Chateau Windsor Hotel is on Veer Nariman Road, so called because of Nariman’s Point which is some 2 minutes by taxi. In colonial times, Nariman Piont was used as the principal port in Mumbai. Directly across from the Chateau Windsor Hotel is the famous bakery and restaurant, Gaylord’s. One block to the east is the Marina where I jog in the evenings; it runs along the Arabian sea in a semi-circle. At night, the light sparkle in the darkness in this pattern and so has been given the name ‘The Queen’s Necklace.’
The Marina is a joggers venue during the week, and a family outing on weekends. From my table on the hotel roof-top terrace, I can see joggers in a constant motion, travelling in both directions. It is too early for me to join the effort. I prefer to enjoy breakfast on the roof terrace and enjoy the view of the sea from where I sit; every time I sit here and look out to sea I have images of Aladdin, and I search eagerly to see if I could recognize a typical boat which he may have used aeons ago to traverse these waters.
A few noisy magpies joined me for breakfast, as they do every guest. As is expected, I begin to throw pieces of bread to them. Suddenly the air is filled with the cries of a million birds as they circle, beg, and threaten the intrepid ones. I began throwing bread a bit further to reach the ones on the outskirts, but they seemed reluctant to receive it. I am nto sure if the reluctance was from laziness or fear of coming closer to retrieve it.
One magpie stole the remains of the butter wrapper from the neighbouring table. Immediately that the finished his breakfast and left, the magpie was in there, like a carrion crow that swoops down as soon as the heart stops its beat. Another magpie joined him and stole the sugar lump. He wrestled with it for a while trying to decide how to make the most use of it. I am sure that this behaviour is as common as the selection of food that is available on the tables. I observed him for a while and wondered why then he pretended not to know how to deal with his hoist.
A few parakeets gathered, surveyed, objected, and began quarrelling with the magpies, screaming and fretting about their mendicancy; perhaps the quarrel was about their esurience, or perhaps about their lasciviousness or somnolence; difficult to distinguish one type of castigation from another.
In the street below, a lone sandal-clad man was sweeping the street with the desiccated branch of a palm tree. The early morning sun sprinkled the street with a promising glow of golden sunlight, evidence of what would be a sunny day. The sun climbed slowly above the neighbouring buildings and smiled brilliantly upon an entire nation. It was only 8:30 am; I knew that today would be a scorcher. I may not jog tonight.