically they are first cousins, however, Rajan and his sister Veena spent a great deal of time with Anil's parents when they were young, so the relationship that Anil and Rajan have is much closer, more like brothers. Every time we come to India, we always make sure that we visit Mumbai to spend some time with Rajan Bhaisahib and Kusum Bhabhi. This time was no exception. Rajan and Kusum have raised four daughters and two nieces and all six are now married with families. Three of their daughters live in Mumbai and we were able to meet with them and see their children, some for the first time. As you can well imagine, this was a very happy time for us.
When we were married, the Kapoors were living in a small one-bedroom apartment - with their four daughters and Dr. Kapoor's father (the eldest of the eight brothers). Later when we returned to Mumbai, they had moved to a large penthouse apartment where they lived for over twenty-five years. I came to this apartment, overlooking the sea, many times over the past years, but now we found that they had moved once again, this time to a lovely two-bedroom apartment on the 19th floor of Lady Rattan Towers. Their youngest daughter lives in the other tower of the same complex and this allows great access to the Kapoor's two youngest grandchildren.
Our visit with Rajan Bhaisahib and Kusum Bhabhi was a time of great food, many laughs and lots of love. Kusum seems to remember the favorite dishes of all her family members, and once again every day held great surprises as dish after dish appeared to delight our taste buds. After the busy time of travelling in Vietnam and Cambodia and then partying in Lonavla, we spend our several days with the Mumbai Kapoors, resting and catching up on all the happenings since we last met six years ago. We did a little sightseeing, but mostly we slept late, took afternoon naps and ate Kusum's wonderful food.
There were two places that we visited just before moving on to stay with Anil's niece Kajal and her husband Deven for a couple of days. The first was Haji Ali Mosque - a small mosque that is located in a bay near the Kapoor's apartment. There is a causeway out to the mosque built in the middle of the bay - the causeway is submerged during high tide, so one has to pick a time to visit the mosque when the tide is low. Some of the photos that I took were from this vantage point. The other place that I wanted to visit this time was the dhobi (washermen) ghats. At this place, over 5,000 dhobis come each day to wash clothes. There are individual troughs of water where they work and then the clothes are hung to dry in the sea breeze. As you can see from the photos, it is a very colourful place to visit. The men were hard at work, but as this place is mentioned in all the guide books, they are used to foreigners coming to take pictures and many of them raised their heads from their work and waved to us.
This was a wonderful way to end our stay in Worli, the neighbourhood where the Kapoors live, before we moved on to Bandra, a little farther up the Mumbai peninsula from the city center. We said goodbye but it was easier this time because we knew we would be back in Mumbai in the new year, it would not be another six years before we visit again.